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Border Security Talks Hit Stalemate, Deal Uncertain; Trump to Make Border Trip Tomorrow as Shutdown Looms; Trump Defends Executive Time After Schedule Leaked; Long List of Politicians Refused to Resign Amid Controversy; Can Top Virginia Dems Stay in Office Despite Controversies? Aired 7-8p ET

Aired February 10, 2019 - 19:00   ET

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


[19:00:20] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. Thanks for being here.

We begin this hour with a potential crisis all lawmakers see coming, and yet it looks like they may not be able to avoid it. I'm talking about a partial government shutdown, another one that could take place at the end of this week if there is no deal on funding.

And right now, bipartisan negotiators are saying things are off, things have stalled. Sources do see a sliver of a silver lining. Talks have not completely broken down.

But in the next five days, can the two sides get past these two latest sticking points according to sources? One, funding for a border barrier and, two, the lesser-known cap on detention beds for undocumented immigrants detained within the U.S.

Now, in the meantime, President Trump is starting the week on the attack, tweeting, quote, it was a very bad week for Democrats with the great economic numbers, the Virginia disaster, and the state of the union address. Now, with the terrible offers being made by them to the border committee, I actually believe they want a shutdown. They want a new subject.

Let me turn to CNN's White House correspondent, Boris Sanchez.

Boris, what more are you hearing now from the White House about this growing concern there may not be a deal?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Ana. Yes, the White House at this point is basically exactly where they were in December when the President was saying that the government could shut down and that it would be Democrats' fault if it did.

The President not backing away, taking aim at Democrats on Twitter, suggesting the Democratic leadership is holding back the negotiations, and making inaccurate claims about what Democrats have actually proposed in talks, at least what CNN has heard from sources has been proposed in these talks.

What we've also heard from sources is that both sides are preparing backstop options, essentially Plan Bs in case things continue to stall in negotiations. For the White House, that could mean executive action. It could mean another shutdown.

Here is Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney breaking it all down on one of the Sunday morning talk shows.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST: We cannot definitely rule out a government shutdown at the end of this week?

MICK MULVANEY, ACTING WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: You absolutely cannot, and here's why.

TODD: OK.

MULVANEY: Let's say, for the sake of this discussion, that the Democrats prevail and -- the hardcore left-wing Democrats prevail. There was a Democratic congresswoman who put out a tweet yesterday about zero dollars for DHS.

So let's say the hardcore left wing of the Democrat Party prevails in this negotiation, and they put a bill on the President's desk with, say, zero money for the wall or 800 million, some absurdly low number. How does he sign that? He cannot, in good faith, sign that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: Mulvaney also hinted at possible executive action depending on what sort of number Democrats agree to.

On the Democratic side, an aide tells CNN that if talks do break down, they are prepared to present a bill in the House of Representatives that would fund DHS through at least September and keep the government open. Unclear, though, if Republicans in the Senate would actually put that up for a vote, Ana.

CABRERA: And so as the shutdown looms, Boris, the President is headed to the border tomorrow. What can you tell us?

SANCHEZ: That's right. President Trump is headed to El Paso, Texas. You've heard him talk about El Paso in the past. He is trying to use it as an example of a place where a border wall worked and made an area safer though statistics show that, previous to any sort of planning for a border wall, that city began getting safer.

We should also point out, the President would likely call out some 2020 potential rivals. He already had quite the interesting exchange with Amy Klobuchar on Twitter earlier. And he'll likely mention Elizabeth Warren while he is there as well, Ana.

CABRERA: All right, Boris Sanchez, at the White House for us. Thank you.

Now, ahead of the President's border visit, some of his supporters made a human chain to show they back his call for a border barrier there. This happened in Sunland Park, New Mexico, advocates linking arms and chanting, "Build a wall." Joining us now, CNN senior political analyst and former adviser to

four U.S. presidents, David Gergen; and CNN political analyst and "New York Times" politics editor, Patrick Healy.

So, David, the President is mixing messages a little bit tomorrow night pushing his re-election. This is an official campaign rally, but he's also trying to make his pitch to the country about more money for a border wall. Isn't he putting himself in a bad spot here? What if negotiations don't go Republicans' way?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, he has been -- he's making obvious what has been clear all along but it's really obvious now, is that this border wall is a lot about politics.

