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NEW DAY SUNDAY
Millions of Workers, Both Federal Employees and Federal Contractors Will Return to Their Jobs; Roger Stone Facing a Judge on Tuesday in D.C., is Set to be Arraigned on Multiple Charges Including Witness Tampering, Lying, Obstruction; Police Say a Man in Louisiana Killed His Parents, His Pirlfriend, and Her Parents. Aired 6-7a ET
Aired January 27, 2019 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If we don't get a fair deal from Congress, the government will either shut down on February 15th again --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But even though we are opening the government back up as temporarily, you're kicking the can down the road. We are trying to plan and live our lives.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's going to happen. It's going to shut down again. There's no doubt in my mind.
ROGER STONE, TRUMP ASSOCIATE: 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. There is still no evidence, whatsoever, that I had advanced knowledge of the topic, the subject, or the source of the WikiLeaks disclosures.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The dramatic, someone said a ludicrous arrest of long time Trump associate Roger Stone.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What a fun couple of days. I'm loving the ride. Go Nixon.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: This is "New Day" weekend with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, ANCHOR, CNN: Happy new day to you. Tomorrow, millions workers, both the Federal employees and those Federal contractors will return to their jobs. This of course is after the end of the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, but there is still a lot of uncertainty.
CHRISTI PAUL, ANCHOR, CNN: Yes, the government reopened, of course, Friday night after President Trump very quickly and quietly signed the bill, but didn't include $5 billion in funding for his border wall. The bill only keeps the government open through February 15th. CNN White House reporter Sarah Westwood is with us now.
So Sarah, we understand this morning that there are concerns, we could be in this mess again in three weeks?
SARAH WESTWOOD, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, CNN: That's right, Christi. A lot of uncertainty facing these thousands of Federal workers who will be going back to work this week because President Trump has made clear that at the end of this three-week negotiating period, he is still going to make a play for his border wall one way or another whether that's letting funding for the government lapse again or whether that's declaring a national emergency to try to tap into existing Federal funds, President Trump is trying to spin this concession as something other than him caving to Speaker Pelosi's demands.
Meanwhile, White House aides are beset by this pervasive sense of defeat that President Trump wasted more than a month of a finite Presidency focusing on a border wall fight that was doomed from the outset.
In fact, acting Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney, sources tell CNN, had tried to get the President to focus what is next in terms of his domestic agenda, whether he was moving on to drug pricing or the infrastructure.
But the President remains singularly focused on his wall throughout the 35 days of the shutdown and he has very little to show for it. And because of that, that is why there are concerns that the President might put the country back in this kind of mess in three weeks, particularly as he watches the backlash from Conservatives, from Republicans, his own supporters who are unhappy that he gave up his fight without border wall money, with no talks with Congressional leaders on the calendar. It is not clear he is getting his border money, at least legislatively at the end of negotiating period -- Victor and Christi.
PAUL: All right. Sarah Westwood, thank you so much for the update.
BLACKWELL: So let's explore that with CNN political analyst Julian Zelizer and Siraj Hashmi, commentary writer and editor for the "Washington Examiner." Gentlemen, welcome back.
JULIAN ZELIZERM, POLITICAL ANALYST, CNN: Good morning.
SIRAJ HASHMI, COMMENTARY WRITHER AND EDITOR, WASHINGTON EXAMINER: Hey, good morning.
BLACKWELL: All rights, so Julian, let me start here with this fascinating piece from Dana Bash, Jim Acosta and Kevin Liptak on cnn.com that explores that wasted month that Sarah Westwood was just talking about and despondent White House aides.
Now, you remember at the start, early on in the shutdown, there was this retreat. Mick Mulvaney took senior White House aides to Camp David to talk about legislative goals for 2019. How has this shutdown, this month and maybe the next few weeks as they try to get to a border deal impacted what the White House at all this year?
Well, there is nothing more valuable in politics than time and he just gave away a lot of time on a cause that did not come together and it's going to be very hard for him to now move to some big initiative.
And at the same time, there was a big political cost for how the shutdown unfolded. His popularity fell even further. And you saw a lot of concern and upset within the Republican caucus on Capitol Hill which, thus far, has stood by the President pretty solidly.
So comes out much weaker and he was already a weak position with much less ability to move forward on any kind of grand initiative.
