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Trump Says A Wall or Nothing; Pelosi Open to Some Barrier but Says No Money for Wall; Mueller Team Collects Roger Stone Evidence Spanning Years; Trump Interviewed Ted Cruz's Wife for Head of World Bank. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired January 31, 2019 - 14:00   ET


[14:00:00] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Brianna, thank you, my friend. I'm Brooke Baldwin. You're watching CNN. Thanks for being with me. With just over two weeks to go to avoid another government shutdown, the fight over a four-letter word, wall, is once again turning Washington upside down. This morning, the President of the United States tweeted, "stop playing political games. Just call it a wall." This afternoon, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, if you do that, we won't pay for it, but the House Speaker may be open to something else.


NANCY PELOSI, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: There's not going to be any wall money in the legislation. Many places on the border, there are cliffs, there are -- there's a river and there's 600 miles of something. 300 of it are Normandy fences. They go like this. You know what a normal defense is? 300 miles of this so that cars cannot go by. If the President wants to call that a wall, he can call it a wall. He's referencing it we already have almost 700 miles of wall. So, again, is there a place for enhanced fencing, Normandy fencing would work. Let them have that discussion.


BALDWIN: As what's become a familiar back and forth among two of Washington's most powerful players, President Trump has just responded with this.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If there's no wall it doesn't work. She's just playing games. If you go to Tijuana and you take down that wall, you will have so many people coming into our country that Nancy Pelosi will be begging for a wall.


BALDWIN: CNN senior Congressional correspondent, Manu Raju, who knows what, Manu Raju is on Capitol Hill. Manu, you know, listening to the President in its entirety earlier this afternoon, it seems like he doesn't think anything will come from these current negotiations, sort of drawing the line in the sand come February 15th. How do you think folks on Capitol Hill will feel? MANU RAJU, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's a clear sign that

what Nancy Pelosi's position is that there's no funding for the wall is likely. What will happen here, especially since the President seemed resigned to that fact and also seems to be moving in the direction of declaring a national emergency and moving that road to see if he can build his wall, but Republicans are reacting with some caution, including the top Republican who's involved in the negotiations on the Senate side, Richard Shelby. I just caught up with him and asked him specifically about this. He's holding out hope that there could still be some money for the wall.


SEN. RICHARD SHELBY (R), ALABAMA: We ought to seriously negotiate protecting the border, including some money for the wall and so forth. If the Democrats say no, you know, we'll find out. We don't know that yet. We just met yesterday and I hope that something substantive will come out of these negotiations, but the President could be right. It could be nothing and we could be right back where we started, but in the meantime, there's hope out there that we could work toward some comprehensive -- some money for the wall, some money for technology, everything. We haven't gotten there yet, but as long as people are polarized, we'll get nothing.

RAJU: You're wasting your time negotiating?

SHELBY: That's the same thing as getting nothing.



RAJU: Right. We could get nothing, another sign that Republicans seem to also believe what Nancy Pelosi is saying, that there would be ultimately no money for the wall and the Democrats put out their own proposal, Brooke, today laying out their demands. There was no funding for physical barriers in their initial offer. These negotiations are going to take place. We'll see how they ultimately come out but at the moment there's a belief that there will be no funding that we'll get out of this House and the Senate with any wall money. What will the question do ultimately? So still a lot of uncertainty before that February 15th deadline, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Thank you so much.

I have with me now Tiffany Cross, Managing Editor and Curator of "The Beat DC," and Elaina Plott is a White House correspondent for "The Atlantic",

and, so, ladies, let's get to it. Tiffany, starting with you. Can we just cut to February 15th? Is a national emergency inevitable?

TIFFANY CROSS, CO-FOUNDER, MANAGING EDITOR AND CURATOR OF "THE BEAT DC": I think it's on the horizon, Brooke. I know Manu said there's no certainty here and I think that Nancy Pelosi is not going to budge. She said there's no money included for this wall. She's right. We saw how she handled Donald Trump in that oval office meeting and told him not to underestimate her strength. He's realizing that. It's important to remember that the wall is not necessary.

