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Roger Stone Does Not Rule Out Cooperating With Robert Mueller; U.S. Lifts Sanctions on Oligarch-linked Russian Companies; Senator Kamala Harris Formally Launches Presidential Bid. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired January 27, 2019 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM, I'm Ana Cabrera in the New York. Thank you for spending part of your Sunday with me.
Tonight a new bombshell from political operative Trump confidant and self-proclaimed dirty trickster, Roger Stone. After repeatedly pledging loyalty to the president, Stone now says he can't rule out cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller in the future. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS ANCHOR: Any chance you'll cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller if he asks?
ROGER STONE, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN ADVISER: You know, that's a question I would have to -- I'd have to determine after my attorneys have some discussion. If there's wrongdoing by other people in the campaign that I know about, which I know of none, but if there is, I would certainly testify honestly.
I'd also testify honestly about any other matter, including any communications with the president. It's true that we spoke on the phone, but those communications are political in nature. They're benign. And there's certainly no conspiracy with Russia.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Stone will appear in court on Tuesday on charges that include lying to Congress about his efforts to get dirt on Hillary Clinton from Russia-linked WikiLeaks. All while the president tries to distance himself, tweeting that Stone, quote, "didn't even work for me anywhere near the election."
CNN justice correspondent Jessica Schneider joins us now.
Jessica, with that tweet, is the president lashing out at the news media or is he actually putting distance between himself and Roger Stone?
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Ana, with this president it's probably actually both, the media and putting distance. But the president, as he has with previous people in his orbit who have been indicted by the special counsel, he really is trying to create as much distance as possible from Roger Stone.
And the truth is that the president is partially right because Roger Stone was fired from the campaign very early on, just a few months after President Trump announced his candidacy in 2015. But on the flip side, Stone has always been the political operative who has taken credit for Donald Trump running for president, since he has been pushing him for years and years.
But on the other side as well, this indictment is really damaging, potentially, for the president himself since in that indictment it references those senior Trump campaign officials that Stone was in contact with and then the fact that one of those senior Trump campaign officials was actually directed to ask Roger Stone about any future releases.
So, of course, Ana, that has been raising all these questions, who was this person who directed this senior member of the campaign to actually talk to Stone and direct him to, you know, inquiry with WikiLeaks about when additional releases might be coming and could that person have been the president. So that's been the big question here swirling all the while President Trump tries to distance himself as much as he can in that tweet from Roger Stone.
CABRERA: Jessica, I want to switch gears just slightly. Today the Trump administration formally lifted the sanctions on some Russian companies, which are tied to a man who has a very close relationship with Russian president Putin.
What's going on and why are members of Congress so upset about this?
SCHNEIDER: Right. So the man Oleg Deripaska, I'll get to him more in a minute. But this really has been a big point of contention on Capitol Hill. So members of the House they attempted to stop these sanctions on these companies from being lifted. It was actually a 362-53 vote. And in that vote a majority of Republicans voted for this resolution but the Republican-controlled Senate, it didn't get to that 60-vote threshold to move the resolution to stop these sanctions to a full vote.
So here we are, Sunday night, the administration formally lifting these sanctions. There are three Russian firms. They have links to Oleg Deripaska, who is a Russian oligarch. He also has been an associate of Paul Manafort, but he is closely tied to the Kremlin as well as Vladimir Putin.
The Treasury Department, for about the past month or so, has said that now that Deripaska has given up majority ownership of these three firms, one of which is the world's second largest aluminum producer that it's now really pertinent and OK and really necessary, the Treasury Department says, to lift these sanctions. But, of course, many members of Congress, some Republicans included, they have had some major doubts about lifting these sanctions on these companies.
And, Ana, how this all plays into the administration and whether, perhaps, this administration is going too easy on these companies that have this link to Deripaska and therefore have this link to the Kremlin, and there have been questions recently as well, Ana, as to whether Deripaska has really sufficiently removed himself from controlling these companies. So a lot of questions still lingering on Capitol Hill but the sanctions going away effectively tonight -- Ana.