BLACKWELL: Siraj, an adviser to the President that told our White House team there that the cave, meaning President Trump's cave on getting money for the wall is actually a grave for Stephen Miller's policy.
BLACKWELL: Stephen Miller is the hard liner on immigration who pushed for the zero tolerance policy that split families earlier this - actually last year, the travel ban. Do you believe that? That this means the end for his level of influence in the White House?
HASHMI: It could be. I mean, what we saw, at least from our reporting around "POLITICO" and "The New York Times" is that Jared Kushner's actual influence within the White House is growing while Stephen Miller's is shrinking. And what we saw with at least, the shutdown deal is that according to a lot of the reports that Kushner was the one who pushed President Trump to at least capitulate with Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and the TSA, obviously. The deal with airports and obviously, a lot of passengers not being able to get through airports - that really just broke their backs.
So with respect to the border wall fight, in the next three weeks, Jared Kushner probably will have a lot of influence going into the next February 15th deadline and it's going to be a huge, huge deal, because while Trump looks like he lost here, he did lose the battle, but he didn't lose the war. There definitely is a way out for him. So I wouldn't say it's the absolute worst day of his Presidency, but it is close there.
BLACKWELL: Okay, let me talk about this. You talked about the airports and the ground stop at La Guardia, the delays at airports across the country. Julian, you wrote about this in your latest piece for cnn.com. Let's put up a portion here. You wrote that, "As the pain of having no government becomes clear, people usually become unhappy. Most Republicans remember this from the shutdowns in '95 through '96 and 2013. Pelosi certainly did. Trump did not and now, he is paying the price."
Now - but Mick Mulvaney, his acting Chief of Staff certainly remembered that. The Vice President, Mike Pence who was in the House the last time that Speaker Pelosi was speaker, he certainly remembered that, right? So compare those two -- the President's, I guess, lack of experience, this being his first government job -- but having two House veterans there next to him? ZELIZER: Well, it's lack of experience and unwillingness to listen
what has happened before. So the veterans, they are still relatively new veterans, but for sure, the veterans on Capitol Hill understood from the start, this is a losing proposition. The reason government shutdowns don't work is most often, once people see what government does and what they don't have, they get upset because people count on those government services.
So I don't know if the advisers around the President were either being quiet or more likely, the President doesn't really care, he doesn't care about what his advisers say. He has a very clear vision of what he wants to do and it's often not a politically sound decision and that is what happened.
As soon as people really started feeling the effects, Republicans on the Hill were hearing about it from government workers, finally to airports closing down. If the government shuts down again in a few weeks, the same story will play out. It happens each time we do this.
BLACKWELL: So let's look across the next few weeks. Let's look ahead now, Siraj. Any expectation that the Democrats who are now emboldened by their - as you say, their battle victory here will be willing to agree in this conference committee to funding any of the border wall?
HASHMI: That's a good question, Victor because right now there is zero incentives for Democrats to cave on anything given what they just saw on Friday, because President Trump caving on an issue that was a central theme of his campaign -- build the wall -- him not getting any funding or additional funding for the border wall is huge for the Democrats. And they are just going to be obstructionists on this.
It might hurt them in the polls. But as we saw, at least with President Trump, it hurts him more to cave to the Democrats.
BLACKWELL: So Julian, if the President does not get out of this conference committee another dollar for a border barrier, steel slats, wall, whatever the decision is, you've got the two options he talked about at the end of the Rose Garden speech, either going with potentially the national emergency, which his advisers and White House lawyers and some of Congressional Republicans have discouraged, but there is also the potential to shut down the government again.
Do you think, especially Senate Republicans will allow that? Will endure that in three weeks' time?
ZELIZER: I think the second time around, you might see Republicans join Democrats in a spending bill with the numbers to override a veto. Maybe I'm wrong, but there is going to be a lot of pressure on Republicans not to put the party through another round of a political battle that is just really costing them support at a critical moment as we are starting to think of the next election.
The national emergency power is going to be very tempting, meaning let the President do it and let him have that fight. He won't win it, but at least it kind of moved the battle into a different arena and they could move on to something else. BLACKWELL: Siraj, let me ask you. I'm admitting now, I am asking you
BLACKWELL: The State of the Union was initially - originally scheduled before this shutdown to happen on Tuesday. That is not happening now. Do you expect the President will be quiet on that day? Are you expecting we are going to hear from him?
