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Race to Replace Trump; Harris Launches Bid; Trump on Wall Deal; Stone Won't Cut Deal. Aired 1-1:30p ET

Aired January 28, 2019 - 13:00   ET


[13:00:00] JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Appreciate it, both gentlemen.

Thanks for joining us on INSIDE POLITICS today. Hope to see you back here this time tomorrow.

Don't go anywhere. A lot of breaking news today. Brianna Keilar starts right now.

Have a good day.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Brianna Keilar, live from CNN's Washington headquarters.

Underway right now, the Democratic race to replace President Trump is stacking up as a senator impresses and a billionaire gets venti of backlash.

The shutdown, the one that could have been avoided before it began, just cost the U.S. economy $8 billion so far.

Plus, it's 24 hours before he's arraigned, and Roger Stone now says he won't rule out cooperating with Robert Mueller.

And CNN goes undercover in a country gripped by a power crisis, where children starve and soldiers decide which president to back.

The 2020 presidential election may still be 645 days away -- who's counting, right -- but Democrats are already jumping in the race to replace President Trump and an even longer list of potentials are still considering a run.

We have Ryan Nobles telling us who's in, who's still deciding here?

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Brianna, and it's still more than a year before even the primary process starts and already the field is starting to fill out.

Let's look at just the Democrats right now. And this is who has officially launched their campaign. Of course Senator Kamala Harris from California, a big splash over the weekend. Former HUD Secretary Julian Castro. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii is going to formally announce her campaign next weekend. And then two kind of longshots here, Andrew Yang, who is an entrepreneur, and John Delaney, former congressman from Maryland. Let's expand the field a little bit now and talk about folks who have formed exploratory committees and they're essentially already in at this point. The mayor of South Bend, Pete Buttigieg, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, she's considered a serious contender, and, of course, Elizabeth Warren, the progressive senator from Massachusetts.

But this list is only going to grow. And take a look at this big list of folks that we have who are seriously considering a run for president. There's a lot of big names on there. Of course, Senator Bernie Sanders. His announcement could come very soon. He was in the race, of course, in 2016. Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey. He's already staffing up, hiring people, getting them on the ground in some of these key states like Iowa. Joe Biden, the former vice president, he's been traveling the country. He's talking about it in a big way as well. John Hickenlooper, the former governor of Colorado, he was in Iowa over the weekend. He's also considering a run. Michael Bloomberg, former mayor of New York City. Terry McAuliffe. And, of course, Beto O'Rourke, the former congressman from Texas who gave Ted Cruz a scare.

Of course, Brianna, these are only the Democrats and you see how big this field is already. You're going to talk about Howard Schultz potentially getting in the race, the Starbucks's CEO. Of course, there's also some Republicans mulling a challenge to President Trump. But put it this way, Brianna, before the dust is settled, a lot of people are going to be calling themselves candidates for president.

KEILAR: Before the dust is settled, you're going to need a bigger wall, Ryan Nobles.

Thanks, Ryan.

Senator Kamala Harris officially launching her presidential run in her hometown of Oakland, California, with a huge rally, complete with musical performances and thousands of people chanting her name where she laid out her version for the country and she covered a lot of ground in her speech.


SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When we have leaders who bully and attack a free press and undermine our Democratic institutions, that's not our America.

We must seek truth, speak truth, and fight for the truth.

We will deliver the largest working and middle class tax cut in a generation.

Climate change is real and it is happening now.

From mass incarceration, to cash bail, to policing, our criminal justice system needs drastic repair.

We will secure our elections and our critical infrastructure to protect our democracy.

And health care is a fundamental right and we will deliver that right with Medicare for all.

Education is a fundamental right.

We will guarantee that right with universal pre-pay and debt-free college.

And, folks, on the subject of trasn-national gangs, let's be perfectly clear, the president's medieval vanity project is not going to stop them.


KEILAR: Harris is participating in a CNN town hall tonight in Iowa.

And CNN political director David Chalian is there for that.

So, David, as far as rollouts go, how did this one compare?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: It's been pretty successful. You know, it seems that Senator Harris has had a team, including herself, who's given some thought to this because we're a week into this rollout, Brianna. She was on "Good Morning America" last Monday. She followed that up immediately with a press conference at her alma mater, at Howard University. She's already made a trip to South Carolina. Back at home, in Oakland, in front of a big crowd, laying out the big vision speech for her announcement. And now, as you said, tonight, coming here to Iowa, that critical first in the nation state in this process, to interact with Iowa caucus goers.