[14:05:00] You've heard that from Congressman Will Hurd who represents the district who shares the largest portion of the border with Mexico. People do not have the appetite for another shutdown. The party isn't with him and the people aren't with him.

BALDWIN: But, but, but, if I may, did you hear any wiggle room from Nancy Pelosi today when she was talking about -- a follow-up question where she talked about, again, it's a place where enhanced fencing Normandy fencing would work. I don't know if this is like potato, potato, potato, wall, barrier? Semantics. But are you hearing any wiggle room?

ELAINA PLOTT, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT FOR "THE ATLANTIC": What we have been talking about for the last couple months is semantics. This may be what resolves this issue if not a declaration of a national emergency. It could be Nancy Pelosi, in fact, conceding maybe 1.3 billion or so on fencing of sorts and letting Donald Trump call the wall what he wants it to be. At the same time, there's not a lot of Democrats to work with in determining, you know, what sort of vernacular would work for him. Kellyanne Conway told Abby Philip a couple weeks ago, she said, the President's not the one calling it the wall, you guys are, you and the press corps and today he makes very clear that it is a wall, that physical barrier is not going to cut it. That it's a politically correct term. So even if a physical barrier is something that Nancy Pelosi is open to funding, it's going to be interesting if Donald Trump can just see it for what it is or if he's so insistent that codified in those appropriations bills needs to be the word "wall".

BALDWIN: To me, though, so interesting/frustrating, but if the Democrats -- when you look at their offer on paper, it includes no wall funding, but if there is some wiggle room from Speaker Pelosi, listen, welcome to any art of the deal in any negotiation, if the Democrats are willing to offer something to Trump wall, barrier, fence, whatever, do you think he would be willing to compromise?

CROSS: I don't. That's part of the problem. You're not dealing with a reliable negotiator. He moves the goalpost. I don't think it's the Democrats job to offer something to Trump, they must offer something to the American people which they did. What the President is trying to do is to make border security synonymous with his wall and -- this deal lays out actual border security which is what Republicans claim that they want and when you look at this wall, there's slats that you can easily saw through. I think if the President is thinking about another shutdown, it's going to be a major problem. Maybe Hirono introduced a bill that contractors would get back pay. Not a single Republican support this had bill. If he declares a national emergency, that's going to go to the courts and clog up the judicial system. So, I don't think this fight is going anywhere and I don't think Nancy Pelosi's going to budge.

BALDWIN: I'm so glad you brought up the contractors, they just feel so entirely forgotten by this. As far as what this is all over, Elaina, I want to play this sound also from Trump.


TRUMP: I was elected partially on this issue. Not as much as people say but partially on this issue. This is a very important issue. Nothing to do with elections, nothing to do with votes, only to do with common sense and only to do with security.


BALDWIN: Elaina? What's this about?

PLOTT: What this is about is that the President is starting to hear from people closest to him including people like Congressman Mark Meadows say to him, this was the most tangible campaign promise of yours in 2015 and 2016 and 2020 is really in jeopardy for you if you don't find some way to convince the American people that you followed through on that. It's interesting to me that President Trump is in a way trying to prepare for no wall funding by saying something like, you know, people are telling me that this is the only thing I promised but, in fact, I promised many more things like pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord. I followed through on that. When, in fact, people I'm sourced with on the campaign are putting everything on the wall when it comes to their 2020 hopes and, you know, as tiffany mentioned, yes, the declaration of a national emergency would be tied up in court for months to come. It would only give him roughly $800 million to work with for border wall money, but it is in terms of a messaging apparatus a way for him to say, listen, I did everything that I could.

[14:10:00] BALDWIN: Uh-hum. And the Democrats would get to say we didn't budge. We'll cross that bridge February 15th. Thank you so much, ladies.

Also breaking this afternoon, Special Counsel Robert Mueller releasing details of the evidence collected against longtime Trump associate Roger Stone. Mueller revealing today that information collected from Stone's iCloud and email accounts and computer hardware span several years and now Mueller wants a judge to put in place a protective order that would lockdown the confidentiality of all of that evidence. Stone as you know by now has pleaded not guilty to all seven charges against him including lying and witness tampering and obstruction.

