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Trump Accepts Shutdown Deal With No Wall Money; Roger Stone Indicted For Lying About His Contact with WikiLeaks. Aired 8-9a ET
Aired January 27, 2019 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[08:00:21] JOHN KING, CNN HOST (voice-over): The government shutdown is over. And the biggest political winner is clear.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: It's sad, though, that it's taken this long to come to an obvious conclusion.
KING: Plus --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: FBI, open the door.
KING: A predawn arrest. Special counsel says Trump confidante Roger Stone lied about his campaign contacts with WikiLeaks.
ROGER STONE, TRUMP CONFIDANTE: I am falsely accused. I believe this is a politically motivated investigation.
KING: And the Democratic field for 2020 keeps growing.
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I feel a sense of responsibility to stand up and fight for the best of who we are.
PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's time for a new generation of leadership in our country.
KING: INSIDE POLITICS the biggest stories, sourced by the best reporters now.
KING: Welcome to INSIDE POLITICS. I'm John King. To our viewers in the United States and around the world, thank you for sharing your Sunday.
The full U.S. government now back up and running. President Trump's anti-immigration allies are furious. He agreed to end the month-long shutdown with no new border money, exactly what the Democrats demanded.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), SENATE MINORITY LEADER: No one some ever underestimate the speaker as Donald Trump has learned. Hopefully the president has learned his lesson. PELOSI: And people say to me, oh, you're so good at organizing your
caucus. No, I don't unify our caucus. Our values unify us. Our unity is our power. And that is what maybe the president underestimated.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Plus, the special counsel indicts a Trump ally whose dirty tricks go back to the Richard Nixon era. The indictment against Roger Stone alleges top Trump campaign officials urged him to work with WikiLeaks to hurt Hillary Clinton.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STONE: I will plead not guilty to these charges. I will defeat them in court. I believe this is a politically motivated investigation.
I am troubled by the political motivations of the prosecutors. And as I have said previously, there is no circumstance whatsoever under which I will bear false witness against the president, nor will I make up lies to ease the pressure on myself.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: And Kamala Harris today makes it official. The California senator back home to declare her 2020 candidacy as the Democratic field grows again.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS: Fundamentally, we also should understand that the vast majority of us have so much more in common than what separates us. And so I say that to say what I know to be true which is when people wake up in the middle of the night, be it a mom in Compton or a mom in Kentucky, she is waking up having the same concerns about how she's going to be able to raise those babies, how she's going to be able to pay the rent, how she's going to be able to retire with dignity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: With us this Sunday to share their reporting and their insights: Rachael Bade of "Politico", CNN's Jeff Zeleny, Astead Herndon of "The New York Times", and CNN's Sara Murray.
We begin with the U.S. government back in business. Agencies now are scrambling to get services back to normal if you get some 800,000 workers a month's worth of back pay ASAP. There is no new border wall money and the temporary spending deal President Trump signed Friday after a Rose Garden speech which tried to spin his surrender.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: After 36 days of spirited debate and dialogue, I have seen and heard from enough Democrats and Republicans that they are willing to put partisanship aside, I think, and put the security of the American people first. (END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: In a weekend tweet, the president insisted, quote, this was in no way a concession. And he vowed to get his wall money in the next round of negotiations. Conservative immigration hard-liners, though, are furious and, look here, the headlines from coast to coast are harsh. The deal, not that much different than the plan the president rejected to trigger the shutdown.
Yes, Democrats agreed to a former committee process to negotiate border security, but there's no promise of any new wall money. Remember, the president for a month, for a month, said he would not reopen the government without that money, including this tweet Tuesday promising, quote, no cave. But he did cave or blinked two days after caving in a related stare-down with the new speaker of the house over the State of the Union Address.
Nancy Pelosi, suffice to say, is not tired of winning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PELOSI: I quote Lincoln all the time. Public sentiment is everything. With it, you can accomplish almost anything. And we thank the public for weighing in so strongly, for paying attention.
[08:05:00] I can't assure the public on anything that 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: People around the president complain of a wasted month. They don't understand what he got from this. This is your job on Capitol Hill. Now, they have this formal committee. The president is trying to tell everybody, I didn't concede that. Of course he conceded and caved.
In the end, can he declare victory or is this process set in a way that he's not going to get his wall?
RACHAEL BADE, CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT, POLITICO: Well, it sounds like we're hearing from Republicans he's considering two options here. If three weeks go by and he still doesn't have his wall money, there's talk about him declaring a national emergency.