[13:05:12] KEILAR: And so what are you watching for tonight at the town hall?

CHALIAN: Well, it's just exactly that. We've seen her give the big speech. We've seen her do some interviews. We've seen her talk to the press. But what we haven't really seen too much of yet this cycle -- and obviously we're just getting started in the process -- is her interaction with voters. And so watching how she handles these voters, and you know this better than anyone, Brianna, you spent a lot of time here in Iowa on the presidential campaign trail, they take their role very seriously in vetting these presidential candidates. And so watching how she takes those questions, what her interaction is like with the voters, this is going to be some insight into how she'll be on the trail for this very long road ahead.

KEILAR: Yes, Iowans want someone who can work the living room, not just the stadium, which makes it really fun for us to watch as well. We get to see them so up close and personal.

CHALIAN: That's right.

KEILAR: I want to ask you about Mike Bloomberg, because we just found out he's considering a run as a Democrat. He just released a statement that says, in 2020 the great likelihood is that an independent would just split the anti-Trump vote and end up re-electing the president. That's a risky I refuse to run in 2016 and we can't afford to run it now. There's a lot of Democrats who are sharing the same message when they're talking about the former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz. What are you hearing?

CHALIAN: Yes, I mean, once Howard Schultz made clear over the weekend in a "60 Minutes" interview that he's very seriously considering a run for president as an independent to run against the two party system, it was almost instantaneous, the pushback from Democrats who really thought that that was a mistake if his goal is to not have Donald Trump serve a second term.

Mike Bloomberg referenced 2016 there. That's not only the first time he looked at it. He looked at a presidential race back in 2008 as well, potentially as an independent. This is someone who has studied a path for an independent. And that's why now you hear him being much more interested in perhaps seeking the presidency through the Democratic Party's nomination.

There is some validity to what he's saying. It's unclear, of course, who Schultz would take votes from. But there clearly would --

KEILAR: Oh, no. All right, we lost David's signal from Iowa, just as he was making a very interesting point, unfortunately.

I do want to let you know that our Jake Tapper is hosting that town hall tonight, CNN town hall, with Senator Kamala Harris. You can catch is right here on CNN at 10:00 Eastern.

And the government may be back open, but the damage has already been done. The historic shutdown cost the U.S. economy about $11 billion according to the Congressional Budget Office. $8 billion, I should say. $3 billion of that is never going to be recovered.

And in the meantime, the 800,000 federal workers caught up in the government shutdown are returning to work. But for how long is the question? The pressure is on for this bipartisan group of lawmakers to hammer out a deal on border security and they have less than three weeks to figure out an agreement on one of the most contentious issues in politics. This is such a tall order.

And the president responding basically to that reality, he told "The Wall Street Journal," he's skeptical that negotiators can reach an agreement and another shutdown is certainly an option. He's putting the chances of reaching a deal at less than 50-50.

And we have Peter Nicholas with us. He covers the White House for "The Wall Street Journal." He interviewed the president along with his colleague Christina Peterson.

And the president told you that there's a lot of good people, right? He said there's a lot of very good people on that board. Which I thought was interesting that he used the term "board." But he's talking about this group of 17 negotiators, Republicans and Democrats, in the House and the Senate.

Did you get the sense -- was that him just sort of being complimentary but it was a throw-away, or did you get the sense that he does have faith in these negotiators? PETER NICHOLAS, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, "WALL STREET JOURNAL": I got the

sense that it was really a throw-away. That he's very pessimistic that any deal is going to be reached. His view is that this panel is essentially in thrall of radical Democrats, as he calls them. He says radical Democrats who are essentially controlling this process. And he's not all that optimistic that there will be a deal to his liking.

KEILAR: So, as you saw that from what he was telling you, was he just setting the stage for declaring a national emergency to get the money?

NICHOLAS: Yes, absolutely. He, at one point in our interview, he said, there is a national emergency. There's a national emergency on the border. And it's very serious. So he was certainly saying that he's looking seriously at that option and might invoke it.

KEILAR: And does he seem to understand -- because no doubt that's going to end up with a legal challenge that could actually delay what he wants to do. Does he seem prepared for that?