And Chris Swecker is a former FBI Assistant Director of the Criminal Investigative Division, Chris, can you give us a little perspective here? When you hear that they have seized the FBI seized evidence dating back years and that they now have information on his financial records, why is that a big deal?

CHRIS SWECKER, FORMER FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIVE DIVISION: It's a pretty broad scope investigation and there clearly -- we knew when they went in that morning with a no knock search warrant at dawn that they were going for electronic evidence and that's -- in this day and age, that is critical evidence in a wide conspiracy like this or white-collar crime case. So, they are trying to connect up the Russian hack with the WikiLeaks reveal and the Roger Stone as the intermediary. They want to put a broad context around that and the best way to do that is through the emails and other electronic evidence.

BALDWIN: Trump has recently attacked the FBI raid against his old pal Roger Stone, Senator Lindsey Graham calling on the FBI to brief the Senate Judiciary Committee on the raid, asking this -- just asking for them to provide more information. What do you think about that?

SWECKER: First, I read up on that. They're asking the wrong person. They were asking Chris Wray the Director of the FBI. They should be asking the Special Counsel because that's who executed the search warrant. And they're not going to get anywhere with it because the federal rules of criminal procedure permit it if you can show a magistrate that there's the potential or probable cause that evidence would be destroyed or that there was a danger. In this case probably evidence -- probably going to be destroyed if they actually did not have the element of surprise. So, this was a valid exercise approved by a magistrate or judge. They're just not going to get anywhere with it.

BALDWIN: Let me just play one more clip. This is President Trump, what he had to say about law enforcement arrest etiquette from 2017.


TRUMP: When you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon, you just see them thrown in, rough, I said, please don't be too nice, like when you guys put somebody in the car and you're protecting their head, you know, the way you put your hand, don't hit their head and they've just killed somebody, don't hit their head, I said you could take the hand away, OK?


BALDWIN: When you, Chris, juxtapose what the President said two years ago to his comments now on this Roger Stone raid, does he risk sounding hypocritical?

SWECKER: In that case he was talking about the arrest of violent criminals in a different context. Generally speaking, in white collar cases, you don't generally use these hard ball tactics unless a defendant is being recalcitrant and playing hard ball himself and Roger Stone was doing that. They had every reason to believe he was going to destroy evidence. He had threatened a witness. He was playing hard ball back. I have -- I don't think there's going to be any question if a third party takes a look at this, even if the Inspector General takes a look at this, that they will say no harm no foul here.

BALDWIN: Thank you.

Moments ago, President Trump said, time will prove him right. A day after he blasted his own handpicked national intelligence chiefs publicly disagreeing with him. This is happening as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pushes an amendment that would directly contradict President Trump's foreign policy plans involving Syria and Afghanistan. That vote is moments away. And complicated history. President Trump once ridiculed Senator Ted

Cruz's wife over her looks. Why is he now interviewing her for a possible job? You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.


BALDWIN: She was at the center of a bitter 2016 primary battle and now the wife of Senator Ted Cruz is interviewed for a job with the very man who made her the subject of his ridicule. A spokeswoman tells CNN President Trump interviewed Heidi Cruz for a job as the President of the World Bank and adds that she is, quote, humbled to be among a strong list. Cruz currently works for Goldman Sachs but reportedly is not expected to get the job. It goes without saying that despite a recent warming, there is a complicated and contentious history between the Cruz family and President Trump, so Chris Cillizza is here our CNN Politics Reporter and editor at large. You don't have to go back too far. It's been a little rocky.

[14:20:00] CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER AND EDITOR AT LARGE: I like Brooke how you said complicated. It just shows how sensitive and aware you truly are because I would have chosen different words.

BALDWIN: What word would that have been?

CILLIZZA: Well, I can't say it on TV.

BALDWIN: That's what I thought.

CILLIZZA: I could tell you what all is going on, but your great staff lets me show you. Let's play the clip Trump and Cruz.



SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Donald Trump alleges that my dad was involved in assassinating JFK. Now, let's be clear, this is nuts.

TRUMP: He's lying ted. He's no good. Bad guy. He's a bad guy and a bad liar.