Now, Republicans on the Hill are very divided on that. Some of them think that was the way out of the shutdown and they wanted to do earlier. Others are worried Democrats will do something similar when they have the White House and use emergency situations to enact a bunch of more progressive policies they hate.
So, it sounds like he is postponing things and he's saying right now, I'm going to get my wall either way. We'll just have to wait and see if this bipartisan group of lawmakers can come up with anything. I'm very skeptical. But lawmakers have long talked about a wall for DACA agreement of some
sort. So, of course, those talks will continue.
KING: A wall for DACA, though. The question is, would the president of the United States, this president of the United States, go that far away from his anti-immigration base, cut a deal, a big deal, a path to citizenship to status for the Dreamers heading into his election campaign at a time they're already furious at him?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It's hard for me to imagine that. It's also hard for me to imagine another shutdown.
One thing I think of everything that led to this end on Friday. Yes, it was the president watching the air traffic slowdown at his favorite airport LaGuardia where his own plane was probably sitting on the tarmac there. That sorts of, you know, brought things to a focus. But it was also more importantly the calls for Mitch McConnell.
On Thursday afternoon into the evening saying, Mr. President, we're losing Senate Republicans. There's a blow up at the Senate Republican lunch that day. People were furious.
So, I think the idea of another shutdown, I don't believe Senate Republicans will be with him on this. I mean, and it is potential -- it's a possibility of the Senate, you know, simply going around his back here.
So, my question is at the end of all of this, we are now at the beginning of the second half of this first term as president. This week also marked that anniversary. Can he adjust to these new realities of governing, or is he going to continue repeating mistakes of the past?
If he is, his own re-election is in peril. But if he can adjust, which maybe he can adjust, he is very flexible, at the very least, and then things may change but I think another shutdown is very unlikely.
KING: Consistency is something -- you mentioned he's flexible, he's not an ideological president, but consistency is something that Republicans have been asking for for a long time. He's about to sign a deal with no wall money, then he blinked because of the criticism. We had the shutdown. Now here we are.
Just one more headline for you. This is "The New York Daily News". The president pays attention to the headlines back home in New York. That is pretty damning for a man whose brand is strength.
And again, the president says he didn't concede. We'll get later in the program, some of his allies saying he didn't concede, just remember, the president signed a deal president night that has no new money for the wall -- after a month of saying this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I have made my position very clear. Any measure that funds the government must include border security. Has to. The only way you're going to do is to have a physical barrier, meaning
a wall. If you don't have that, then we're just not opening.
We won't be opening until it's solved. We think this is a much bigger problem.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: How do you get away from that?
ASTEAD HERNDON, NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, NEW YORK TIMES: It's going to be hard. I think that this is indicative of a president who has tied himself to a politically unpalatable campaign promise. I mean, he's trying to make something happen that functionally congressional Democrats and Republicans just truly don't have the appetite for.
But I think this is also a president that hears the calls from his base that's very sensitive against the idea that he conceded or that he caved. And so, while the politics might not be there for another shutdown, we know the community he listens to, that base, that conservative media, the crowd that has his attention. If they are still divided, that they are still calling for a more anti-immigrant policy or for him to stand up on this campaign promise again, we may see him dig in, do something like a national emergency. That can appease these crew.
So, I mean, I think that while the politics may be difficult for him to have another shutdown, we know the community he cares the most about might be pushing him in that direction.
SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: What I'd say though is the president's base and conservative media are not necessarily the same thing.
MURRAY: Yes, they often have overlap, but there is a big bloc in the president's base that I think would still be with him if he did strike a deal. Something like DACA in exchange for a wall and then went out and said I'm a dealmaker. I got you this wall. I always said we were not going to punish the kids who were brought here.
[08:10:00] That we're going to get the bad people out of the country and we're still going to do this, and this is a victory. And I think that he could do a deal like that. Spin it as a victory. He's skilled in PR, keep a lot of his base with him.
But the Steven Millers, Ann Coulters of the world would all go apoplectic.
KING: And he keeps blinking, and that criticism, I agree, he could also say drones, the flying wall. Look at my flying wall. You could spin a whole lot of things if he'd act consistently.
But he won't act consistently, which is part of the new power dynamic in Washington is Nancy Pelosi, and the president got a math lesson. Number one, the Democrats in the House can say no. They control the chamber.
Number two, to your point, Senator McConnell and others saying there are a dozen or more senators who are not with you anymore on this. They want to get out of the shutdown, Mr. President.
This is Jim Clyburn on your piece on Friday. I don't know if it's because she's a woman but Trump certainly underestimated her. I told somebody I don't know what kind of nickname he will find for Nancy, but low energy won't be one of them.