NICHOLAS: Yes. He was very confident that they would prevail on a legal challenge. He says this is absolutely within his rights and his authority to do it.

However, I've talked to senior White House officials who say they expect the courts would intervene and that would enjoin that immediately. So they're not confident that that strategy is going to work.

KEILAR: You mentioned in your story that Senator Rob Portman says, look, Democrats and Republicans have been talking past each other. He says actually they're kind of -- we're talking about similar things, but Democrats want to call it border security, Republicans want to call it the wall, or the president wants to call it some sort of border.

[13:10:08] NICHOLAS: Right.

KEILAR: Did you get a sense that they could -- that certainly senators or members of Congress believe they can find some common ground and just semantically spin it differently, or no?

NICHOLAS: Well, I asked the president that. I said, would you be open to (INAUDIBLE), for example, you know, just some kind of barrier that's not really a wall. And he said, look, I just want a sturdy, strong physical barrier. So it seems like he's open to that kind of discussion.

KEILAR: He's at physical barrier. That's an important distinction when he told you that.

NICHOLAS: I think that's right. I mean he's not talking about a wall from sea to shining sea, a physical barrier. So it sounds like maybe that's some kind of like climb-down on his part or an attempt to reach some sort of consensus.

KEILAR: He frequently will say he's going to go in some direction, then he hears from the likes of Ann Coulter and he changes his mind.


KEILAR: So you've got some right-wing influencers who are not happy with the fact that he walked away from the shutdown, doesn't have, you know, a nickel for the wall. Ann Coulter called him a wimp. Lou Dobbs is raising questions about him saying he got rolled. How big of a problem does he see that?

NICHOLAS: Ann Coulter's name came up in our interview, and he said, you know, he thinks that she's just upset because he doesn't return her calls. So he didn't seem that worried about it. He mentioned Rush Limbaugh is still supportive. He mentioned Sean Hannity, still supportive. So he thinks that he still has conservatives in his corner.

And -- but he wasn't -- he talked about how Ann Coulter predicted that he would be elected. So he was sort of willing to shrug it off, it sounded like to me.

KEILAR: That -- I mean that's pretty interesting that he --


KEILAR: That he said maybe I haven't called her. That's something that might -- I mean that's not something you're saying if you want to ingratiate yourself with someone. So is --


KEILAR: Is he sort of putting her down there?

NICHOLAS: No. But as you know, Brianna, he's a counter-puncher. And, you know, you insult him, he's going to hit back. And so I think that he might have washed his hands of Ann Coulter, it sounds like. He seemed to be pretty dismissive of her.

KEILAR: It was a very interesting part of your interview.

Peter Nicholas, thank you so much for being with us.

NICHOLAS: Thank you.

KEILAR: Just hours before his arraignment, Roger Stone speaks to the media. Hear what he said about cooperating with Robert Mueller.

Also, the precise moment that President Trump and Jared Kushner thought the, quote, Russia thing ended according to Chris Christie.

And, the president's trillion dollar tax cuts were sold as a way to inspire companies to hire more people, but a new report suggests it didn't at all.


[13:16:48] KEILAR: Just in, we have learned that the FBI rated a third location related to indicted Trump associate Roger Stone, in addition to two of his homes, one in New York and one in Florida. This third location is a storage unit in Florida. And Stone said today he has no intention of cutting a deal with Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Stone spoke with camera crews outside his Ft. Lauderdale home before heading to Washington for his arraignment tomorrow. In a Sunday morning interview, he left the door open to talking with Mueller.

We have our chief political analyst Gloria Borger here, along with April Ryan, she's a CNN political analyst and White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks.

So what do you make, Gloria, and it's hard to sort out, but what do you make of Roger Stone leaving the door open to talking with Mueller also about conversations with the president? That was interesting. Now he's saying, no, no, I won't cut a deal. What do you -- what do you make of all this?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, first of all, I think we have to step back and ask the question about whether the special counsel wants to cut a deal with Roger Stone.

KEILAR: That's a good point.

BORGER: I mean Roger Stone is not exactly the most credible witness that you would want testifying on your behalf, and so I'm not quite clear that the special counsel will be running to Roger Stone and saying, please cooperate with me.