CABRERA: Jessica Schneider, thank you for that reporting.
I want to bring in two CNN legal analysts, Paul Callan, former New York City homicide prosecutor, and Michael Zeldin who worked as Mueller's special assistant at the Justice Department.
[20:05:07] Let me start with you, Paul, since you're here with me. You wrote a piece on CNN.com entitled "Roger Stone Must Have Made Mueller Really Angry." I know that's your take-away from the way the arrest went down on that early morning raid. Why do you see it that way? And why do you think the message was Mueller was trying to send?
PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, the raid itself was unusually aggressive in a white-collar criminal case. Usually when the lawyers are speaking to the prosecutor, they arrange for a voluntary surrender when a decision is made to prosecute. But here you had flap jacketed FBI agents raiding his house in a predawn raid. Very, very aggressive arrest tactics.
I think it was because Mueller was fed up with Stone's threatening a witness, Cortico (PH) who is -- Randy Cortico who is --
CALLAN: Credico, who's another witness in the case, suffered repeated threats from Stone in rather graphic terms saying plead the Fifth, invoking Richard Nixon, threatening even to take his dog, Fluffy the dog, away. Maybe that pushed -- maybe that pushed Mueller over the edge. I don't know. But he won't tolerate tampering with a witness. And I think that might have been a motive for the aggressive tactics.
CABRERA: Michael, do you share that perspective? Is that how you see it?
MICHAEL ZELDIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, of course I agree with Paul. Who wouldn't? I would add to it that he was also executing a search warrant. So it was not simply the arrest of Stone but also the acquisition of additional evidence. And maybe they thought given how uncooperative Stone has been that if they had -- if he had a last- minute chance to destroy something, he might. And so they went in. That's, you know, aggressive, as Paul suggests, but not completely out of the ordinary.
CABRERA: You heard that sound bite with Roger Stone this morning, suggesting he will cooperate with Robert Mueller. Is Stone, Michael, the kind of person Mueller would can consider giving a deal? Does he have any credibility?
ZELDIN: Well, he doesn't have much credibility with me because he keeps saying things like I didn't lie when the indictment alleges pretty transparent lies. But you don't know what it is that he actually knows that may be of interest to Mueller. In his TV appearances this morning, which are in themselves baffling why he would be on TV or why his lawyer would let him be on TV, he didn't say anything that seemed to say that he had knowledge about anything that would be of interest to Mueller. He said, you know, repeatedly, sure, I would talk about things but I don't know anything. Nobody that I know did anything bad so they want to hear that, I'll tell them that. They don't need him to appear in a grand jury to say that. He's already said that in public. So I'm not sure what he's got to offer.
CALLAN: And you notice, Ana, he also hedges and says, but I would never say anything damaging to the president. So he's holding the card hoping I think that the president will pardon him before things get really rough.
CABRERA: Trying to have it both ways?
CALLAN: Yes, he is. And I don't think Mueller is going to want to put somebody in front of a jury under oath who is trying to play both sides of the truth question and I think in the end a jury would view Stone as not believable, whatever he says. So not a good witness for the special prosecutor.
CABRERA: I want to get to some new reporting tonight. We have the "New York Times" now reporting some stunning details from Chris Christie's new book. And I want to read just a passage to you both. It says, "As Mr. Kushner tucked into his typical salad, Mr. Christie wrote, the president said to him this Russia thing is all over now because I fired Flynn. Mr. Christie said that he started laughing and the president asked why. Sir, I said, this Russia thing is far from over, Mr. Christie wrote. Mr. Trump responded, what do you mean? Flynn met with the Russians. That was the problem. I fired Flynn. It's over. Mr. Kushner added, that's right, firing Flynn ends the whole Russia thing." Paul?
