Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Another Possible Government Shutdown; Trump has Raised Funds for Re-election; Ralph Northam Resist Calls for Resignation; U.S. Troops will Return if ISIS Resurges; Super Bowl 53 Kicksoff in Atlanta; Plane Crash in Southern California; 21 Savage Arrested by ICE; Officers Who Rescued a Missing Boy for Three Days in North Carolina. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired February 3, 2019 - 17:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[17:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: Hello on this Sunday. You're live in the "CNN Newsroom." I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. President Trump this weekend saying it's possible he may shut down the government again this month as he continues fighting with House Democrats over his proposed border wall.

The last shutdown, a partial one, the longest in American history, ended with the president getting no money for that controversial project he promised as a candidate. Yet, Trump said just today that looking ahead, another shutdown is definitely still on the table.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARGARET BRENNAN, CBS NEWS HOST: Would you shut down the government again?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, we're going to have to see what happens on February 15th, and I think --

BRENNAN: You're not taking it off the table.

TRUMP: Well, I don't take anything off the table. I don't like to take things off the table. It's that alternative. It's national emergency. It's other things and you know, there have been plenty of national emergencies called. You need a wall. And anybody that says you don't, they're just playing games.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Live now to our White House correspondent Boris Sanchez. And Boris, this is just into CNN, confirmation from the Pentagon on something the president mentioned a few days ago. It's about more U.S. troops deploying to the border with Mexico. Fill us in.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Ana. We're getting official word from the Pentagon about some troop movements to the southern border with Mexico. Last week, CNN reported that there was an attempt by the Pentagon to move some 3,500 troops to the border. The official word is that there are going to be now 3,750 military

personnel moved to the border help assist customs and border patrol agents there. We're told that those troops would likely be stationed there for approximately 90 days. That brings the total number of U.S. troops at the border to more than 4,300.

The president telegraphed this move last week. He tweeted about it. Here's the tweet. He writes, "More troops being sent to the southern boarder to stop the attempted invasion of illegals through large caravans into our country. We stopped the previous caravans and we will stop these also. With a wall, it would be so much easier and less expensive. Being built!"

Of course, discussions between Democrats and Republicans are still far short of anywhere near a compromise and actual funding for a border wall which is why you see the president taking this sort of step, bypassing Congress to take some sort of action to strengthen the border. We will likely hear more about this and perhaps other moves the White House might make Tuesday night during the president's state of the union address, Ana.

CABRERA: And Boris, I understand there's new reporting today about how the president is spending his days inside the White House. What can you tell us?

SANCHEZ: Yes, this is new dramatic reporting out of Axios. A source inside the White House provided them with the president's schedule, his daily schedule for nearly three months worth of time going from the midterm elections until now. And it appears the president spends about 60 percent of his time on executive time.

Essentially private time in the White House where the president is watching cable television, reading newspapers, calling friends, et cetera. We should point out, not every meeting that the president has taken is on these schedules. We understand, according to White House officials in this report that he often has impromptu sort of spur of the moment meetings.

Also, apparently, the president doesn't listing all his meetings on the schedules in part because he's afraid that many of them will leak to the press. So, it does not give us a full picture of what the president spends his time on. It does show just how unstructured and unorthodox his time in the White House has been, Ana.

CABRERA: All right. Boris Sanchez for us, traveling with the president who is at his Mar-a-Lago resort this weekend. Thank you. I want to get back to the president's threat to shut down the government again if deal making with House Democrats doesn't go his way. And with us now, CNN political analyst Patrick Healy, political commentator Charles Blow, and associate editor for RealClear Politics, A.B. Stoddard.

A.B., Trump is negotiating. He says he's going to be more conciliatory. But is threatening another government shutdown going to get him what he wants? A.B. STODDARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, REALCLEAR POLITICS: It's so

interesting. He's trying to tease out a big suspenseful, theatrical state of the union on Tuesday to raise the numbers, you know, of people watching it. He really needs good ratings. He was not happy about his Oval Office address and the effect it did not have on the polls.