This is the thing that a lot of people don't understand. There's two sides of this. But Republicans are saying the president kept saying Pelosi would blink. Nobody on Capitol Hill thought she would blink, Democrat or Republican.
Jared Kushner took the lead on this. So surprised. Only one Democratic Senator Joe Manchin went over to vote for the president's plan.
Nobody on Capitol Hill was surprised at that math. So, one of the concerns on the Hill, Democrats and Republicans, is the White House doesn't get this world order.
BADE: Yes, they just got a reality check. They met Nancy Pelosi for the first time. If you think back two months ago, Pelosi was sort of grappling with her own Democratic Caucus, trying to put down a rebellion from a lot of Democrats who thought, frankly, she was too old and she had been around too long and they thought they wanted new leadership in the House.
And they ended up -- she struck a deal. They ended up keeping her around, and within three weeks, she has bested the president of the United States, not only not getting him a dollar more of wall money but also getting him to postpone the State of the Union. She came out victorious and consolidated her power.
This is going to have a lasting effect on the relationship between her and Trump here in the next two years.
KING: And if there's a Trump agenda for 2019, what is it? We'll come back to this a bit later on the program.
Next, the special counsel, though, indicts another presidential confidante. This one eager to mimic his idol and insists he's not a crook.
[08:16:02] KING: Welcome back.
Roger Stone loves a circus, especially when he's the star. So, there he was Friday night on primetime cable just hours after his Nixonian performance on the steps of a federal courthouse in Florida. Yes, he says the special counsel may have caught him in a few lies, but he insists they were not deliberate and not central to Robert Mueller's investigative mission.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STONE: I always said that there could be some process crime. There's still no evidence whatsoever that I had advanced knowledge of the topic, the subject or the source of the WikiLeaks disclosures. I never received any of the WikiLeaks disclosures.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Now, Stone was arrested. You see the pictures here, of predawn raid Friday.
The indictment charges him with lying to Congress and with pressuring an associate to lie to Congress about 2016 campaign contacts with WikiLeaks about hacked Democratic e-mails.
The indictment also notably alleges this. After the July 22, 2016, release of stolen DNC e-mails by organization 1, that's WikiLeaks, a senior Trump campaign official was directed to contact Stone about any additional releases and what other damaging information organization 1 had regarding the Clinton campaign. Stone thereafter told the Trump campaign about potential future releases of damaging material by organization 1.
Stone denies that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STONE: No senior campaign official told me to find out anything about WikiLeaks. That doesn't mean Mr. Mueller can't induce somebody to say that, but there will be no corroboration for it.
Where's the Russian collusion, Chris? Where's the WikiLeaks collaboration? Where's the evidence that I received anything from WikiLeaks or Julian Assange and passed it on to Donald Trump or the Trump campaign? Simply does not exist.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Former federal prosecutor Carrie Cordero joins our conversation.
What to you is most significant when you look at this latest indictment? It's hard to piece together all of the people who are charged and Robert Mueller gives us the minimum of information. What's the most significant thing in these documents to you?
CARRIE CORDERO, FORMER COUNSEL TO U.S. ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR NATIONAL SECURITY: There are two things. One thing is that Roger Stone wasn't just in touch with one person in the Trump campaign about what WikiLeaks was going to or not going to release. He was in touch with multiple people in the Trump campaign at senior levels. So, there's various references in the indictment of Roger Stone that indicate that it was an ongoing set of communications between him and numerous, not just one, person in the Trump campaign. KING: So, harder -- forgive me for interrupting, but much harder for
anyone to say just a couple of guys doing this rogue back and forth?
CORDERO: That's exactly right. Sometimes in the course of the Manafort prosecution, we've heard Trump surrogates say this was just Paul Manafort. This had nothing to do with the campaign.
You cannot say that when it comes to the activities that are alleged in the Stone indictment. The second piece is that there's one specific phrase in the indictment that says he was directed, past tense, was directed by someone who is not named in the indictment to go back and find out more. And that someone was someone senior in the campaign.
KING: And to that point, we have what I'll call the coffee boy treatment playing out on Twitter. This is the president tweeting Saturday talking about the fake news media coverage. I'm not going to get in to all this. He brings up Crooked H again, because that's his default.
But he says at the end, Roger Stone didn't even work for me anywhere near the election. That's true. Roger Stone was not on the campaign payroll, but Roger Stone is a friend of this president, a confidante of this president going back 30-plus years. And we also know from your reporting and other reporting that there were visits to Trump Tower, phone calls to Trump Tower from Roger Stone during the campaign.