CALLAN: Well, I don't know. This -- you know, this series of interviews on the book coming up by Christie is another amazing thing. Christie is a former U.S. attorney and he knew that the Justice Department was actively investigating the Russian connection to the election, and it was really foolish and naive to think that firing Flynn would put an end to the entire investigation. And as a matter of fact, we all know, of course, that he told Comey later on -- there's some dispute about it on the president's side -- to go easy on Flynn. So, you know, Flynn being cast off as the evil villain of the Russian connection was never going to be an end to the Russia probe and, of course, that was something that Christie knew.
CABRERA: But this is a conversation that Christie was a part of, these comments, they would have been made, right, before the special counsel was appointed and prior to firing former FBI director James Comey. Comey says he was asked if he could see his way to letting the Flynn issue go.
What does it say to you, Michael, that we're now hearing Chris Christie say that the president thought firing Flynn ends the whole Russia thing? [20:10:08] ZELDIN: You know, it's a level of ignorance of the way the
criminal justice process works or it's wishful thinking, but the notion that firing Comey or firing Flynn or firing anybody in the run- up to the appointment of Mueller was going to do anything other than add a log to the fire is baffling. And I think Christie is laughing at the observations made by Kushner and the president speak to that, you know, sort of incredulity that they would believe that that could possibly be the outcome of this firing.
CABRERA: Do you think Chris Christie is now a witness in Robert Mueller's probe?
ZELDIN: Well, you know, I'm not sure what he -- if that statement -- it's already written down. So I don't know what Mueller needs more from him. But I'm not sure what that speaks to in terms of the president's culpability or Jared's culpability. I think it speaks more to their naivete than criminal collusive behavior.
CABRERA: All right. Michael Zeldin, Paul Callan, good to have both of you with us. Appreciate your expertise, guys.
Coming up, Senator Kamala Harris formally kicks off her campaign for 2020. But with a crowded Democratic field what does she need to do to stand out?
And keeping the door open, new reporting that Hillary Clinton may have her eye on a third presidential run.
[20:15:36] CABRERA: Today, another Democrat officially throwing her hat into the growing ring of 2020 presidential candidates. At a rally in her hometown of Oakland, California, Senator Kamala Harris announced she is running for president, quote, "of the people, by the people and for all people."
This is her launching her campaign today, and without mentioning him by name, Harris launched a series of attacks on President Trump, vowing to restore America's moral leadership.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We must answer a fundamental question. Who are we? Who are we as Americans? So let's answer that question to the world and each other right here and right now.
America, we are better than this.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
HARRIS: We are better than this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Harris now joins the most diverse field of Democratic candidates in modern political history. And joining us to discuss, CNN political analyst and chief political correspondent for "Esquire," Ryan Lizza, and Washington bureau chief for the "Chicago Sun Times," Lynn Sweet.
Lynn, can she stand out in such a crowded field?
LYNN SWEET, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, "CHICAGO SUN TIMES": It's going to be hard to. She has to -- she's been getting away with publicity in the run-up and certainly I think she's going to be on CNN and all that helps, but she is not all that well known throughout the nation. We focus on it because, well, frankly, we're paid to pay attention. It's going to have --
SWEET: Well, we could go, you know, downtown Chicago, Indianapolis, or more important Des Moines or any city in New Hampshire, people have to get to know the many people. And I think there's so many people there, it's hard to differentiate yourself. They're all Democrats. Their policy proposals are not going to be all that different, if they ever evolved to reality in Congress. And that's why right now the introductions, the biographies, her role as a prosecutor is something that will be looked at closely. These are people who are line- drawings I think to a lot of the electorate and they have to -- the whole personality has now to be filled in.
CABRERA: Ryan, let's talk about somebody the nation already knows well. We have new reporting from CNN's Jeff Zeleny that Hillary Clinton is telling people she's not closing the doors on this idea of running again in 2020.
Ryan, do you think this is all talk or do you think she really may get into this race?
RYAN LIZZA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, this is a little bit of a head scratcher because the last two times she ran, she was extremely deliberate. She kind of froze the whole field in place before she made her decision. And she sent a lot of signals to potential competitors, to donors, to activists to wait on her decision before you sign up with another candidate.