But listen, Ana, to go back to the negotiations, it would be totally irresponsible for the politicians on both sides not to reach an agreement now and to close down the government again. It's just preposterous to think about.

They were tantalizingly close on the question of money, and that seems imminently fixable. You know, there is not that much money involved. And if you have another -- remember, the shutdown cost us $3 billion.

[19:05:06] If you'd put that $3 billion in, you could have solved all of these problems and agreed on some barriers, and we'd be talking about something more serious and more -- you know, more important to the long-range hopes of the country.

But let me make one other point and invite Patrick in, and that is, this second issue, that the reason about the beds -- the number of beds. That's a legitimate issue for the Democrats to raise, but do they really want these talks to fail over the beds? That -- how many beds the ICE has?

That seems to be inviting a view in the public that the Democrats would share a lot of responsibility. This thing would whip around, and they'd share a lot of responsibility for any shutdown.

CABRERA: I want to get your take on that, Patrick, because, we all recall, last time around, multiple polls showed most Americans were blaming President Trump and Republicans for that shutdown, particularly President Trump. But if we end up in another shutdown this time, do you think Democrats will get the share of their blame?

PATRICK HEALY, POLITICS EDITOR, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Yes, I think Democrats are in danger of overreaching on this, Ana. The reality is that the last time around, they came out of the shutdown as real winners. The polls showed it. Voters showed it. They succeeded in putting the shutdown around President Trump's neck.

And this time around, I think what they're doing right now is they are sort of pushing and testing the limits. They see the Republicans on the ropes. The Democrats and Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker, believe that Mitch McConnell -- and, frankly, President Trump but especially Mitch McConnell -- is not going to let the government shut down again. They think that they have some leverage here, that McConnell cannot go

back to his conference in the Senate and say, OK, we're going to go with the President again on this and shut down the government again. It was a loser before. So I think you're seeing some effort by the Democrats to sort of press the issue and see what kind of leverage that they can use to get.

And Mulvaney, this morning, was -- you know, seemed to be making pretty clear that, like, if they go too far with this, you know, shutdown is absolutely on the table. But there really -- you know, David is right. I mean, they really are in some kind of risk of overreaching here if they go too far.

CABRERA: I spoke with Congressman John Garamendi, a Democrat, earlier this evening. He said not one person, not one lawmaker, has any kind of appetite for another shutdown.

And House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also said this week that Republicans really wouldn't dare to trigger another shutdown. Here's her quote to Politico. She says, I have a club that I started. It's called the Too Hot to Handle Club. And this is a too-hot-to-handle issue.

David, do you agree with that?

GERGEN: I think it is too hot to handle, but I think Patrick and I are in fundamental agreement that the Democrats could overreach. And I might point out, this comes at the end of a week when they -- you know, when they've had -- they have not had a good week.

You know, look at what's happened in Virginia. That has been giving the Democratic Party a black eye. You know, they have been fumbling around on a lot of these inspirational ideas that go into the green new deal, but that has had some trouble with the rollout, too, and eyes are rolling over how much this is all going to cost.

I think Nancy Pelosi is the one person on the Democratic side who can really, you know, crack down on the negotiations and say let's get this thing done and move on to the other issues.

CABRERA: A CNN poll this week found four in 10 people believe they are witnessing the worst governing of their lifetimes. Patrick, how much of that is about what Congress is doing versus what the President is doing?

HEALY: I think it still has to do with the President. I mean, I think that they see the last two years of the administration has had, you know, some of the highest -- has had the highest staff turnover in history. It is seeing certainly a lot of chaos and sort of confusion about what our relationship is like with Russia.

Why can't Republicans, you know, who controlled the entire government for two years get more done? I mean, you had a government that was all Republican for two years when they could have gotten a border wall, one would think. And Republicans leading Congress, Trump could have just gone to them and said here's the money. But instead, you know, it goes to the Democrats and the government, you know, gets shut down.

So I think their -- I think that's still owned by him, I mean. But where Pelosi, you know, has some danger here is that she does have a very large new vibrant Congress -- excuse me -- conference with a lot of new voices, some very liberal and who want action and results soon and, especially, to see, you know, the Democrats in Congress stand up to President Trump.

And so, you know, for her, not letting things get out of hand with, say, like a green new deal, you know, sort of issues getting the better of what she wants the agenda to be, you know, is the challenge there and for Democrats to be able to show that, at least in this one branch of government, they can lead.