HASHMI: No, I think the one thing President Trump, at least, has in his back pocket is to rail against obstructionist Democrats for not coming to the table, at least for the 30 plus days to negotiate for funding for the border wall. You know, if there is anything that President Trump is good at doing, it's spinning the message in his favor and whether he is going to be tweeting about it or saying it in speeches, the State of the Union really would be his opportunity to rail against Democrats to their face.
BLACKWELL: Siraj, you've characterized Democrats as obstructionist Democrats, at least twice that I've heard now in this conversation. Public polling shows that the American people don't want a wall, don't want billions of dollars to go to a barrier. So are they obstructionists or are they executing a plan that supports what their constituents want and don't want?
HASHMI: Well, that's the thing. President Trump calls them obstructionists and I'm sort of just using his language right there, because Republicans as well have been obstructionists as well, but he is not going to rail against his own party.
I mean, if he was actually trying to get something done on the border wall, he would have done it when he had a majority in Congress and the House and Senate. He just wasn't able to get it done.
BLACKWELL: Yes, that is what Jim Jordan said when that first continuing resolution came out in December, tweeting out, "You really think it's likely we're going to get it when Nancy Pelosi becomes Speaker," we've got the answer to that at Chapter 1 at least. Siraj Hashmi and Julian Zelizer. Thank you both.
ZELIZER: Thank you.
HASHMI: Thank you.
BLACKWELL: All right, coming up this morning on "State of the Union," Jake Tapper talks with Senator Marco Rubio, Democratic Presidential candidate Julian Castro starts at 9:00 Eastern right here on CNN.
PAUL: So in just a couple of days, Roger Stone is going to make his second appearance in court, and he vows that he is not going to testify against the President, but our legal expert, Joey Jackson says a conviction is likely particularly if one thing happens.
BLACKWELL: Plus, a Louisiana Sheriff says, it is one of the worst domestic violence cases he has seen in a while. Authorities are searching right now for a 21-year-old man who they say killed his family, his girlfriend, and her family.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVE MARTIN, AMERICAN ACTOR, PLAYING AS ROGER STONE IN SNL: The whole experience was so harrowing, and afterwards, I can only manage one radio interview and a speech from the steps of the courthouse and two appearances on television. It's horrible.
ALEX MOFFAT, AMERICAN COMEDIAN, PLAYING AS TUCKER CARLSON IN SNL Thank you for your time, Mr. Stone.
MARTIN: Pardon me?
MOFFAT: I said thank you.
MARTIN: Oh, no. I thought that wasn't a question. I was stating that to the President. Pardon me.
PAUL: Oh, you wondered who it was going to be. Of course, Steve Martin returning to "SNL" last night taking on the role of longtime Donald Trump associate, Roger Stone. Stone of course, facing a judge on Tuesday in D.C. He is set to be arraigned on multiple charges including witness tampering, lying, obstruction. Stone denies the charges, calling them politically motivated and says he plans to plead not guilty.
That indictment, by the way, draws the clearest link we have seen between the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks, and now, President Trump is attempting to distance himself from Stone, it seems. In part, quoting, "Roger Stone didn't work for me anywhere near the election."
CNN legal analyst, Joey Jackson, with us now. Joey, always good to have you here. You wrote an op-ed for CNN. And you said this indictment doesn't just speak, it sings. What do you mean by that?
JOEY JACKSON, LEGAL ANALYST, CNN: Well, first, good morning, Christi. "Saturday Night Live" always has a way to put things in perspective to put them in a humorous context. Of course, in reality, this is not so humorous at all. You know, speaking of indictment by us in the legal community is really meant to establish that an indictment is a narrative.
An indictment itself is merely an accusation. You go before a grand jury, a grand jury has 23 people and they are not deciding guilt or innocence, they are just deciding whether there is reasonable cause to believe that a crime was committed and that x-person, in this case, Roger Stone committed it. And in doing that, they lay out a narrative as to what those facts are
and what they think they can prove. When it tells a story, it's a speaking indictment. This boy doesn't tell a story. And so in that regard, it's not speaking, it's singing as to the nature of what the prosecutors believe is his guilt, Christi and that guilt is laid out in a narrative in multiple respects as it relates to him obstructing the proceedings when he testified before Congress, as it relates to the multiple lies that he told Congress, as it relates it to witness tampering, as it relates to his conduct with members of the top officials of the Trump campaign, and so there is a lot packed within here and I don't necessarily believe that it is very difficult for a prosecutor to prove the allegations contained therein.