It didn't move the debate at all. It wasn't watched by enough people. And we saw him on Friday basically, you know, threaten to declare a national emergency during the state of the union. He is also sending coNFLicting messages about a unifying message at the state of the union. And he also wants to hold out the fact that something could happen before the 15th, which is 10 days later.

[17:05:03] I do not think he's going to shut the government down. I think he actually was alarmed by the polling that he saw, the economic damage that it did to many people's lives in Trump counties, in Trump states, in Trump districts. And I think his advisers and Senate Republicans were very blunt with him about that.

And I do not think, even though he's hanging it over to build suspense, that it's a possibility. I think in the end he's going to find a way to climb down either by saying the wall exists, which he teased out there week or that he's sending the military or he declares an emergency again, which Senate Republicans are advising him not to do. But I don't think he's going to shut the government down.

CABRERA: Patrick, at this point, the president has made his pitch to the American people multiple times. Most Americans still don't think the wall is the answer, and they certainly don't think it's worth shutting the government down for. So, can the president say anything at the state of the union that would change minds?

PATRICK HEALY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, he's going to try to put Nancy Pelosi on the spot. Now, she has sort of gotten the best of him in their previous tangles, but what he's going to try to do and he's very comfortable doing this, is using the megaphone of television to try to make a case through his theatrics and his rhetoric.

To try to sort of pin her down and make her look unreasonable, make himself look like he's protecting the country, executing his duties as commander-in-chief, keeping Americans safe, and making her look somehow unreasonable.

The thing is, you're going to see probably a very powerful response from Stacey Abrams, the former candidate for governor of Georgia, who is giving the state of the union response. And certainly from Speaker Pelosi and other Democrats who I think will come back and say, and this has been an impressively consistent position.

We don't want money for the president's wall. He can talk about all these other elements as much as he wants, and he's going to try to, but fundamentally, it's the wall that they're not going to put in this amount of money for. And I just think A.B. was getting at something that's exactly right on here. The polling is just bad for him. And this is a president -- he may not

know many things, but one thing he does know is his own sense of polling. And he very much believes that his own ability to negotiate, to frankly prevail in situations is very dependent on the base and some independents being with him. And he really lost that in that last fight against Pelosi.

CABRERA: Well, hey, even without the wall though, look at what he's doing when it comes to fundraising for 2020 already. I mean, this is his re-election campaign and, you know, I say this because I want to at least give some context. A lot of presidents in the past didn't do much fundraising in the first two years into their first term in office, but still look at these numbers.

Trump has already raised $130 million for his 2020 race. For comparison, you can see there, President Obama had raised just over $4 million for his 2012 race at this point in 2011. I mean, still, Charles, $130 million is nothing to scoff at.

CHARLES BLOW, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I believe that it underscores the lie he told the first time around, right. I don't need money. I'm rich. I can do this. And we found out in recent reporting that, no, he was broke and going to Deutsche Bank because he was giving the campaign so much money that he did not have and it was costing him money, limiting his funds to finance the projects he wanted to do for the Trump organization.

CABRERA: But people are donating. That's my point. These people are donating.

BLOW: I get that, but I just think we have to -- all of this -- the wall is theater for baiting white people against people who are not white. These lies that he told about the success and kind of stature of the man and the acumen he had as the deal maker and all sorts of things were all lies. It's almost hard to debate what as true or logically what he's saying because we know that it's all lies, and we know --

CABRERA: But do you think he's fooled the American people?

BLOW: I think some people may be fooled and some people, this is exactly what they want. We know that most people who are in the country illegally did not come over the southern border. They came on legitimate visas, they overstayed those visas and they are here somewhere. But many of those people are not brown.

And so you keep sending more troops to the southern border because of the brown people. You want to build this wall, you know, this monumental white supremacy as a medieval wall along the border because it's about brown people.