CABRERA: Let me ask you, guys, about a tweet from the President just this evening about just how much he works.

[19:09:56] He says this, quote, the media was able to get my work schedule, something very easy to do, but it should have been reported as a positive, not negative. When the term executive time is used, I am generally working, not relaxing. In fact, I probably work more hours than almost any past president.

David, this comes off Axios reporting that the President spends 60 percent of his time, his scheduled time, in unstructured executive time. Do you think the President is working as much as he says?

GERGEN: Well, if you call watching television working, he may be right. But if you call -- if you regard television as sort of a sideshow to what the job of the president is, which every other president has done, and they're talking about serious work, most presidents have spent about 60 or 70 percent of their time on international affairs.

I just don't think you can say that about this president. Most presidents have spent time, lots and lots of time, meeting with outside groups coming in, trying to build consensus on various issues, constant set of problems coming across or tasks. You don't sense that this president either does that and that he is engaged at the level that other presidents have been.

CABRERA: I heard Mick Mulvaney, the Chief of Staff, this morning describing as some of that executive time him preparing for upcoming meetings, debriefing after past meetings, using his time wisely. Patrick, what are your thoughts on this?

HEALY: Well, I think that's pretty different than what a president usually does. I mean, usually, you have staff who does the preparation. They sit down and they give the president certainly briefing books to read. We know the President doesn't actually read a lot of those books.

And the reality is that, you know, he's spending a lot of time watching television and doing things, you know -- remember -- look, during the shutdown, this was the longest government shutdown in history. And at the same time, you had his intelligence chiefs getting ready to go to Capitol Hill and testify recently and basically saying that they had different views on the situation in --

CABRERA: And we're hearing he's not reading their intelligence daily briefs.

HEALY: He's really not reading their intelligence daily briefs. And you have to ask, when the government was shut down and he was staying in the White House and he was saying sort of I am all alone here, you know, what was he doing with all that time?

You know, was he getting his intelligence -- was he meeting with his intelligence chiefs or reading the briefings books to be on the same page on foreign policy? Was he setting an agenda? Was he shaping a vision for the government? Was he getting the government back to work?

GERGEN: Yes.

HEALY: It's very unclear that he does, you know, much of any of that. He seems to, you know, watch television --

GERGEN: Yes.

HEALY: -- react to what he hears on T.V. and tweets about it.

CABRERA: David, you have one final thought?

GERGEN: Yes, how -- well, how much time does he spend preparing to write a tweet and then tweeting? I mean, his tweets have a sort of continue over some days. You know, they're all linked together. And it's very suggestive that most of his time goes into the tweeting business after he watches television.

CABRERA: All right. David, you're back with me in just a moment.

Patrick Healy, thank you. Always good to see you.

GERGEN: Thank you.

CABRERA: The embattled governor of Virginia declaring today, I'm not going anywhere. Can he and other top officials embroiled in a scandal in that state actually stay in office? If history is any guide, the answer might be yes.

Plus on the 2020 trail, Amy Klobuchar, senator from Minnesota, joining the race from snowy Minneapolis. Or Elizabeth Warren -- and meantime, we have Elizabeth Warren making this prediction.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: By the time we get to 2020, Donald Trump may not even be president. In fact, he may not even be a free person.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[19:13:35] (COMMERCIAL BREAK) CABRERA: In a new interview today, Virginia's embattled governor is

vowing to stay right where he is. It has been more than a week since that racist yearbook photo started a chain reaction of leadership chaos.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. RALPH NORTHAM (D), VIRGINIA: Right now, Virginia needs someone that can heal. There is no better person to do that than a doctor.

Virginia also needs someone who is strong, who has empathy, who has courage, and who has a moral compass. And that's why I'm not going anywhere. I have learned from this. I have a lot more to learn. But we are in a unique opportunity now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Meanwhile, the man who many thought was about to replace Governor Northam will have to fight to save his own job, and that fight gets in earnest in the coming hours.

Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax ignored questions today, even as one lawmaker is now set to introduce a resolution calling for his impeachment in the wake of sexual assault claims by two women.

And in the backdrop, two more top Virginia elected officials are under scrutiny for their roles, directly or otherwise, in racism scandals.