She has not done that at all this time. In fact, some of the best talents from her previous two teams have already signed up with other candidates. She hasn't done any of the kind of signaling to let people know they should wait. So I would be very, very surprised if she jumped in. The last two times, in '08 and '16, everyone waited for her. Nobody is doing that this time and she hasn't done any of the prep work to do it. So I'd be surprised.
CABRERA: Let's switch gears. Let's switch gears here, Lynn. You were among a group of journalists at a lunch briefing held by Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday and you write this. "Since Pelosi took the gavel on January 3rd, she has demonstrated she is Trump's first effective formidable candidate, the leader who simply said no to him." Well, moments ago we learned from a new interview that President Trump
did with the "Wall Street Journal" that he's skeptical of accepting a congressional deal before the temporary agreement on this shutdown that has now again reopened government before that expires on February 15th, saying he personally gives it less than a 50-50 chance.
So, Lynn, is Trump's skepticism so quickly after announcing this deal a very public response to being publicly declared to have lost to Nancy Pelosi?
[20:20:03] SWEET: Well, it keeps him in play. There's one other thing Speaker Pelosi said at this gathering. She said it as she was leaving. There were flowers on the table and she said, you know, President Trump could look at these flowers and he would say this is a wall. And that is an insight into the president.
She doesn't want to do anything to embarrass Trump. She wants a deal that does not include a wall and probably will add protections for Dreamers. Democrats want more border security. They want to reinforce barriers where they exist. He wants to call it a wall, fine. Let him say it.
CABRERA: Lynn, why don't you take a breath?
LIZZA: Lynn, drink some water. I just want to -- I think Lynn is exactly right about this, Ana. And one of the -- one of the curious parts of this kind of really crazy debate over the wall is that through all the drama of the shutdown and through all the drama of Trump trying in repeated failed negotiations to get his wall, he no longer really wants a wall. If you listen to the last few things he said, it is a lot closer to the traditional deal that Democrats and Republicans have talked about. That is, border security. That is defined in a sort of package, right?
It's fencing in some places and you can -- you know, you can quibble about what the fence looks like. It's drones. It's beefed-up security. Right? It's a whole package of security measures. He is pretty close to that right now, even -- you know, even though whatever he gets he'll call a wall. What we don't really know is on the other side, how far are Democrats -- what are Democrats really looking for. Are they --
CABRERA: Right. What are they reaching for?
LIZZA: Yes. So --
CABRERA: And when -- and Lynn brought up the idea of maybe it's protection for Dreamers. He addressed that. The president addressed that in this new "Wall Street Journal" interview, as well. He was asked if he would agree to citizenship for Dreamers in exchange for border wall funding and the president said, quote, "I doubt it."
So, Lynn, if he's not prepared to make a big deal and he can't possibly allow another shutdown with his declining poll numbers, is this just an indication that it's either his way or a national emergency? SWEET: I would think he changes his mind so much, you just don't
know. The other thing that may happen as part of this committee, this conference committee is they may write into the law that you can't do shutdowns anymore so he's going to lose this leverage probably one way or the other, at least as long as he's president. They would say if we don't have a deal, we just continue with the budget and the spending that we have.
I would -- you know, I'm glad the "Wall Street Journal" got the interview. It's interesting he said it. But does anyone really think there's any credibility that -- as to whatever marker President Trump puts down at this point? He has agreed to stuff on this deal, then he yanks it.
SWEET: You know, so who knows what to think until. That's why he lost so much leverage. He may have to agree to something and just call it a wall, call it a day and move on.
CABRERA: Or call it peaches, as he said in the past.
LIZZA: Well, the other option of course is he's still --
CABRERA: Ryan, quickly please.
LIZZA: Still threatening to use an emergency declaration. And if he does that, absent a deal.
LIZZA: That will be challenged in the courts and the courts will probably have the last word on that.
CABRERA: It's not over yet. Ryan Lizza, Lynn Sweet, thank you both.
LIZZA: Thanks, Ana.