MURRAY: I mean, they were still in contact during the campaign. Admittedly, less so as we got closer to Election Day but still in contact. Roger Stone was still running or involved with multiple super PACs out there who are supporting President Trump.
So, he was, you know, all in on this election and all in on trying to get Donald Trump elected, even if he wasn't working directly inside the confines of the campaign. And as you pointed out, these people have a relationship that spans decades. Roger Stone really was committed to getting Donald Trump elected and said along the way he'd do anything nose do so.
[08:20:05] Now, he says anything necessary to do so within legal limits but we'll see what the prosecutors say.
KING: And let's just -- just to remind you, Roger Stone now, look at the list. Look at the list. The president says this has nothing to do with me. Certainly, it has something to do with the people he has around him. Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser under indicted. Rick Gates, the deputy campaign chairman. The chairman Paul Manafort, campaign adviser Papadopoulos, personal lawyer Michael Cohen, longtime political adviser Roger Stone.
Yet, one of the interesting things here is Mueller tries to piece this together is if you go way back, Manafort and Stone were business partners a long time ago. I'm told that Roger Stone was among those who encouraged the Trump campaign to bring Manafort in to help run the convention. Listen to Paul Manafort here, Roger Stone, as I said, likes the
spotlight. There was a documentary about Roger Stone, including his good friend Paul Manafort.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL MANAFORT, EX-TRUMP CAMPAIGN CHAIRMAN & EX-ROGER STONE BUSINESS PARTNER: Roger's relationship with Trump has been so interconnected that it's hard to define what's Roger and what's Donald. While it will be clearly a Trump presidency, I think it's influenced by Stone philosophy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: As a lawyer, I think you'd probably tell these people, stop talking, right? Or they record these things?
CORDERO: Well, I'll tell you, the indictment of Stone, it shows that there are e-mails. There are texts. The special counsel's investigation has many communications through the evidence that they've gathered between Roger Stone and multiple individuals in the Trump campaign.
And the hardest thing to -- that I think is going to be for them to separate is there is this timeline in the middle of July 2016 where Roger Stone was going back and forth between people in the campaign and people he was taught communicating with that were going back to Assange, the head of WikiLeaks and right in the middle of that time is when Donald Trump went out publicly and said, Russia, if you're listening -- I'm paraphrasing -- will you go find something of Hillary Clinton's e-mails?
And when you match up that date with the exchanges that were going back and forth right around the same time in the indictment, there's something more going on there.
KING: So you just very smartly put together the chronology. And Mueller knows a lot more than we do. The president and his team know more than we do. And yet the White House press secretary says, why are you asking me about this?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: This has nothing to do with the president and certainly nothing to do with the White House. This is something that has to do solely with that individual and not something that affects us here in this building. The specific charges that have been brought against Mr. Stone don't have anything to do with the president. The charges brought against Mr. Stone have nothing to do with the president. Have nothing to do with the White House.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Everybody got that? We know Democrats on Capitol Hill have a newly aggressive -- have the
House now to investigate. What about Republicans when you see this? At what point -- I'm sorry.
At what point -- there's no direct allegation of bad conduct by the president himself in this indictment. Let's be clear. However, the president hired Stone or associated with Stone, associated with Cohen, hired Manafort, hired Gates, hired Flynn.
BADE: Well, when it comes to Trump, it's crickets. I mean, they are waiting and they're not saying anything because they know if they go against the president, that their base is going to come after them and a lot of them have re-elections they're worried about. But at the same time, a lot of Republicans in the Senate are ticked off that some of these characters have lied to them when they came to Capitol Hill.
For instance, Richard Burr who is not running for re-election, mind you, perhaps that's why he's more adamant about getting to the truth on these matters. He is -- he re-subpoenaed Michael Cohen after it came out that Michael Cohen had lied to Congress.
And he did that before even the house Democrats subpoenaed Michael Cohen. So, you know, that shows some Republicans are clearly frustrated, but they are not criticizing the president. It's crickets.
KING: As a lawyer, you've heard something in the Sarah Sanders that made you jump up.
CORDERO: Well, I did because she notably did not say this doesn't affect the campaign. So, prior to this particular indictment, I think if we go back and listen to statements coming from the White House or coming from the Trump surrogates, they say, oh, this has nothing to do with the campaign.
That was different. That said this has nothing to do with the president or White House, which means that now, they recognize the campaign is implicated.
MURRAY: She also didn't deny that Donald Trump may have been the person who was giving this direction to another senior campaign official telling Stone to go back to WikiLeaks and get more information, and she was asked repeatedly. Can you tell us if this was or was not Donald Trump? And she would not answer that.
