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Interview with Rep. David Price (D-NC); Howard Schultz Debates Run; Venezuela Power Struggle. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired January 30, 2019 - 09:30   ET



[09:31:25] JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Very soon 17 bipartisan lawmakers will meet for the first time in hopes of negotiating a border security plan to avoid another shutdown.

One of them, one of the members of that committee, Congressman David Price of the great state of North Carolina.

Congressman Price, thanks for taking the time this morning.

REP. DAVID PRICE (D), NORTH CAROLINA: Thank you. Good to be with you.

SCIUTTO: Let's get right, if we can, to the border and to a barrier there or a wall, which is clearly the linchpin from the president's perspective of a budget deal.

Several of your Democratic colleagues, Senator John Tester, Senator Bob Casey on our air yesterday, Hakeem Jefferies have said they would vote in support of a barrier, money for a barrier, fencing, on the wall. Would you do the same?

PRICE: Well, a barrier, a fence in appropriate places is clearly an ingredient in border security.

I was chairman of the Homeland Security Appropriations Committee some time ago and we -- when we built almost 700 miles of fence, or at least that's the total that we brought it to. And so that -- that is something we've been able and willing to support in the past.

I'd say, just very quickly, four things have changed since then, though. First of all, we do have that 650 plus miles of fence, even though the president still talks about open borders. Secondly, we have a different migrant mix coming now from Central America with a lot of children, families, people actually turning themselves in. So a barrier isn't relevant. Thirdly, we have pressing needs for border security that I think are much more important than a physical barrier now, especially the need to have more personnel, more equipment at our ports of entry, which is where most of the illegal cargo comes in. And then, fourthly, the president, there's just no escaping, the president has made this a very toxic debate with just reprehensible policies regarding deportations, regarding family separations, regarding refugee --

SCIUTTO: Right. PRICE: Refusing refugees. And so there's no question that has made that -- this debate more complicated.

SCIUTTO: But I'm -- I'm curious if you are open to giving some money for -- because the president -- what has also changed is the president has reduced, in effect, his demand. He says no longer a wall from sea to shining sea but a barrier for some hundreds of miles. That's a position you've supported. Would you vote for a deal that includes money for such a barrier?

PRICE: The president hasn't changed a thing. I mean John Kelly said that from the very beginning. He's the one who coined the phrase sea to shining sea a couple of years ago.

No, the president is threatening a shutdown. That's what's wrong with the president's position. He's saying that he wants to take -- he's demanding a ransom here. And that's totally unacceptable. Totally unacceptable and --

SCIUTTO: But would you -- would you -- is the Democratic Party -- are you and your colleagues willing to see another shutdown and to stand firm and say, as Nancy Pelosi has said, no money whatsoever for a wall?

PRICE: We are -- we are prepared for a conference that discusses the full range of not just border security, and, after all, the border security is about a lot more than a wall or a physical barrier, and Homeland Security is about more than border security. For example, we need polar ice breakers. We need lots of things. And I'll tell you, in that Homeland Security bill that we're conferencing, any money you take for a physical barrier, where the president has upped the ante here and demanded this money, it has to come away from things like ice breaker and customs officers and these other things. So we have some tough decisions to make about how to do this within some pretty tight budget constraints.

SCIUTTO: Are you going to meet with the president?

PRICE: There are no plans to do that right now. I certainly hope the Republican conferees are meeting with the president because they have to have some assurance that he trusts them to negotiate an agreement and is not going to blow it up at the end, as he -- as he has so often before.

[09:35:12] SCIUTTO: Let me ask you this. You, of course, come from North Carolina. There's a House race there that a federal judge has refused to certify because of credible allegations of election fraud.

PRICE: Right.

SCIUTTO: Do you believe that the only way forward is a new election in that seat?

PRICE: I -- from what I've seen so far, I think that election is hopelessly compromised and probably a new election will be required. But I'm not prepared to say that definitively. We need to have an investigation that fully runs its course. We've had an unrelated problem with our state board of elections being dully (ph) constituted. That is now going to be remedied this week. We're going to have a new board of elections. They're going to pick up on this investigation. And our attitude here in the House, even though we have ultimate jurisdiction over who is seated, our attitude here is that the state board of elections needs to do its work and that an investigation needs to run its course.

SCIUTTO: Final question. Senator Kamala Harris has ignited something of a firestorm in the Democratic Party by announcing her support for Medicare for all. Do you support such a plan? And, crucially, how would the Democratic Party suggest paying for it?

PRICE: Well, this -- this is, of course, becoming a litmus test that some people want to apply to Ms. Harris and other -- other candidates. You know, the answer is that the Democratic Party, and the leadership of this country I think, needs to do three things at once. We need to, first of all, prevent the sabotage of the Affordable Care Act. We need to make some -- make sure that people with pre-existing conditions are covered and all the rest. We need to make sure the Trump administration doesn't sabotage it further.