CRUZ: He hasn't campaigned for a week, he's been hiding in Trump Tower but late at night he sends tweets attacking my wife, attacking Heidi. It is inappropriate, it is wrong, it is frankly disgusting.

TRUMP: He's so strident. Folks, it's not going to work. OK. It is not going to work. He thinks it's good. We call him Lyin' Ted.

CRUZ: I don't get angry often, but you mess with my wife you mess with my kids that will do it every time. Donald you're a sniveling coward and leave Heidi the hell alone.

Stand and speak, vote your conscious and vote for candidates up and down the ticket who you trust to defend our freedom and to be faithful to the Constitution.

TRUMP: I don't want his endorsement. I have such -- I don't want his endorsement. Ted, stay home, relax, enjoy yourself.

CRUZ; That pledge was not a blanket commitment that if you go and slander and attack Heidi, that I'm going to nonetheless come like a puppy dog and say, thank you very much for maligning my wife and father.



CILLIZZA: What a walk down memory lane. I got a little teary there. So just -- in case you didn't remember these things, Donald Trump said that Ted Cruz's father may have been involved in the JFK assassination. He retweeted a picture of Melania Trump and Heidi Cruz in which Heidi looked unflattering. And the clear message was Heidi Cruz is not as attractive. He said he didn't want Ted Cruz's endorsement and Ted called him a sniffling coward among other things. And yet here we are.

BALDWIN: So, what happened?

CILLIZZA: This is what always happens with Trump, he attacks and then he likes to bring everyone back in the fold. He's a reality TV show producer. Check this out. Cruz far from the only person, Brooke, who's had this sort of we're enemies, we're friends, we're enemies, we're friends. Let's play that clip of all the people he's attacked and made up with.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I think Donald Trump is a political car wreck and people slow down and look at the wreck but they actually move on.

You know how you make America great again, tell Donald Trump to go to hell.

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: I like the President. I want to help him. I hope he's successful. He's been a friend to me.

I really don't think Donald Trump's a conservative. I think he's a fake and a charlatan.

SEN. MITT ROMNEY, (R), UTAH: Absolutely, I'm with the President on this.

Here's what I know, Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud.

I had a wonderful evening with the President-elect Trump. We had another discussion about affairs throughout the world and these discussions I've had with him have been enlightening and interesting and engaging. I've enjoyed them very, very much.



CILLIZZA: As I mentioned before, thank you for those two amazing match-ups, because it tells so much more than I could say. As I said before that second one, you have to think, Brooke, of Donald Trump as a reality TV star and producer, first and foremost. That's how he views the world and what's better, the only thing better than reality TV than two people fighting and threatening each other and I'm going to get you --

BALDWIN: Is fighting and making up.

CILLIZZA: And the big comeback around, you know, like the big everybody's friends and he loves it and he loves it in his business life, he loved it in his reality TV show life and he likes it in the presidency. All the world is a reality tv show to Donald Trump. He views every day in the White House as programming a reality tv show. You have to think in that mindset to understand him. When you think like that, you understand both why he attacks all the time and why he loves -- the only thing he loves more than attacking is making up. It's remarkable to me that everyone we've played in those clips has done it, they've come back around. He's the President of the United States and so if he calls, you listen. That's what Mitt Romney would say. It's really remarkable given the personal nature of a lot of these attacks how he's able to somehow bring people back into the fold.

[14:25:00] BALDWIN: Mad Props to for those excellent match- ups and Ted Cruz says his wife did not get the job. Thanks, Chris.

Coming up next, President Trump and Nancy Pelosi still far apart when it comes to funding for his wall. Where do Republicans stand to take the negotiations now? We'll talk to Senator John Kennedy.

And Senator Kamala Harris may be one of the top picks for Democratic voters early in the game, so why might one of her biggest challenges come from black voters? We'll be right back.


BALDWIN: All right. Let's dig a dill deeper in this breaking news story this hour. Two strong battle lines emerging right now over the President's demand for a border wall. Nancy Pelosi standing firm in her opposition.


PELOSI: There's not going to be any wall money in the legislation. However, if they have some suggestions about certain localities where technology, some infrastructures I said about the ports of entry, we might need more ports of entry, we may need some roads, that's part of the negotiation.