But while Virginia waits to see who will be left to lead the old dominion state, history shows that all four of those men could survive. Because, as Jake Tapper shows us, other famous figures have left them a how-to guide.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Whether you protest alleged racism, adultery, corruption charges, or prostitution scandals, remember that the phrase, hell, no, we won't go, is sometimes popular among politicians, too.

The death of Mary Jo Kopechne in a car driven by Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy at Chappaquiddick didn't stop him from serving in the Senate for 40 more years until his death. Nor did it stop him from running for president in 1980.

TED KENNEDY, FORMER MASSACHUSETTS SENATOR: I would understand full well why some might think it right for me to resign.

TAPPER (voice-over): President Clinton, of course, famously lied about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky.

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I did not have sexual relations with that woman.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the court of impeachment. TAPPER (voice-over): Even faced impeachment hearings for perjury.

But Clinton remained in office. And three years later, departed the White House with a wave and a smile. He told CBS News in hindsight.

CLINTON: We fought it to the end and I'm glad.

MARK SANFORD, FORMER SOUTH CAROLINA GOVERNOR: OK.

TAPPER (voice-over): There were calls for South Carolina Republican Governor Mark Sanford to take a hike after a 2009 trip allegedly to the Appalachian Trail turned out to actually be a visit to Argentina to see his extramarital girlfriend instead.

[19:20:08] SANFORD: As much as I did talk about going to the Appalachian Trail -- that was one of the original scenarios that I had thrown out Mary Neil -- that isn't where I ended up.

TAPPER (voice-over): Sanford stepped down as chairman of the Republican Governors Association and got divorced, but he continued to serve as governor and was later elected to Congress.

Anti-abortion, pro-family values Republican Congressman Scott DesJarlais reportedly urged his extramarital girlfriend to get an abortion, but -- you guessed it -- he stayed in office and won re- election.

DAVID VITTER, FORMER LOUISIANA SENATOR: I am completely responsible, and I'm so very, very sorry.

TAPPER (voice-over): Former Louisiana Republican Senator David Vitter's involvement with a D.C. madam did not keep him from staying in office and even being re-elected in 2010.

Longtime New York Democratic Congressman Charlie Rangel was censured after being found guilty of 11 counts of violating House Ethics rules. But he, too, refused to resign and he, too, was re-elected.

Republican Congressman Steve King, currently in office, has not let repeated racism charges force him out.

And Democratic Senator Bob Menendez opted to go through a months-long trial facing federal corruption charges with his title as an elected official intact. Eventually, it was declared a mistrial. And he, too, was re-elected.

SEN. BOB MENENDEZ (D), NEW JERSEY: To those who were digging my political grave so that they could jump into my seat, I know who you are and I won't forget you.

TAPPER (voice-over): So for a powerful politician accused of racism --

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What they're saying is that I am a racist.

TAPPER (voice-over): -- adultery, sexual assault, and harassment -- GLORIA ALLRED, ATTORNEY FOR SUMMER ZERVOS: She will not be taking any questions.

TAPPER (voice-over): -- and various other crimes and misdeeds --

TRUMP: When they have no collusion.

TAPPER (voice-over): -- staying and fighting might look like a credible game plan.

TRUMP: 2020 is looking really easy.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CABRERA: That was CNN's Jake Tapper. David Gergen back with us now.

David, we have seen plenty of people at the top face scandal, but can you think of a time when four leaders from the same government have all been in trouble?

GERGEN: No, I certainly can't. I don't think anybody else has been able to find precedents for what we're going through in Virginia right now.

CABRERA: I am kind of speechless about it because it's just like, wow, they keep coming. The hits keep coming.

(LAUGHTER)

GERGEN: Yes.

CABRERA: I mean, there is this saying that all politics is local. And this has become a national outrage story, but let's take a little bit of a deep dive into Virginia where Northam has to govern.

A new poll conducted by "The Washington Post," before the second Fairfax accuser came out, shows that when it comes to Northam, at least, Virginians were split evenly about whether he should stay or go.

What may be even more surprising here is African-Americans -- look at that -- by a wide margin, 58 percent, want Northam to stay. Does that give Northam hope that he can survive this and actually govern?

GERGEN: Well, those numbers, I'm sure, were encouraging for him, and he's going to hang in. We didn't -- you know, we didn't get the -- the numbers for Fairfax we, you know, mixed because I think people didn't have a lot of information yet.