KING: If she does answer that question directly, that means she asked the president about it which means she'll be before the grand jury. That's why Sarah Sanders is not going to answer that question.
KING: Just Google Clinton administration on that one.
Up next, 2019 begins with unmistakable Trump slump. His poll numbers are down. His White House can't seem to figure out Washington's new balance of power. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[08:28:46] SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: He's not going to sign a bill that doesn't have money for the wall. If he gives in now, that's the end of 2019 in terms of him being an effective president. That's probably the end of his presidency.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Well, beware the things you say on television is one lesson there. Are we witnessing the end of the Trump presidency? As Senator Graham suggested there?
Well, maybe that's a bit of a stretch, but we are witnessing a significant Trump slump. Let's look at the numbers and put this in the context of where we are coming out of this government shutdown. Only 37 percent of Americans -- just a CNN poll of polls, averaging the recent national polls -- only 37 percent of Americans approve of the job the president is doing. Nearly six in 10 disapprove as he begins to ramp up for re-election.
Who is responsible for the shutdown? There was no doubt in these polls, more Americans -- this is ABC/"Washington Post," this is Fox News. More Americans by a big margin blame the president than Pelosi and the Democrats for the shutdown.
Here's another way to look at it here. What should Trump do? Well, the president did what two-thirds of the country wanted him to do -- end the shutdown, sign a spending deal without any wall money. Two- thirds of the American people thought we didn't have to have a shutdown to begin with.
[08:29:54] JOHN KING, CNN HOST: But in doing so, the President angered these people, the 30 percent plus who say refuse any budget deal unless it has your border wall money. Again, the moment matters. You can change something like this.
But look at where we are right now. Nearly six in ten Americans say they will definitely vote against the President in 2020. Only 30 percent, his hard core base, only 30 percent say they'll definitely vote for him. This is not where you want to be at any time in your presidency.
Now, of course, polls can change, and they do change. But there's no doubt the President is in a bad place right now, a very bad place. Even some of the loyal members of the Trump choir -- confused.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LOU DOBBS, FOX BUSINESS NETWORK HOST: She has just whipped the President of the United States. He just reversed himself. That's a victory for Nancy Pelosi.
It will be perceived as such on every television monitor and screen in the country and to deny it is to try to escape from reality.
JEANINE PIRRO, FOX NEWS HOST: He did not cave. He made a tactical decision. A strategy decision to pick the ground to fight on, folks. The war isn't over yet.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Lou Dobbs is right. Judge Jeanine not so much. In that case there, the question is, what now? And we talked a little about this earlier.
But you're a president who's trying to ramp up for re-election. The Democrats just won the House. You know the energy out there. You know what just happened in suburban America.
And now, number one, you've done nothing to reach out to the middle. And number two, you are anti-immigration -- your own base is at least fractured questions? What's the right word for it?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: I think "fractured". They do have questions. And also along the way here, the whole argument about the wall was re-litigated in a way THAT it hasn't been. It was always a campaign symbol, a mantra, you know, build the wall, but was never really discussed until this last six weeks or so.
Ok, now it's not going to be a concrete wall. Now it's not going to be across the whole border. It really has changed a lot.
But I think regardless, the President is going to look for a way to win out of this. So it's now going to be electronic. That's fine. But the reality here is he listens to all those voices.
I'm anxious to see what Sean Hannity has to say next week and others. People want him to get to a place where he can do a deal. So I think that, you know, it is still unknown exactly where this goes, but he wants to make some kind of a deal and he has three weeks to do it.
KING: Hannity's initial reaction Friday night was that the President is showing leadership here by flipping on everything he had said for a month. He's signing something -- Hannity is sticking with him.
This is the question. Who will the President follow when you have his own base fractured?
This is Ann Coulter who, you know, is a conservative provocateur, likes to stir things up. I'm not sure how big her following is in the country but the President pays attention. Cable news pays attention.
"Good news for George Herbert Walker Bush. As of today, he's no longer the biggest wimp ever to serve as president of the United States."
There are some Republicans, the "New York Times" wrote a piece about this today, who suggest that maybe this opens the -- fractures in the Republican Party, maybe increases the possibility of primary challengers.
ASTEAD HERNDON, NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, "NEW YORK TIMES": Yes. What the President -- I mean we know that these are most importantly the voices that he listens to. And so even if it is a small percentage of the country, 35 percent of the electorate at large, it's the part that has his ear the most.
And so he'll hear these kind of splintering voices. Folks like Ann Coulter, folks like the more conservative media that came out and said, you know, that maybe the President caved. We saw tweets of him kind of pushing up against that.