SWEET: Thank you.
CABRERA: The immediate question raised by the shutdown, when would unpaid workers finally see a paycheck? And then the larger question, though, is when the numbers say the economy is booming, why are so many Americans one paycheck away from disaster? I'll ask former Labor secretary Robert Reich next.
[20:28:18] JAMIE KEYS, TSA EMPLOYEE: You're happy of course. You get paid. But the damage is done. How many people's lives damaged? You know, because those people that lost careers, those people that credit is messed up. You know, all kind of damage is done. People who can't afford medicine. People -- you know, so yes, we're happy it's over but at what cost? So you feel that down either way.
LANCE AVEY, EPA EMPLOYEE: Both me and my wife are federal employees. I was furloughed. She was working without pay. So we went -- you know, 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: The plight of workers left unpaid during the government shutdown has shed light on a painful truth here in America that goes well beyond any short-term battle between President Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. It's the reality we see playing out through these government workers who are just one missed paycheck away from financial disaster. We keep hearing about the booming U.S. economy.
When you look at Wall Street stock prices are soaring, the Dow, the Nasdaq, the S&P 500 all showing growth, going up, up, up in recent years and the job market appears upbeat. U.S. hiring surged in December and the unemployment rate remains low, just 3.9 percent.
But here's what's not headed in the right direction, your wages. When compared to inflation, real wages have actually been flat or going down.
The point is very simple. You don't need an MBA to grasp it. This should be a great, strong, robust economy and yet so many middle class Americans are struggling. We've seen minimum wage workers trying to get $15 per hour. You've been told to accept the reality of the new so-called "permalancer economy," but now the government shutdown has let us see the plight of even those with government jobs that come with benefits and that's where I began my conversation earlier with Robert Reich, the former labor secretary for President Clinton and adviser to a number of democratic Presidents. He is also the author of "Saving Capitalism For the Many, Not the Few."
CABRERA: Robert, thanks for being with us. For just a minute, let's forget Pelosi, forget about President Trump. What does this situation tell us about America's middle class, even the government workers are one missed paycheck away from disaster at a time when the numbers say so many people should be prospering.
ROBERT REICH, CNN SENIOR ECONOMICS ANALYST AND FORMER UNITED STATES LABOR SECRETARY: Well, it tells us that prosperity is not broadly shared in this country, even though the economy on paper looks very good and also it looks like the United States overall in terms of the economy is doing gang busters. Actually, average-working people are not doing so well. A job security is a thing of the past, and 78 percent of American workers, Ana, 78 percent, are living paycheck to paycheck. They don't have any savings. They certainly don't have even $500 for an emergency. This kind of thin ice that American workers are skating on is a big, big social problem. It's a political problem. But most of all, it's a -- it's a moral problem. I mean, why should so many people in the richest economy in the world be so close to poverty?
CABRERA: Let me read a tweet from earlier this week. "I urged federal workers who continue to toil without pay to stop working and those who are furloughed to picket their workplaces. Trump's callous disregard for all of you and for the public welfare must end." You tweeted that before the shutdown ended. Does this temporary fix with a three-week threat deadline change your mind or do you think those federal workers should dig in and demand more?
REICH: Well, I think federal workers really should not only have our appreciation, you know, for working for five weeks without pay, 420,000 of them, and a lot of the rest of them furloughed and not given any pay. Well, yes, we owe them a great debt of service and a great debt of gratitude. But beyond that, if this starts again, three weeks from now on February 15th, I would not be surprised if a lot of federal workers said, look, I'm just not going to take it anymore. I'm either going to leave the federal civil service or I am going to call in sick. I think a lot of air traffic controllers did that. And that actually shut down the shutdown. That ended the shutdown when that started. Just hours after air traffic controllers in broad numbers and not in an organized way. I'm not suggesting that the union organized them to do this, but they called in sick. Many of them didn't have much choice, and I think that brought the shutdown to an end.