Listen, I think, even though those were good numbers in Virginia, ultimately, there is going to have to be some question about how much of a drag will this be upon the national election in 2020.

Will it mean the state of Virginia is out of play for Democrats? That would be a terrible blow to Democratic hopes. Will it change the future of the general assembly of Virginia? We don't know that. But what we do know is this, that, traditionally, people can hang on

especially when they're well-known and they've been in politics for a long time. People like that tend to be able to get through things and hang on.

But in this case, as in many cases, Northam is a -- he stood as the nominee of the Democratic Party. He would not have been elected had the Democrats not nominated him.

And for the Democrats then to withdraw their support for him, he does owe something to party. This is about more than him. It's about the future of his party that he was trying to build. That he has now diminished the future of that party.

And, you know, I think the really hard question now, Ana, is how do you handle the three of them? You know, there's this move on to impeach Fairfax, the Black lieutenant governor, and not go after Northam, not go after the attorney general, both White.

I don't think that that's sustainable in the country to have -- of the three people, to have the one -- the Black pay a price and the two Whites stay in office. That seems, to me, that's going to be a really rough go.

CABRERA: The optics, obviously, would be bad for that to happen.

GERGEN: Yes. Well, there's --

CABRERA: Especially when we're talking about the White guys being involved in these racism controversies.

GERGEN: Exactly.

CABRERA: But in all fairness, his accusations -- as we're looking at the Lieutenant Governor there, Justin Fairfax. The accusations he's facing are potential crimes versus -- that would give -- that is reason for potential impeachment, right, versus something that, as awful as it is, isn't necessarily a crime?

[19:25:13] GERGEN: That's a very good point. But the way to settle whether there was a crime committed is by the law enforcement agencies and by prosecutors investigating -- they haven't -- as opposed to an impeachment hearing which is, you know, going to have a lot of rough edges.

This ought to be treated as something serious. I think he deserves -- Fairfax deserves a full investigation and see if he can clear his name. If he can't, that's a different question. And Northam deserves a full investigation.

What the people of the country, and especially of Virginia, deserve is, let's get to the bottom of this.

CABRERA: Yes.

GERGEN: Right now, we're in Never Never Land. CABRERA: Real quickly, if you will. I'm curious to get your take on

President Obama staying out of this all together when we talk about the Democratic Party and the brand of the Democratic Party. Wise move to say out, or should he be speaking up?

GERGEN: I'm sorry. I didn't quite understand about the Democratic Party brand. What question -- what was your question?

CABRERA: You talked about this being a drag potentially on the Democratic Party --

GERGEN: Yes.

CABRERA: -- in looking forward into the future.

GERGEN: Yes. Yes.

CABRERA: I'm just curious what your thoughts are about how President Obama has reacted. And basically, the reaction being nothing, not saying a thing.

GERGEN: Well, I think, for the moment, he -- you know, he tries to stay out of the day-to-day politics. This is better left to the people of Virginia. It is divisive, no matter which way you come down.

I'm not sure that's -- I don't think President Obama is called upon. I don't think that's part of what he's -- what he brings to the public table now to get engaged like this. I think he could help people figure out quietly what to do and do it fairly.

It's really important for the Democratic Party -- I want to underscore this. The Democratic Party, the focus is -- the searchlight is now on the Democratic Party.

We've had two years of Trump. Everybody knows what he's all about. But now that he's lost the House, the focus has come back on the Democrats to say, well, what do they have to offer?

And up until recently, they looked like they were in a really strong position for 2020. But this last week, this Virginia stuff is going to eat away --

CABRERA: Shook things up.

GERGEN: -- at the excitement, the enthusiasm of some portion of their base. And as I was mentioning earlier, you know, the question of where they're going to go -- is the far left going to take over this party --

CABRERA: Yes.

GERGEN: -- will raise a lot of questions. That's why there is a reason Trump is on the offense now.

CABRERA: David Gergen, thank you so much for being here, sir. GERGEN: Thank you, Ana.