It's clear that they were interested in getting a lot of his recording devices, as you just talked about, and that they want a lot of equipment from him because they want more details, perhaps, of his e- mails, et cetera, et cetera. But whether they want Roger Stone, who has already said I will not bear false witness against the president, I think is kind of an open question. I cannot see Mueller -- I cannot see Mueller asking him to flip.

KEILAR: Yes, because he said to testify against the president.


KEILAR: Basically he would have to lie. That's what Roger Stone is saying.

BORGER: Yes, so, there you go.

KEILAR: We know that he's lied. That's very well laid out in the charging documents.


BORGER: Right.

RYAN: Yes, let's put that on the table. Yes.

KEILAR: What did you make of all of these things we heard from Roger Stone?

RYAN: The back and forth this weekend?


RYAN: Let's go for that.

So I talked to some of my sources and they said, no, it was never about, I'm going to turn. It was about the fact that he's supposedly going to tell the truth. I'm like, wow, for Roger Stone that's a big thing. They said it's about truth versus trying to do a plea deal or anything like that.

And also my source says that they believe that Roger Stone did, you know, what he's accused of doing. So Roger Stone's M.O., even in his own circles, is just what we look and see of him.

Roger Stone is this larger than life person who is a friend of the president. Birds of a feather flock together. They tape people. They have e-mails. They have paper trails. And people -- people in that circle do what that circle does. And we've seen Michael Cohen with tapes. The president -- I mean and I think back to even when President Trump had that back and forth with Comey, James Comey. He said, let's see if there's a tape. And --

KEILAR: There wasn't, or nothing came out.

RYAN: Well, that's what the president said, there wasn't.

KEILAR: Yes, that's right.

RYAN: That's what the president said, that there wasn't.

KEILAR: The president said.

RYAN: But Donald Trump --

KEILAR: I have a feeling (ph) there might be.

RYAN: Right. Donald Trump, who was once a business tycoon, ruthless, they would say, that was his M.O. of taping. And so if he taped, you know, they're going to look to see if there is any corroboration with Michael Cohen's tapes and with Roger Stone's tapes. So we have to wait and see how this plays out, but he doesn't have clean hands. And the best bet is to tell the truth.

[13:20:23] KEILAR: You say he's larger than life. I mean, for sure, right. He's known for hyperbole. And just, for instance, look at his description today of his arrest with the FBI on Friday.


ROGER STONE, TRUMP ASSOCIATE: To storm my house with a greater force than was used to take down bin Laden or El Chapo or Pablo Escobar, to terrorize my wife and my -- and my dogs, it's unconscionable. I would have been more than happy -- they knew I was represented. Had they contacted my attorneys, I would have voluntarily turned myself in. I would have been able to wear a suit and tie for my mugshot. It would have looked a lot better.


KEILAR: OK, the FBI just knocked on his door.

BORGER: Right.

KEILAR: OK. He's saying --

RYAN: And terrorized his dogs, though.

KEILAR: He's saying that they stormed --

BORGER: They didn't.

KEILAR: They stormed the house with the same -- I mean she's likening it to the bin Laden raid.

RYAN: El Chapo, bin Laden.

KEILAR: They knocked on the door. They had a warrant.

BORGER: At one point he said they were polite.

KEILAR: This is just vintage Roger Stone.

BORGER: Didn't he at one point he said they were polite?

RYAN: He did.


KEILAR: He said the -- the agents who were taking him to the courthouse or to be arrested were polite.

RYAN: That's right.

BORGER: Right, and, look, the FBI wants to make sure that, first of all, nobody exits through a back -- through a door. They want to be able to get everything they can get. There is always an element of surprise. If they had notified him in advance, documents could have been destroyed, hard drives could have been -- you know, there's a whole lot of stuff that could have been destroyed. And I think the element of surprise is really important. And they had to have people then, after they took him, go search the house and execute the search warrant. And that doesn't take one person or two people.

RYAN: And Gloria's right about the element of surprise. Just hours prior to the raid, Roger Stone had a gathering at his home with very influential people, according to a source.

KEILAR: Interesting. Very interesting.

RYAN: Yes, it is. KEILAR: Influential people. Are you going to leave us -- leave it at that? Come on.

RYAN: I am -- look, I had to fight just to get that one, so, yes.

KEILAR: All right. OK. What kinds of people?

RYAN: Close to the president.


RYAN: Close. Yes. He had -- he had a gathering at his home hours prior to, and a source that was -- one of the sources said, you know, it's interesting, the FBI was probably watching us when we were in that home.