CABRERA: I want to switch gears quickly in the time that I have left because I want to ask you about this issue of a wealth tax that's come up with a number of Democrats. You have Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez proposing taxing the wealthy as high as 70 percent to fund a climate change plan and then you have Senator Elizabeth Warren who is campaigning for 2020, she's throwing out this proposal, a new tax on those whose net worth is $50 million or more. Do you want to see your party get firmly behind these significant tax increases for the very rich in an effort to reverse the widening wealth gap?
REICH: Absolutely. I mean, under Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 1950s, Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower, President, the marginal tax on the very wealthy was 91 percent. And even with all of the tax credits and deductions are figured in, the very wealthy were paying at least at the margin in terms of their very highest incomes, they're paying over 50 percent. And that is fair. We have lost sight of that degree of fairness. And we can't afford social security, Medicare, the military. We can't afford any of the things we are doing for much longer without some sort of a recognition that the very rich, who have never been as rich, since at least the 1890s, relative to the rest of the country, pay their fair share.
CABRERA: What kind of infusion would that mean for the economy if people making more than $50 million or had a net worth of more than $50 million were taxed at two percent, as she's proposing and people making over $1 billion taxed an additional one percent?
REICH: Ana, that would probably be in the range of $6 to $9 billion a year. Some estimates put it $12 to $15 billion a year. But whatever it is, it does mean a huge amount of money to bring down the federal debt and also to do the kind of investments in infrastructure, education, basic research that we need to do to make sure the American workforce does actually prosper in this new world economy. And we're not making them. And worry living off investments that were made in the 1950s and 60s.
[20:35:13] CABRERA: Robert Reich, good to have you with us. Thanks so much.
REICH: Thanks. Good to see you.
CABRERA: The power of the Hispanic vote, a major issue in politics. Butt a new comment from veteran anchor Tom Brokaw today is causing fresh hurt.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM BROKAW, FORMER ANCHOR, NBC NEWS: I also happen to believe that the Hispanics should work harder to assimilation. That's one of the things I've been saying for a long time. You know, that they ought not to be just codified in their communities but make sure that all their kids are learning to speak English and that they feel comfortable in the communities, and that's going to take outreach on both sides, frankly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Tom Brokaw is responding again tonight to the backlash from those comments. We'll have that for you, next, live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[20:40:00] CABRERA: Veteran T.V. journalist Tom Brokaw is apologizing for remarks he made about Hispanics and immigration. Listen to what he said during a discussion on NBC's "Meet The Press."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BROKAW: I also happen to believe that the Hispanics should work harder to assimilation. That's one of the things I've been saying for a long time, you know, that they ought not to be just codified in their communities, but make sure that all of their kids are learning to speak English and that they feel comfortable in the communities, and that's going to take outreach on both sides, frankly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Earlier, I played those comments for Democratic Strategist Maria Cardona and Keith Boykin. Here's Maria's reaction.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARIA CARDONA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: My reaction is that he's a little out of touch. I love him and I will give him a pass because he's probably not up to speed as to where things are today and age especially with young Latinos in this country, and I think both Keith and you, Ana, know very well that Latinos assimilate incredibly well. In fact, most Latino children speak English better than a lot of native-born Americans and as an immigrant from Colombia myself and as somebody who is raising two Latino children, we speak Spanish at home predominantly, but they speak better English than a lot of my English- speaking friends, and so what he's saying is absolutely not true. Latinos absolutely assimilate.
There might be some abuelitas out there, meaning grandmothers, Latina grandmothers, who don't speak English, but that is because of their age and because they came here probably older and just did not have either the interest or the need to really learn how to speak English. But what Tom Brokaw said is just not true. A lot of Latinos, most Latinos do assimilate incredibly well. And in fact, the second generation of Latinos, a lot of them are predominantly speak English, predominantly get their news from English language sources, but what I love about them as well is that they are incredibly proud of their heritage, and they want to -- if they don't know Spanish, they want to learn it. If they are bilingual, they want to continue to being bilingual, they also consume news in Spanish. It is a beautiful diverse generation of Latinos who is assimilating into what is a beautiful diverse country that is called the United States of America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Brokaw is now following up in a series of tweets. And he says this, "I feel terrible a part of my comments on Hispanics offended some members of that proud culture. From my days reporting on Cesar Chavez to documenting the many contributions of Hispanics in all parts of our culture, I've worked hard to knock down false stereotypes. In my final comment in 'Meet the Press,' I said all sides have to work harder at finding common ground," which I strongly believe. Dialogue, not division."