CABRERA: It's off to the races. The growing Democratic field flooding the zone in early primary states, including an important new entry just today.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:32:11] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Now the race for the White House in a growing field of Democrats candidates for president in 2020. Today it was Senator Amy Klobuchar's turn making it official in the most snowy way possible in this driving snow storm with temperature well below freezing. The weather though didn't seem to bother her for her enthusiastic supporters.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am running for every American. I am running for you. And I promise you this. As your President, I will look you in the eye. I will tell you what I think. I will focus on getting things done. That's what I have done my whole life. And no matter what, I will lead from the heart.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Take a look. Here is where just a few of the Democratic presidential hopefuls, declared and undeclared, are working and meeting voters today. Amy Klobuchar, of course, in Minnesota, (INAUDIBLE) Cory Booker in Iowa and Elizabeth Warren in South Carolina and Iowa, respectively.

CNN reporters and correspondents are all over the campaign trail today. Suzanne Malveaux is in Minneapolis, M.J. Lee in Iowa City, Iowa, and Rebecca Buck in Columbia, South Carolina.

Suzanne, we just saw Senator Klobuchar officially joining the race in that Minnesota snowstorm today. I know you were in it, too. You spoke to her after that memorable announcement. What did she tell you?

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. I mean, it was 14 degrees outside. It is still 14 degrees. But it was in the middle of the snow when she made the official announcement. And she talked a lot about bringing heart and the heartland into this race and really focusing on those who have been neglected in that region in the Midwest region in which Trump really captured a lot of those Democratic voters back in 2016.

She talked about the grit and of course her background being the daughter of a newspaper man and a school teacher, the granddaughter of a mine worker. And really, her ability to get things done. Kind of a no nonsense type of person. And I did have a chance to ask her, the first question out of the gate after her official announcement about what really sets her apart from all these other Democratic candidates that she will be facing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KLOBUCHAR: What makes me unique is I did this announcement speech in the middle of a blizzard. I mean, I think we need people with grit. I have that grit. And it is really important that we hear from all parts of the country and have someone in the White House that has people's back.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: So Ana, she is certainly got the President's attention already. He is responding to Klobuchar. This is what he tweeted right after her announcement.

He said, Amy Klobuchar announced that she is running for president, talking proudly of fighting global warming while standing in a virtual blizzard of snow, ice, and freezing temperatures. Bad timing. At the end of her speech she looked like a snowman/snowwoman.

So I can tell you the senator wasted no time punching back as well. She sent out her own tweet just within the last hour, responding to him saying science is on my side @realDonaldTrump looking forward to debating you about climate change and many other issues. And I wonder how your hair would fair in a blizzard. And you see the emoji of a snowman included.

So this is game on. She is wasting no time in actually answering him. And she will be traveling onward to Wisconsin and then Iowa later in the week -- Ana.

[19:35:06] CABRERA: All right. Suzanne, thank you. Stand by as we turn now to M.J. Lee.

And Senator Elizabeth Warren was there in Iowa today where you are, many of the Democratic candidates have chosen not to mention President Trump by name. Although, Klobuchar is getting in the mix here. I know Senator Warren, however, also without hesitation is talking about the President today. What is she saying?

M. J. LEE, CNN POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Ana. This is her first visit to Iowa as a declared presidential candidate. And she really came out swinging this morning in Cedar Rapids, going after President Trump by name, and really had the reporters sitting up in their seats because it is so rare to see Senator Warren attacking President Trump by name.

Let me just play that moment for you from this morning.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know here's what bothers me. By the time we get to 2020, Donald Trump may not even be President. In fact, he may not even be a free person.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEE: Now here in Iowa City, we reporters had a chance to ask Senator Warren what she really meant by that. And she said that she was referring to the special counsel's investigation, the Mueller investigation, and the fact that there are a number of other investigations that are so serious.

I should note, though, when she was asked directly does that mean that you think President Trump should be impeached? She said no. I think it is important for the findings of that investigation to come out.

Now having settle that, we should not expect Senator Warren to be constantly going offer President Trump on the trail. She actually emphasized that she thinks it is important for the Democratic candidates not to engage President Trump on every single tweet, on every single attack that it is so important to talk about all of the other issues that Democratic voters are thinking about and to stay on message.

Now next week, I should note, she is traveling to South Carolina, to Nevada, to California. Just a reminder that the campaigning is just beginning for Senator Warren -- Ana.

CABRERA: And everybody else, too. M.J. Lee in Iowa City, thank you.

Let's turn to Rebecca Buck in South Carolina. That's where Cory Booker is today. An important state to hit early. Booker staying out of the big city, however. Why?