PAUL: Yes, you're right - that he is facing almost certain conviction if the evidence outline is accurate. There is an article in "News Week" this morning. Former CIA Director, John Brennan said this in this article, "I think the shoes that are yet to drop are going to be the ones that are going to be most profound and that will hit the people at the top of the organization - the Trump campaign - people that he believes the American public knows very well or is very familiar with."
Do you see more indictments coming and who do you see could be targeted? I mean, when he says people that we already know, is he talking about Donald Trump, Jr.?
JACKSON: Well, you know, Christi, I always hate to speculate as to what the Special Counsel is doing. I don't want to be irresponsible. But I will say this, I will say that, you know, prosecutors have to be tremendous leverage and the leverage they have, they apply to people because we can all bluster, Stone is blustered, "I'll never bear false witness against this President." "I'll never be induced into lying about things that are not true."
JACKSON: We've heard Manafort, defiant. He goes to trial, oh, now all of a sudden, he wants to cooperate. We have heard of course, Michael Cohen, "I'll take a bullet for the President," and he flips and he is telling all.
And so ultimately, what happens is, is that by getting this indictment out there, and by getting Roger Stone and you talked initially about how this is the closest connection to the Trump campaign yet, it lays it out. He was communicating with members of the Trump campaign. You've got damaging e-mails coming out by WikiLeaks and now you've got him.
And when he is in the barrel, right, he was talking about Podesta, Hillary being in the barrel and now he's in the barrel, to what extent could you gain his cooperation? It seems unlikely now, but moving forward, when the pressure is applied and you're 64 years young and you're facing multiple years in jail, who else will you tell on? Could it be Don Jr. or could it be someone else? We won't know, we won't guess. But I could tell you this that there will be another shoe dropping, I
firmly believe there will be additional indictments and as to the connection and the collusion, it's yet to be seen but it may very well exist. We don't yet know.
PAUL: So court documents, at the end of the day, right now, for Stone, the court documents help him to some degree, don't they? Because now, he understands the charges. He and his lawyers know what he is facing. Does that help him? And I mean, if you had to defend him, what would you do? How would you do it?
JACKSON: Well, you know, Christi, it depends upon what we mean by "help him" because this indictment buries him.
JACKSON: It buries him in as much as --
PAUL: But he knows how to fight it, I guess.
JACKSON: You know have to establish -- exactly, and I'm getting to that, right? Which is, of course, your point. Now he knows how to fight it. But it buries him in as much as he can say all he wants that it doesn't establish collusion at all, it doesn't establish any involvement with the Trump campaign. It doesn't matter.
What establishes is that, you were called before the House Committee and you were responding to questions that were asked of you, you were asked clearly multiple questions and you gave multiple wrong answers as to intermediaries, as to possession of documents, you know.
As to what you knew, when you knew it, and so, the reality is that, it does help, in as much as it now applies that pressure on him. What can he say in terms of his defenses? I was misunderstood. I was taken out of context. Certainly, I had no intention at all to give false evidence or information, I was basing my answers on the recollection that I had at that particular time.
You were asking me questions that are immaterial to the ultimate question of collusion and therefore, to the extent that they are immaterial and not probative and relevant, how could I be deemed a criminal, right?
But we have this saying in law, Christi, and what it is, is as follows and it is said often times. When the facts are on your side, argue the facts. When the law is on your side, argue the law. When neither are on your side, you pound the table.
And so what I am expecting is a lot of the pounding of the table if he is moving forward. Special Counsel and investigation is flawed. This is politically motivated and you know, it could garner some sympathy, but at the end of the day, how far does that take you? I don't think it takes him very far.
PAUL: And Joey, I have heard - I only have a couple of seconds left. But one of the things that I realized in listening to what he is saying, he says a lot of "There is no evidence." But I don't hear him saying, "I did not do this."