The government is open for business again but the President still wants his border wall. So, is it worth it? CNN goes deep underground to see how drug smugglers are getting creative.
[20:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CABRERA: It's the President's latest slogan, "Build the wall, and the crime will fall." That's not the view from the border. In the last month alone, three new tunnels for drug smuggling have been discovered in one border town. And for the first time, CNN is taking you inside for a look at what's really happening underground. CNN's Ed Lavendera reports.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Leave behind the streets of Nogales, Mexico, and take a journey into a world where border security is fought in the darkness, underground.
This is the labyrinth of tunnels and the drainage system underneath the city of Nogales, Mexico that is often used by drug smugglers and human smugglers to get people and drugs into the United States. Local police guide us through the rivers of raw sewage, and even down here, the international borderline is painted on the ceiling. This wall is the international borderline. And this black patch that you see is actually an old tunnel that was used by smugglers. And Mexican authorities have sealed it off. But this is what it looks like underground here.
In the last month, Mexican authorities have discovered three new tunnels in this border city, all designed to reach underneath the border wall that already exists here and pop up north of the border.
The most recent tunnel discovered here in Nogales actually emptied out into this area you see behind me, but it actually started deeper inside the city, about three-quarters of a mile away from where we're standing right now.
TONY ESTRADA, SHERIFF, SANTA CRUZ COUNTY: There were two drug tunnels right here.
LAVANDERA: Sheriff Tony Estrada and his lieutenant Gerry Castillo have spent decades patrolling the borderlands of Santa Cruz County and Arizona. And they've seen organized crime cartels adapt to every new evolution of border security.
ESTRADA: We have the world's record as far as tunnels are concerned --
LAVANDERA: More than 100 tunnels have been discovered in Nogales since 1995.
ESTRADA: No buffer zone. There's opportunity and very practical for them, the more difficult you make it for them, the more creative they're going to be.
LAVANDERA: Yes. That's a lot of tunnels.
ESTRADA: That is a lot of tunnels. And at some point, you wonder if there's going to be a huge sinkhole in this side of the border.
LAVANDERA: As the Trump administration pushes to expand the existing border walls, border authorities predict this will force cartels to expand their underground operations.
SCOTT STEWART, BORDER SECURITY EXPERT: When we're talking about tunnels, it's linked to the dynamics and economics of the drug trade. We're going to continue to see drug traffickers using tunnels, corruption, drones, catapults, anything else to get contraband across that border as long as there's that money to be made there.
[20:50:07] LAVANDERA: Lieutenant Gerry Castillo says detecting tunnel construction is incredibly difficult. The cartels have become masters at tunneling.
So, you could be looking into Mexico and --
GERARDO CASTILLO, LIEUTENANT, SANTA CRUZ COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE: And never know.
LAVANDERA: -- and never know that someone is building a tunnel right under your feet.
LAVANDERA: Two years ago, border patrol operations officer Lance Lanuar (ph) took us inside a border tunnel in California. He's part of a team known as the "Tunnel Rats."
Is it by hand, by shovels, or --
LANCE LANUAR, BORDER PATROL OPERATIONS OFFICER: Yes, it's basically almost exclusively by hand with power tools.
LAVANDERA: Hundred of miles away in a New York courtroom in the trial of El Chapo Guzman, the drug kingpin's former lieutenants have detailed how vast amounts of cocaine and weapons have been smuggled through tunnels. But that there's always more than one way to get through a border wall. Lieutenant Castillo says a wall alone won't stop it.