Secondly, we need to build on it. I'd like to see a public option within the Affordable Care Act. I'd like to see Medicare buy-in. And then, thirdly, we need to think about ultimately what kind of path we take to universal coverage. You know, you've got to do all three things at the same time and -- and I would hope our presidential candidates would -- would understand that.

SCIUTTO: Congressman Price, thanks very much for joining us this morning.

PRICE: Thank you.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: All right, so you've probably heard by now, former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz is mulling an independent run for the White House. You probably also heard a lot of Democrats don't like that. But do you know where he actually stands on the most important issues? I asked him. That's next.


[09:41:54] HARLOW: Welcome back.

Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz facing Democratic backlash over his potential 2020 independent run. But before we get into all of that next hour, what would a Schultz run actually look like when it comes to policy? From immigration to taxes to health care, this as he details his life's journey from child abuse growing up in the projects of Brooklyn, to building Starbucks and becoming a billionaire. It's all in his new book "From the Ground Up." And here's what he told me.


HARLOW: When did you stop being a Democrat? HOWARD SCHULTZ, FORMER CEO OF STARBUCKS: I -- you know, I think I

started -- I think the party started losing me when the party started shifting so far left to progressive policies that I know in my heart are as false -- and I say this with respect, but it's true, as false as President Trump telling the American people when he was running for president that the Mexicans were going to pay for the wall.

HARLOW: So when was that? You're referring to Medicare for all, for example, right?

SCHULTZ: Well, if you add up the three policies that seem to be the backbone of the current Democratic Party in terms of the 2020 process, it's free Medicare -- free health care for everybody, free, free college degree and a job for everybody. And that adds up to about $40 trillion in ten years. Well, that's not going to happen on the foundation of a $21 trillion debt. So it's not true.

I don't know Senator Harris, but just last night she made a statement on your network that -- and I'm paraphrasing, but she made a statement that in terms of free government paid health care, that if she was president, she would wipe out the entire insurance industry. Now, to me --

HARLOW: She is supportive of Medicare for all and is supportive of that, eliminating private insurance in this country.

SCHULTZ: Eliminating. So you know what that means?

HARLOW: What do you think of that?

SCHULTZ: Well, it's a very cavalier statement. What it means is that millions of people who work in the insurance industry, as well as the adjacency, are going to lose their jobs.

HARLOW: Why do you think Medicare for all, in your words, is not American?

SCHULTZ: It's not that it's not American, it's unaffordable. So let me -- let me be very clear.

HARLOW: Because you called it not American earlier.

SCHULTZ: Health care -- health care has been central to my entire life. We just talked about that. The first company in America to provide comprehensive health insurance to part time people. I know a lot about this issue. It's deeply in my heart. Now, what I believe is that every American has the right to affordable health care as a statement. I also believe that the Affordable Care Act, under President Obama, was the right thing to do to provide over 30 million people who did not have insurance to get insurance. But now that we look back on that, the premiums have skyrocket and we need to go back to the Affordable Care Act, refine it and fix it.

HARLOW: So the price tag on it, whether you look at the Urban Institute numbers or the (INAUDIBLE) numbers --


HARLOW: Are $32 trillion for Medicare for all over a decade.


[09:45:00] HARLOW: But Senator Sanders says of his plan, yes, you pay more in taxes for it, the health care savings that Americans aren't spending to private insurers is $2 trillion. You say?

SCHULTZ: It's -- it's -- it's -- this is not true.

HARLOW: Immigration. I'm interested in what you would do and what you would propose as president for the roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants currently in this country.


HARLOW: Not just the dreamers.


HARLOW: What would you do?

SCHULTZ: First off, I agree with the Republicans completely that we need strict, stiff border security.

HARLOW: But not a wall.

SCHULTZ: But not -- not with a wall, which is insanity. So I agree. I also agree with the Republicans, not the Democrats, that ICE has a major role to play in this. But Republicans want to strip mothers from babies and put kids in internment camps. I don't agree with that.

HARLOW: Path to citizenship for those 11 million?

SCHULTZ: Let me get to the dreamers first. We're a country of immigrants. We're a country based on humanity and fairness. I think it's un-American for the dreamers not to have a pathway to citizenship. And they should be given that.

With regard to the 11 million people who are unauthorized, let them get in line, pay taxes, pay a fee and, over time, give them the opportunity to become Americans.

HARLOW: But they remain, under a Schultz presidency, if you had your druthers, those 11 million undocumented immigrants would remain in this country on a path to citizenship?

SCHULTZ: Correct.

HARLOW: You would not send them to their home country?

SCHULTZ: No, I would not.

HARLOW: Income inequality.


HARLOW: Story of your life, right?