JACKSON: You know, it's very interesting, Christi, because that is a critical point and it's a critical distinction. You said it all, right? He is not saying he didn't do it. He is saying there is no evidence. But there is a ton of evidence as it relates to what he says that he didn't have possession of documents that the FBI now has, the intermediaries he uses, there is two, he said one; direct contacts with WikiLeaks.
There is a ton of information as to him lying and then, of course, Christi, know you've got to go, but when he says, you know, to - Corsi, in terms of the informant, he is talking to him about "Don't say anything, plead the fifth. Get your story in line with mine."
Of course, he is telling him, "Just tell the truth. You were the one who got yourself in here," and that is what we call witness tampering and that is pretty compelling.
PAUL: All right, Joey Jackson, you've got a lot in there for us today. Thank you, sir. Good to see you as always.
JACKSON: Always, have a great day, Christi.
PAUL: You, too.
BLACKWELL: Police say a man in Louisiana killed his parents, his girlfriend, and her parents. And now, they don't know where he is. We've got the latest on this huge manhunt coming up.
Plus, what do you get when you take bone chilling temperatures? I'm talking so, so cold. Add some snow and then add even colder temperatures. You get a disaster. Look at this. We will talk about this in a moment.
PAUL: Twenty eight minutes past the hour right now. So glad to have you here. I'm Christi Paul.
BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good to be with you. Deputies in Louisiana right now are searching right now for a man. This 21-year- old they say killed five people near Baton Rouge yesterday.
PAUL: We know that his name is Dakota Theriot. Police say he killed his girlfriend, her father and her brother and then, killed his own parents. Here is CNN correspondent Kaylee Hartung.
KAYLEE HARTUNG, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Victor and Christi, Saturday morning, Elizabeth and Keith Theriot were shot in their home. When police responded, they were able to identify their 21-year-old son, Dakota Theriot as the man who shot them, husband and wife both later died in the hospital in Baton Rouge. Now, as the Ascension Parish authorities begin a manhunt for the
killer of two, in the meantime, authorities in neighboring Livingston Parish began an investigation after they found three family members murdered in their home, Billy Summer and Tanner Ernest.
And once the two agencies spoke to one other, they realized they were looking for the same man, Dakota Theriot, as Dakota is believed to have had a relationship with one member of the Ernest family.
Authorities say they do not believe he is still in that area of Louisiana. They have reason to believe he is headed east towards Mississippi and they have shared this photo of the pickup truck they think he is driving, stolen from the Ernest family. You see this 2004 gray Dodge Ram pickup truck. It has a Louisiana license plate number, C583809. Here is more from the Ascension Parish sheriff.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOBBY WEBRE, ASCENSION PARISH SHERIFF: The good news is we know who did this and we will soon find this person and put him in jail where he belongs. This is probably, I would say, one of the worst domestic incidents I've seen in quite a while, you know, for a young man to walk into a bedroom and kill his mother and his father and then kill friends in Livingston that he had a connection with.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARTUNG: The sheriff went on to say he believes this is an isolated incident. He doesn't believe anybody else is a target for murder by Dakota Theriot, but he is armed and dangerous. So, Victor and Christi - that means anyone he comes in contact with could be a target.
CHRISTI PAUL, ANCHOR, CNN: Kaylee Hartung, thank you so much. All right, look at that mess. I hope you are not in it, but there are 30 million people across the country who are under winter weather alerts because of weather like this. Some in the Midwest. You're going to see a foot and a half of snow just between today and tomorrow.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, ANCHOR, CNN: So then there is this cold blast expected to hit parts of the Midwest and the Northeast, and this week, both Minneapolis and Chicago, listen to this - their high temperatures, we are not accounting for wind here. The high temperatures in Minneapolis and Chicago expected to be in the negative teens.
PAUL: Look at that girl. Cover my face. I've got to cover my face. It's too cold.
BLACKWELL: Why does my face hurt? CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar is tracking the system from the CNN weather center. Listen, we're talking about these temperatures, but this is dangerous.
ALLISON CHINCHAR, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It is, it is. At those kinds of temperatures, even without the wind chill, you can have frostbites incredibly quickly, but you are going to have the wind to factor in, too. And we also have snow to factor in as well.
Right now, the snow is mainly focused over the northeast. Cities like Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Syracuse, Albany getting the snow right now, but it's the next system we all have our eyes on. This is the one that is going to be coming down from Canada pushing into areas of the Midwest. This is where we have blizzard warnings and winter storm warnings and things like that.