How can the Republicans capitalize on that for something like a 2020 primary challenge, is a whole separate question. I mean someone like a John Kasich, someone like a Jeff Flake, a Larry Hogan -- the people who have talked about it are not people who are going to capitalize on this anti-immigrant sentiment. They are people who are going to try play the kind of middle of the road, never Trump, more independent voice.
So it's interesting because the ones we have, this is a challenge from the -- the people he's upset are on his right and the folks who are upset about 2020 and the people who may primary challenge him are not there.
KING: The question is who does he want to be? Which has been a question from day one of the Trump presidency.
KING: But who does he want to be at this moment of divided government? Does he want to, as he said after the election at times, let's try to do infrastructure, let's try to work with the Democrats on some things; or the last month became about one thing -- the wall, the wall, the wall, the wall, the wall. And Democrats are feeling their oats to be kind of polite.
Look at this tweet from Democratic Congressman Mark Takano of California taking the art of the deal cover and putting Nancy Pelosi on it right there. One of the questions is how does he react to this?
All of the coverage that he just lost that there's a chamber of Congress now that can say no and add into this, it's led by a woman.
RACHAEL BADE, CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT, POLITICO: Yes. I mean he looks really weak right now. And the question is, does he take a lesson from this? We've talked to a lot of Republicans particularly in leadership since Friday who are saying we hope he took a lesson and that he will no longer listen to the Freedom Caucus, which is the most conservative caucus in the House when it comes to these sorts of issues.
I mean remember, it was advice from conservatives that led him down this path in the first place. Mark Meadows, Republican from North Carolina who's very close with him, picked up the phone and called him that morning when he said initially he was going to continue funding the government without the wall -- called him and said don't do this. We'll be with you, the base will be with you.
[08:35:02] Well, guess what, it's not enough to have the base with you. Democrats were not going to blink on that. And just because the base is with you doesn't mean you're going to get a win.
And so we'll see if he listens to them. Does their influence diminish or, you know, is he going to go with more leadership, center of the road type thing?
KING: What does he learn out of this at a time when, again, what does he want to do for the rest of the year now that the government is back open? Will he have -- will we have another shutdown in a few weeks if he doesn't get a wall in these negotiations?
And look at the headlines, there's also all the Mueller stuff is still out there as well. So it's not a good moment for the President.
Michael Cohen subpoenaed. Trump adviser Stone charged. Trump caved on the shutdown. Bruised Trump faces uncertain 2020 prospects. This is -- all presidents have bad weeks. This is a bad month.
SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. It is a bad month. I mean I think honestly, the best news for the President is probably in this new Washington Post/ABC poll that says about 55 percent of the American public still opposes impeachment proceedings -- That's the one glimmer of hope that a small majority of Americans do not want to see this president undergo impeachment. That's not a great headline -- John.
KING: No, it's, shall we say, readjustment time I think. We'll see what happens though. We'll see what happens.
[08:36:08] Up next for us, the Democratic presidential field has some important new entries.
KING: On this Sunday, you might say Kamala Harris is getting three bites of the apple. First there was a book tour. Then the California senator added she was exploring a run for president. This afternoon back home in Oakland, she will make it official.
A long way to go in a very crowded field but Harris does begin with hope that for Democratic voters that she looks the part. Let's go through this a little bit.
Look here. If you go back to the 2018 midterms. Black women were the most loyal Democratic constituency as the Democrats took back the House. By far now, you go through some of the early primaries -- Iowa is mostly white, New Hampshire is mostly white. Nevada is 13 percent African American, Latino voters there as well.
But once you get to South Carolina, look at that, more than six in 10 Democratic primary voters back in 2016 were black voters in the 2020 primary. That is what Kamala Harris is counting on as she goes through this. And look at this, in South Carolina, the biggest constituency in the Democratic presidential primaries -- black women and black men. So Kamala Harris again, hoping that that helps. She'll have competition as well from others but she's hoping.
One quick footnote, history tells us, you can't just count on South Carolina where she was this past week. You have to do ok, at least ok in Iowa and New Hampshire to have momentum going on forward.
But listen to this pitch to sorority sisters. Kamala Harris in South Carolina saying let's get off to a good start.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SENATOR KAMALA HARRIS (D), CALIFORNIA: From we, the members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, we stand on the shoulders of women who were leaders who 111 years ago said to us that we must honor sisterhood and we must honor service. They said stand together. Take care of each other. And serve your country as leaders. And that's what we do today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: If you're just back from South Carolina, which is always a fascinating place in the sense that Iowa and New Hampshire tend to winnow the field, knock some candidates out. And now Nevada has moved up, early voting now. But then South Carolina is usually the place that says ok, now we're getting serious as we go.