CASTILLO: It's a cat and mouse game. It's -- you know, we would -- we would think that we were on top of the game and all of a sudden something else popped up.
LAVANDERA: It never ends.
CASTILLO: It never ends.
LAVANDERA: According Immigration Customs Enforcement here in the United States, since 1990, 203 border tunnels have been discovered along the southwest border with Mexico, and this really speaks to one of the things that we've heard repeatedly inside that trial of El Chapo in New York where those people close to El Chapo have described how these cartels continue to evolve and adapt to whatever border security changes are made on the northern side of this U.S.-Mexico border, and that they will continue to do that. That they have used trains, they have used ports of entry to smuggle drugs, and they will continue to adapt to whatever changes are made on this side. Ed Lavandera, CNN Nogales, Arizona.
CABRERA: Coming up, the tongue-twisting names of the 2020 race.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WHOOPI GOLDBERG, ACTRESS AND TELEVISION HOST: Kamala Harris.
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D), CALIFORNIA: It's Kamala. It's just --
HARRIS: Yes, just think of like a "comma" and add a "la."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[20:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CABRERA: Finally tonight, you know their names, but can you say them. Here's Jeanne Moos.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There's a new Democrat looking to run for president if only we could pronounce his name.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my God, Pete Buttigieg.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Pete Buttigieg.
MOOS: You try saying the name of South Bend, Indiana's mayor.
PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), MAYOR, SOUTH BEND, INDIANA: I'm Pete Buttigieg. Buttigieg, but around south, then they just call me Mayor Pete, and that's fine with me.
MOOS: What isn't fine is that so many of the Democratic Presidential wannabes have names that that trip you up. Don't him Julian Castro.
JULIAN CASTRO, FORMER SECRETARY OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT: No, my name is Julian.
MOOS: And don't do what Whoopi did when she introduced ...
GOLDBERG: Kamala Harris.
MOOS: Oops. Accent on the wrong syllable.
HARRIS: It's Kamala. It's just --
HARRIS: Yes, just think of like a "comma" and add a "la."
MOOS: Somebody forgot to tell right-wing critics Diamond and Silk.
DIAMOND AND SILK, SOCIAL MEDIA PERSONALITIES: You know, Kamala should be ashamed of herself. Shame on Kamala Harris.
MOOS: It's really ashamed when both names are tricky.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please welcome Senator Kristen Gillibrand.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How often do people call you Kristen Gillibrand?
SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D), NEW YORK: A lot.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, I know her. That's Kirsten Gillibrand.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my goodness.
MOOS: And then there's this guy who's childhood name's stuck.
REP. BETO O'ROURKE (D), TEXAS: Hey, there. This is Beto O'Rourke.
MOOS: But his political foes delight in saying Beto rather Beto.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where is my opponent Beto O'Rourke?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Referred to as Beto.
MOOS: Campaign sometimes go along with the joke.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where do get me one of them Beto signs?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Beto.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Beto.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not Kamala.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not Kamela.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's Kamala.
MOOS: Mayor Pete's husband offered some tips like Buddha-judge to help pronounce this Maltese name that translates to lord of the poultry. But even easy names get mangle. Take Bernie Sanders.
CHRIS HAYES, HOST, MSNBC: And Bernie Sandwich is --
MOOS: Sometimes a name is more than people can bite off. Jeanne Moos.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeanne Moos.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Moo. Jeanne Moo.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Moos.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's Moos right? Moos.
MOOS: New York.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who's she? That's you?
MOOS: She's standing right in front of you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm very -- oh, that's you, right? All right.
(END VIDEOTAPE) CABRERA: Well, leave it to Jeanne. All right. A quick programming
note. Be sure to tune in for the first major television event of the 2020 race. Senator Kamala Harris joins Jake Tapper for a live CNN Townhall from Iowa tomorrow night at 10:00 right here on CNN. That's going to do it for me, I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. Thanks for being with me. Up next, the award winning CNN Original Film "THREE IDENTICAL STRANGERS." Good night.