Here is a look at that system as it really starts to push in later on today. It will be rain on the southern end, so places like Kansas City and St. Louis, but look at places like Chicago, Green Bay. You are not just going to get a little snow, you're going to get a lot of snow, even though this system is actually a very fast moving system, widespread amounts across the Midwest about four to eight inches, but there will be some spots where you see that pink that will pick up well over a foot of snow before this system finally pushes out.
The other thing to note, it's not just for the Midwest. Snow is actually expected to stretch into the Deep South, states like Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, even Tennessee have the potential to get some snow out of this system before it finally pushes out. When it does push out, it's going to bring incredibly cold air along that back side.
So cold, places in Florida are actually expected to get below freezing. However, the hardest hit area is going certainly the Midwest. Take, for example, Chicago. Here is a look at the seven-day forecast. The average is 31. You've only got two out of the next seven days that are going to be spent above that mark. But we will more than make up for it in the middle portion of the week.
Again, that high temperature on Wednesday, minus 15. Keep in mind, with the wind, it's not even going to feel that warm. Also, to put something into perspective here for Chicago. That high we just talked about of minus 15, in the last 20 years, we have only had two other days, Victor and Christi, where the temperature in the high temperature has actually gotten below zero.
So that just goes to show you that even for a cold place like Chicago, this is incredibly rare.
PAUL: And that is brutal. It's like pins hitting your face.
BLACKWELL: Yes, your eyelids freeze. Allison Chinchar, thanks so much.
New developments from that dam collapse. Have you seen this video? This is a Brazilian iron mine, doing a press conference. Officials said that - they, the company that manages the mine is responsible for the collapse.
Now, the exact cause is still under investigation and the extent of the damage is still unknown. But look at this, I mean, digging people out of this muck. At least 34 people were killed in the incident; hundreds more are still missing. PAUL: A Venezuelan military effect has publicly defected from
President Nicolas Maduro and put his full support behind opposition leader, Juan Guiado.
In a video on social media, Colonel Jose Silva said he supports, quote, "Ceasing the usurpation of the executive power and beginning a transition to a new government." That led the Venezuelan Defense Ministry to put out this critical tweet labeling Silva a traitor.
BLACKWELL: At least people are dead, dozens others wounded after two bombs ripped through a Roman Catholic Church in the Southern Philippines. According to officials, the first device went off inside the Cathedral and then the second one targeted soldiers who rushed in to help the victims of the first explosion. No one has taken responsibility for the blast yet.
BLACKWELL: But the area is home to several Islamist militant groups which have been blamed for past attacks.
PAUL: Now, for the first time since he was pulled from his Committee assignments after making some racially insensitive remarks, Iowa Congressman Steve King faces his constituents. He talks about what he said. We will tell you.
PAUL: Thirty nine minutes past the hour right now and in just a few weeks, Congressman Steve King's political career seems to have gone south. He allegedly defended white supremacy. He has been criticized by his own party leaders and stripped of his Committee positions in Congress.
BLACKWELL: But despite all of that, at a town hall in Iowa, the Republican said he is not racist. CNN's Sara Sidner has details.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
STEVE KING, U.S. REPRESENTATIVE, IOWA, REPUBLICAN: First of all, the biggest subject that is before us, all that some might refer to as the elephant in the room, is a situation of a "New York Times" quote.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SARA SIDNER, INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN (voice over): A quote that his own party thought was so racist they stripped Congressman Steve King of his Congressional Committee assignments. In it he says, "White nationalist, white supremacists, western civilization - how did that language become offensive? Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our his3tory and our civilization?"
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KING: He chose those words and punctuated them the way he did. But
what I was addressing was not those terms of white supremacy or white nationalism, but when I said why did that language become offensive? I was speaking exclusively and directly about western civilization. They are denigrating western civilization today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SIDNER (voice over): King spoke to his constituents in Primghar, Iowa - his first town hall since the controversy. Primghar's claim to fame, the only place in the world named Primghar. It is the town with a mayor, but no stop light; an elementary school, but no high school; a place small enough where most residents know each other by name.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KURT EDWARDS, MAYOR OF PRIMGHAR, IOWA: You know, I didn't even know he was coming until earlier this week, they announced it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SIDNER (voice over): King also gave his Twitter followers a five- minute warning, that he'll be starting a potentially volatile town hall in Primghar, Iowa. He then walked into what turned out to be a very warm reception.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Thank you. Wow.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We love your conservatism and we pray that they never silence you.