Give me some of your experience with Senator Harris and others. And as you do, I just want to read this quote. This is Todd Rutherford who's the House minority leader -- this is in the L.A. Times -- in South Carolina. "Someone's mama could be running and people wouldn't vote for her if they didn't think she could beat Donald Trump." Meaning that's the dynamic in the primaries. Is that what you feel is on the ground there?
HERNDON: Certainly. There's like this (INAUDIBLE) electability is the most important. That they first and foremost just want someone who can beat Donald Trump. And Democrats are having this really pragmatic moment where that kind of like outpunditrying (ph) themselves wondering who is that position -- whether that's a question of identity, whether that's a question of ideology.
Who can beat the current president? Because they're so enraged by this current administration. What people like Senator Harris seem to do and I was with Senator Warren earlier in the week there -- is create a moment, is create movement which gets people out of that mode because currently you'll talk to folks and they're like, why don't I just vote for Joe Biden? Why don't I just vote for someone who I know is kind of a known quantity?
And the people who represent the kind of future of the Democratic Party, who represents the more liberal progressive wing. They're trying to get folks out of that. They are saying let's have an ideological driven movement. Let's have someone that brings folks together and creates a coalition that kind of gets us out of that strict electability mode.
And so that's what they are trying to do. Whether they're successful at it is a whole other question.
KING: That's what's great about the early part of the process. So it's like what do you what. Before you pick who you want, you've got to sort of settle on what do you want.
Among the new entries this past week was a guy most Americans don't know. He's a 37-year-old mayor from South Bend, Indiana, served in Afghanistan, openly gay. (INAUDIBLE) says, I can do this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), SOUTH BEND, INDIANA: When you run at this age, your face is your message in a lot of ways. And part of what we're looking at is the idea that it's time for a new generation of American leadership.
I think if you're planning to be here for decades, you just look at the world a little bit differently than some of what we've heard from the President and others who seem to say, look, this isn't going to be my problem.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZELENY: Look, Pete Buttigieg knows he has an uphill climb here but he's a Rhodes scholar as well. He is someone who is going to have a voice in this conversation. I thought he made a very interesting point. He said he would be Donald Trump's age in 2054. And that's how long it will take to be a -- paying back the tax plan. And he talks about climate change.
So he definitely is talking to a generation of voters. Look, there's always people in a crowded field like this who may be running for something else ultimately. Vice president -- talent (ph), remember. But as of now he's in the conversation.
But I think one thing is very interesting going back to Kamala Harris. Iowa and New Hampshire for all the talk about maybe they're not as important this year.
[08:44:55] The reality is Barack Obama never would have won that South Carolina primary had he not won the Iowa caucuses because that gave him the validity, the legitimacy among African-American voters who, I remember at the time told me we don't want to waste our vote simply on a black candidate. They wanted to see if he could win elsewhere.
So at this moment, we do not know how this field will shake up. Who can go to distance? Who can climb from those lows that they'll have here. But it's a crowded field with more coming this week -- more senators getting in.
KING: More Senators getting in this week. Pressure on Bernie Sanders to make his decision in part because Elizabeth Warren is out there early. You mentioned her. Interesting, I think we're going to have a great policy debate. You mentioned climate change. Kamala Harris's record as attorney general, criminal justice reform is an issue. Elizabeth Warrant putting on the table this week -- a proposal to have a 2 percent annual tax on households with assets of over $50 million; a 3 percent annual tax on Households with assets of over a billion dollars.
About 75,000 families would be hit by this, essentially trying to say look, her big issue has been income disparity. All these mega-wealthy people out there -- great; we're going to take more of your money to help pay for other priorities.
BADE: Yes. No, I think it's interesting. You're just talking about how, you know, in South Carolina they're talking about picking somebody who can win and who can beat Trump and that's their first priority.
Democrats right now are really grappling with that. You have warren with her wealth tax. You have Kirsten Gillibrand backing this whole idea Green New Deal, this idea of making the U.S. economy energy efficient in ten years which would be a huge change for the business community. And you have ideas like Medicare for all.
And so the Democrats are really going to have to think about these things carefully. Can these ideas win in places like Florida and places like Ohio? These swing states that went for Trump. And, you know, it's going to be tough for them.
KING: Is the country ready to go -- what worked for the Democrats in these House races in 2018. Is the country ready to go there in the presidential race? It's going to be a fun one.
Our reporters share from their notebooks next, including fresh reporting on Hillary Clinton, and yes, 2020.