KEILAR: That is interesting.

BORGER: Could have been.

KEILAR: So we're learning some details about Attorney General Nominee Bill Barr's written answers to questions that are part of the confirmation process. In one answer he says that no one asked him for a promise not to recuse from the Russia investigation and that he's not discussed the possibility of recusal with anyone from the White House. What's your reaction to that, April?

RYAN: You know, the bottom line, you can't depend -- you can't depend on anything from the White House. You know, they'll say one thing one minute, you know, about one thing and another thing if I've got protection or not. But recusal is a big issue, and I think at this moment -- I don't know, you have to watch it play out because the -- how the president reacts about anyone recusing themselves from anything -- I just think right now, I just want to sit and wait about how this recusal plays out because we've seen how it plays out before and, you know, with Jeff Sessions. And let's just see how it all plays out. But recusal is a huge thing in this Trump era.

KEILAR: Indeed.

I want to ask you about Chris Christie's book, because we've -- what we've -- I keep asking you on different days about it. But we've learned something new. And that is that he describes how he and his wife go, they have lunch with President Trump and his son-in-law, adviser, Jared Kushner, the day after Michael Flynn, the national security adviser, has been fired. And Trump says that the Russia issue is over because of the firing, and Kushner agrees with him. He basically parrots that assessment and Chris Christie says that he essentially says, yes, I'm not so sure about that.

BORGER: It's true.

KEILAR: What did you think about this anecdote?

BORGER: Well, it's not surprising given Christie's relationship with Jared. And I think the way that Kushner is portrayed. And there is truth to it, is that he's sort of been at the nexus of every bad decision that the White House has made. And some good ones. But Christie is focusing on, for example, the firing of Comey. And, you know, Jared says that he had nothing to do with it, but he approved of it. And he thought that it wouldn't really create the ruckus that it caused because, of course, Democrats didn't like Comey and Christie told him, you're kidding me, right? Of course it's going to create a ruckus.

And, you know, he pushed for the hiring of Manafort during the campaign, and you can -- you can go over your list of things. And Christie is not forgiving to Jared because, of course, they have a long history. He put his father in jail. And he believes that --

[13:25:13] RYAN: That's a big one.


BORGER: And he believes --

RYAN: That's a huge one.

BORGER: And then wouldn't release him from jail early. And, you know, he believes that Jared has stood in his way with this White House. And, don't forget, Christie was fired from the transition --

KEILAR: That's right.

BORGER: After Trump got elected. And who took over the transition, basically, was Jared Kushner.

RYAN: And Christie is not in the inner circle right now in that White House, too.

KEILAR: Tell us, briefing at 3:30 now. We just found out there's a White House briefing.

RYAN: Yes, we did.

KEILAR: What is this about? Because the narrative right now isn't good for the president.

RYAN: No, it's not. He's this winner -- this larger than life -- I keep using that word -- larger than life winner. Everything is great. It's magnificent. Even the economy, at the time of the shutdown, he was saying it's better than it's ever been. And you had people not getting paid and the GDP had not grown.

So, Sarah Huckabee Sanders has got to come out and put this polish on his tarnished image right now. This president is wounded from Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer with this -- with this shutdown. But she's going to come out and speak from a stance of strength if she can.

If she can. And if they're talking government shutdown, people don't want that anymore. And if they're talking that again, we're going to see how she -- she works -- we've got a lot of issues. You've got the issue of Venezuela. You've got so much on the table. She has to speak. This is the first -- I don't even know how -- in how long. The first

press briefing we haven't had in a long -- we've had in a long time. I will be there to see what she has to say.

KEILAR: She will project strength. I think you're definitely right about that, April.

RYAN: She's going to try to --

KEILAR: She's going to try to.

RYAN: She's going to try to project strength.

KEILAR: She will at least project it, even if she's not coming from a position of strength.

April Ryan, thank you so much.

RYAN: Thank you, Brianna.

KEILAR: Gloria Borger.

BORGER: Thank you.

KEILAR: Food shortages, long lines for gas, rising crime. We have an undercover report from inside Venezuela where people are struggling to get by as a political crisis grows.

Plus, I'll be speaking live with the head of Democrats in Washington state who's telling former Starbuck's CEO Howard Schultz, do not run for president. Hear why.