(END VIDEO CLIP) 333333333
SIDNER (voice over): One adoring constituent praised him and said she is bothered by what she called reverse racism. King agreed and then pivots.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAMELA HARRMANN, CONSTITUENT: And one of the things that I was bothered by when you had this problem was the reverse racism towards the white European man that is found in this country and that is the values that we are built on. We have to be embarrassed to say any more, that we are of white European background and I think that is wrong and I think we need to push back, and I think we need to take a stand with the words racism and --
KING: We can do the things that you've described and we can, at the same time, embrace everything that Dr. Martin Luther King taught us all at the same time and if we had stuck with his vision, we wouldn't be in the place we are in today and the society in this country.
SIDNER (voice over): There were a few frustrations expressed. One constituent asking for help invigorating her small town's economy. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNE, CONSTITUENT: What are you tangibly going to do in Congress, fight for us? Advocate for us? Any tangible actions?
KING: Would you give me a tangible recommendation?
ANN: I don't know. I am just so frustrated.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SIDNER (voice over): Another gentleman asking how the Congress then plans to help the lack of visas for migrant workers to help work the farms.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LOWEL WILSON, CONSTITUENT: What are you doing to help the temporary Ag worker program?
KING: Until we can secure our border, we are not going to be able to have a constructive dialogue on the balance of this, but I will support a bonded program and a bonded program that is hopefully, tailored to meet some of these labor needs that we have.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SIDNER (voice over): Not a single person asked about his prior racist comments, but when we asked what his constituents thought about his comments, we got an earful.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SIDNER (on camera): Are you concerned that you have a Congressman who is racist?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I do have a congressman who is racist. I was concerned about it during the whole last election cycle. That's why I worked hard for his opponent JD Scholten because I know my Congressman is a racist.
KELLY O'BRIEN, CHAIRMAN, O'BRIEN COUNTY REPUBLICAN PARTY: He is a good Christian man. If he was a racist, I wouldn't be his friend. I'm not a racist. I have relatives, brother-in-laws, nieces, nephews that are black, okay?
SIDNER: But you do realize that that language, "I have a friend that is black, I have a family member that is black," a lot of people see that as somebody who is trying to cover up racist beliefs?
O'BRIEN: Just you saying that makes - as far as I'm concerned makes you racist.
SIDNER: Trust me, I am not.
O'BRIEN: You thinking I'm a racist because I am white. SIDNER: No, I am just telling you that some of the language that
you're using and some of the language of Congressman King has used --
O'BRIEN: I think the language you're using is racist.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SIDNER (voice over): King didn't hang around to answer that question or any others from reporters.
SIDNER (on camera): And when you talk about "they" and civilization making a problem, who do you mean by "they"?
KING: I have just got to go. I am sorry. But let me close the door, please.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
PAUL: And our thanks to CNN's Sara Sidner, who obviously was there in Iowa.
BLACKWELL: Excuse me, it's a story that will leave you a bit confused, asking for some answers, three complete strangers who found out 19 years later that they were all separated at birth. I sat down with the director of the CNN film, "Three Identical Strangers." You're going to want to see this.
BLACKWELL: So imagine walking down the street, picking up a newspaper, opening a front door, discovering someone who looks just like you. What would you do with that? The all new CNN original film "Three Identical Strangers" dives deep into the surreal story of triplets separated at birth who reunited with each other by chance here at the age of 19. Here is a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
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 turned the corner one day and you saw yourself?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my God.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wow.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The first time that the boys met, the three together, it was a miracle. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was nothing that can keep us apart.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That is 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: The parents have never been told.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are trying to conceal what they did from the people they did it to.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's still so much that we don't know.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How could you not tell us?
33(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Joining us now is the director of "Three Identical Strangers" Tim Wardle. Tim, I've seen the film. It is fantastic. Thank you for being with us. First, tell us how you heard about these triplets and what you hope to accomplish with this film?