[08:46:50] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
KING: Let's head one last time around the INSIDE POLITICS table, ask our reporters to share a little something from their notebooks to help get you out ahead of the big political news just around the corner.
BADE: So fresh off their shutdown victory, House Democrats just a couple of hours later were already pivoting to the next major battle with the President. And that is oversight on the Russia investigation.
Just a few hours after she signed a bill, Nancy Pelosi to reopen the government and send this bill to the White House on Friday, she issued a statement basically saying this new Roger Stone indictment was -- basically proved that there was a deliberate, coordinated attempt by top Trump officials to influence the 2016 election.
Now, we know Pelosi has been very careful in the language she uses when it comes to Russia. And since the election she's talked a lot about bipartisan bills and that has totally evaporated and is being replaced by more aggressive tone.
She's also scheduled a conference on Tuesday, a closed door meeting with House Democrats and they're going to get a full update on Mueller's investigation and, you know, where they think it is -- of course, they don't know for sure. And where they're going to go in their own oversight. So onward.
KING: There was some serious edge in that statement.
ZELENY: Ok. So Hillary Clinton is telling people that she's not closing the doors to the idea of running in 2020. Let's just let that sink in.
I'm told by three people that as recently as this week, she was telling people that, look, given all this news from the indictments, particularly the Roger Stone indictment, she talked to several people saying, look, I'm not closing the doors to this.
Now it does not mean that there's a campaign sort of in waiting or a plan is in the works, but she is still believing that there may be, could be a possibility under the argument of this. I won the popular vote. All of this has sort of vindicated what happened in 2016.
So one close friend told me yesterday it would surprise me greatly if she actually did it but goes on to add, she is still not closing the doors. Now, most losing presidential candidates never totally close the doors to running for president. It's something that's really hard to do so I put this in that category.
But I think we have to at least leave our mind open to the possibility that she is still talking about it. The question is, she wants to take on Trump. Could she win a Democratic primary to do it? I don't know the answer to that.
KING: Spicy Sunday brunch talk courtesy of Jeff Zeleny.
HERNDON: I just came back from South Carolina and posed the same question to both Senator Warren and Senator Harris about whether they would break up tech giants and what they think they need to do to possibly rein in folks like Amazon and Facebook and Google 00 a way to show the difference between the two of them.
Senator Warren lights up, talks about antitrust law, talks about the possibility of breaking those up and says that that's something that she thinks needs to happen.
Senator Harris, who, of course, is a senator from California, has worked with these companies for a while, demurred and said, you know, I'll get back to you later.
I think it's an interesting way to know that at the beginning of those two campaigns, they're both focusing on different things. And Senator Warren is way more comfortable in talking about issues like that.
KING: Another fascinating -- this Democratic primary, you're going to get a lot of policy. We're focusing early on, on the personalities but the policy difference is going to be great.
MURRAY: I know we've talked a lot about Roger Stone. Many people are looking at this indictment and especially if they're, you know, perhaps members of the resistance and saying this is the beginning of indictments that are just going to be raining down. Next up is Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner.
I would urge a lot of caution in that view. This is actually the first time we've seen the special counsel's office bring a case jointly with another U.S. attorney's office. But I think that that could be another indication among the many other signs we've seen from Mueller's office that they may actually be winding things down.
KING: Winding down and handing things off to people who can continue them. Let's keep an eye on that one.
I'll close with this. Democrats asking what to many, is a pretty urgent question this weekend. Is Howard Schultz just trying to sell more books or is he about to give Democrats some serious heartburn?
The former Starbucks CEO is the subject of a "60 Minutes" piece tonight. An interview that comes just as a new book from Schultz hits the shelves and as the life-long Democrat weighs running for president as an Independent.
[08:54:57] Schultz is getting an earful from Democrats, both in person and on social media complaining a progressive running as an Independent would siphon Democratic votes and perhaps help President Trump win re-election.
Now, ballot access is a giant and expensive hurdle for any independent candidate. Many Democrats hope in the end Schultz turns away. But CNN is told Schultz has discussed the nuts and bolts with veterans of both Democratic and Republican presidential campaigns. People familiar with those discussions tell me, they're detailed and they are serious. Keep an eye on that one.
That's it for INSIDE POLITICS. Again, thanks for sharing your Sunday morning.
Hope you can catch us weekdays as well. We're here at noon eastern.
Don't go anywhere. Up next, "STATE OF THE UNION WITH JAKE TAPPER". Jake's guests include the Republican Senator Marco Rubio and the Democratic presidential hopeful Julian Castro.
Have a great Sunday.
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