HARLOW: There are -- you've already condemned the Trump tax cut, right?


HARLOW: The corporate tax cut.

SCHULTZ: Yes, it was wrong.

HARLOW: There are a few different proposals out there now from progressive liberal Democrats on how to tackle this. So let's take two of them, OK.

First, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the congresswoman from Queens, supports a 70 percent marginal tax rate on the rich. Your eyebrows go up when I say that. That is on their, you know, ten millionth dollar and above. As you know, we saw a 90 percent marginal tax rate under a Republican, President Eisenhower.

SCHULTZ: Yes. Yes.

HARLOW: What do you think of that?

SCHULTZ: Well, let's go back to the idea that if I ran for president as an independent, I'm going to steal Democratic votes away from President Trump. Let's go a different way. If the Democrats are proposing anything close to a 70 percent level of income tax, how many core Democrats are going to be supportive of a move towards socialism? Not very many. President Trump will get reelected.

HARLOW: How would your plan, then, reduce the income gap from what it is today, widening every year, if it's -- you know, is it raising corporate taxes immensely?

SCHULTZ: I think the 21 percent tax rate was wrong. I would not be supportive of that if I was president.

HARLOW: But would you raise corporate taxes?

SCHULTZ: I would not be supportive of 21 percent. That should give you some idea as to what I would do.

HARLOW: Elizabeth Warren's proposal is a wealth (ph) tax.


HARLOW: It's an additional 2 percent tax on Americans whose net worth --


HARLOW: This isn't just an income tax, actually, it's an asset tax.

SCHULTZ: Yes, I know. I know. Yes. What do you think of that?

HARLOW: Is over $50 million.


HARLOW: Good idea?

SCHULTZ: Well, first of all, it's an idea that has no merit. It -- she knows that there's no way this could come to pass. These are just false campaign promises to make noise. And, again, it's punitive. No, I don't agree with that.


HARLOW: By the way, Elizabeth Warren is now fundraising off of Schultz's opposition to her plan.

Next hour, Schultz will respond to the backlash he's facing from the Democratic Party. You can hear our full interview, an hour long with Howard Schultz on all of this, on my podcast "Boss Files." Subscribe on iTunes.

And we'll be right back.


[09:53:25] HARLOW: President Trump is urging Americans not to travel to Venezuela as leaders there battle for political control while the suffering citizens of Venezuela take to the streets and their suffering just continues. This warning from the president comes just hours before huge protects are expected to take place across that country.

SCIUTTO: The sitting Venezuelan president, Nicolas Maduro, has said that he is open to speaking with the opposition, but that he won't hold another election until 2025.

Meanwhile, the country's supreme court has barred the opposition leader, who the U.S. recognizes now as the leader of the country, Juan Guaido, from leaving the country and has frozen his accounts as well.

Senior international correspondent Nick Paton Walsh is live in Bogota, Columbia.

Nick, more protests planned today. I don't think our viewers have a real sense of just the extent of the violence and the hardship there right now. Can you give us a picture of it?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, when Donald Trump says don't travel to Venezuela, he is echoing the State Department's advice really. It is in the grip of a crime wave, which is fueled by the hunger, the deprivation, the poverty, because of hyperinflation, because of the chronic mismanagement of the economy and corruption of the Maduro government. That often equates, according to some figures, into 80 murders a day, possibly the highest homicide rate in the world.

So this is a country, frankly, that's edging toward being a failed state. Put aside all the geo politics and the kind of neo cold war of Russia versus Washington on who should potentially be recognized as the president. But, Jim, within this climate of collapse, we have a key moment today. The opposition, in about an hour from now, calling for protests in Caracas in substantial numbers they hope. And this is, a bit, I think to translate onto the streets, the -- in numbers potentially that the external backing for Juan Guaido.

[09:55:11] Now, he is in a very complicated position, frankly, because the Trump administration raced in to recognize him as the interim president. He declared himself that and swore himself in, in front of a large crowd of protesters supporting him back last week. But he doesn't really have grips on the leave of power inside the country. The U.S. is trying to help them by saying, well, all the assets of Venezuela's bank accounts that we've frozen can be accessed by him. But quite how he goes about doing that and, more importantly, getting the money into the country is a very complicated question.

His travel has been banned out of the country by the Maduro government. They're also frozen his bank accounts, increasing problems in that direction too. But I've got to point out as well, we haven't seen moves to arrest him yet. They tried that a while back. They released him quickly because of popular outrage. And I think today we get a measure on the streets as to how much protest is going to do to potentially change the minds of those around the Maduro government and whether they continue to support him in the weeks ahead.

Back to you.

HARLOW: Nick Paton Walsh, important reporting as always. You'll stay on this story, we know. Thank you.

President Trump is lashing out at his own intelligence chiefs after they publicly broke with him on the most significant dangers facing this country.