TIM WARDLE, DIRECTOR, THREE IDENTICAL STRANGERS: I first heard about the story of the triplets, a producer brought it into the production company that I was working at, brought the idea in and instantly I could see, it was just an extraordinary story, a great human interest story, but also had these layers where it enabled you to explore deeper, kind of philosophical questions about nature versus nurture; free will and destiny, and also at its heart has a real injustice that had never really been addressed in almost six decades.
BLACKWELL: I want to get through with the injustice that you're describing in just a moment, but first, I don't want to give too much away because there are turns every couple of minutes in this story, but I think this one is answered in the first five or ten minutes. How did they find each other?
WARDLE: Well, it was rather extraordinary. In 1980, a 19-year-old student called Robert Shafran turned up at college for his first day at college in quite an obscure school in upstate New York, and he turned up for the first day and everyone greeted him like he had been there for many years, you know, like they knew him already.
People were hugging him and kissing him and slapping him on the back and he had never been there before. And very quickly, he and some other students were able to work out that he was very, very similar to a student, Eddie Galland had been at the same college the previous year.
They eventually tracked down Eddie; and Robert and Eddie were reunited and it turned out they were - well, everyone thought they were twins. And then their story made the papers and the very next day they got a call from someone saying, "I've just seen your picture in the paper and I think I might be the third. I think you're not twins, we are triplets."
BLACKWELL: And the story is off from there. You talked about this injustice. There is really a serious investigation at the center of this as well. How was this able to be able to have been covered up or kept secret for so long?
WARDLE: It's a bit of a mystery, to be honest. I mean, the people involved in the separation of the brothers were very powerful individuals. They had connections, particularly on the East Coast, and I think they managed to kind of suppress anyone looking into this. We certainly found evidence while we were making the film that a couple of attempts by major U.S. networks in the '80s and '90s were definitely shut down after pressure from some of the individuals involved in the brothers' separation.
BLACKWELL: And we know that there had been other pairs of twins that had been reunited that were adopted through the same agency since this film. The film is "Three Identical Strangers." Tim Wardle, the director, thank you so much. It's fantastic. Thanks for being with us this morning.
WARDLE: Thanks, Victor.
BLACKWELL: And be sure to tune into the award-winning CNN film "Three Identical Strangers" that premieres tonight 9:00 Eastern right here on CNN.
PAUL: So hundreds of thousands of government workers are finally going to get back to work this week, but there are a lot of questions moving into this.
BLACKWELL: Yes, could they be furloughed again in now fewer than three weeks? We will have the very latest from the White House at the top of the hour.
BLACKWELL: Hey, you want to hear a corny riddle? No choice. How do you get the Lombardi trophy to Atlanta ahead of next week's Super Bowl?
PAUL: It turns out you deliver it by a "bus."
BLACKWELL: That was good. Here is why.
PAUL: Legendary Pittsburgh Steelers running back, Jerome "The Bus" Bettis delivered the trophy that will be presented to the winner of the NFL championship in Atlanta here on Saturday. Look, you have got to wear the gloves.
BLACKWELL: Yes, be careful with that.
PAUL: Can't get any fingerprints on that.
BLACKWELL: No fingerprints.
PAUL: Bettis started his career with the Los Angeles Rams back in 1993. The Rams and the Patriots square off in Super Bowl 53 on Sunday, I know you're getting ready.
BLACWELL: So the government is open again, but that did not stop "Saturday Night Live" from doing one more round of shutdown jokes last night.
PAUL: Remember the interview this past week with Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross? Well, the billionaire investor said that he didn't quite understand why Federal workers wouldn't just take out loans to cover their missed paychecks. Here is "Saturday Night Live's" take.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEX MOFFAT, AMERICAN COMEDIAN, PLAYING AS TUCKER CARLSON IN SNL: Wilbur, earlier this week, you said that you didn't understand why furloughed government workers needed food assistance because they could just, quote, "take out low interest loans instead."
KATE MCKINNON, AMERICAN COMEDIAN, PLAYING WILBUR ROSS IN SNL: Well, that was silly of me. I simply meant that there are other ways of getting money. Plus, they could have liquidated some of their stocks or sold one of their paintings. I mean, even if they sold the last of Picasso, they are still going to get you through a week or two of yacht maintenance.
MOFFAT: I still that comes across as insensitive to people living paycheck to paycheck.
MCKINNON: No, no. All I meant was that ...