REBECCA BUCK, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: That's right. So Ana, obviously, Cory Booker not going to neglect any corner of this key first in the south primary state. However, he is sending a strong message with his first visit here since he announced his presidential campaign by visiting only rural areas, small towns outside of the Columbia, South Carolina urban center. Why is he doing this? He actually explained it earlier today in an event in Winnsboro, South Carolina. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. CORY BOOKER (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My first campaign stop as a candidate for presidency, I wanted to come to this community because my whole career is about going to the places that often people don't go to. Don't talk about. Don't face and confront.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BUCK: So this is an approach that really harkens back to Booker's time as a politician in Newark, New Jersey, when he first ran for the city council in Newark, he sought to knock on every door in the central ward of the city. And now he is trying to scale that approach up for a presidential campaign. Obviously, not an easy task. He is going to try to meet as many people though as he can, pulling 18-hour days. We are seeing that approach here in South Carolina over today and tomorrow -- Ana.

CABRERA: All right Rebecca, Suzanne, M.J., thank you all.

We have this just in to CNN. Longtime congressman Walter Jones of North Carolina has died. You may remember him or maybe you won't. But you may recall how he tried to change French fries to freedom fries on menus at the capitol because France apparently wouldn't support the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

Now Jones passed away on his 76th birthday just weeks after being placed on hospice care after breaking his hip. While initially supporting the Iraq war, Jones had a dramatic change of heart becoming a vocal critic and avid supporter of veterans.

It is the blog post that has triggered a federal investigation. The world's richest man says the "National Enquirer" tried to blackmail him with nude photos and now a possible connection to a close U.S. ally. Why Jeff Bezos says look closely at Saudi Arabia.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:44:00] CABRERA: Saudi Arabia denying it played any role in an alleged blackmail plot involving the richest man in the world Jeff Bezos and the "National Enquirer."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did the Saudi government have anything to do with these leaks to AMI?

ADEL AL-JUBER, SAUDI MINISTER OF STATE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS: Absolutely not. This sounds to me like a soap opera. I have been watching it on television and reading about it in the paper. This is something between the two parties. We had nothing to do with it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, can you say though that the Saudi government and any of its employees or its contractors definitively that it had no conclude with David Pecker or AMI?

AL-JUBER: As far as I am aware and I believe I would be aware we have absolutely nothing to do with this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: In addition, a top Saudi official tells CNN the Saudis did not pressed the Enquirer's parent company AMI to publish negative stories about Bezos, the biggest of which was the expose on the Amazon's chief executive's personal life, an expose which people around Bezos belief was a political hit job pay back for his newspaper's dogged reporting on the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi who wrote for Bezos' paper the "Washington Post."

Now that brings us to your weekend presidential brief, a segment we bring you every Sunday night highlighting some of the most pressing national security information the president will need when he wakes up tomorrow.

And joining us now is CNN national security analyst Samantha Vinograd. She helped prepare the presidential daily brief during the Obama administration.

Sam, you know that Saudi official we just heard from. What's your assessment?

[19:45:33] SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, as you mentioned, I know Adel Al-Juber quite well. When I was at the White House, he was a Saudi ambassador. We often took his counsel and his words at face value when it came to key national security issues. But in this case, we have to completely discount what he is saying.

We know that the Saudi government and Adel al-Juber have repeatedly lied when it comes to key issues like Jamal Khashoggi's death and anything else that involved the crown prince of Saudi Arabia. We have to rely on our intelligence community says and what our own law enforcement officials have to say.

We also have to remember the context here. There is no independent media in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi government really use his media as a propaganda platform so when we see someone like Adel al-Juber going on American television we have to assume that he is trying to use our media platforms in the same way he uses media at home which again is to spread propaganda.

CABRERA: So as you talk about Saudi as wanting to control domestic media content, how does it relate to the reporting on their links to AMI and approach device news?

VINOGRAD: Well, AMI and the Saudis are denying any links. But it is important to note that while many foreign countries work with American media outlets to sponsor content or to pitch stories, they have to disclose the media outlets what they are doing. Otherwise they violate something called the foreign agents registration act or Farrah, which means that if you are working on behalf of a foreign government and doing something they tell you to do you have to register so that people know what they are seeing and really aren't influenced inappropriately.

If AMI was working with the Saudi government in any way and didn't disclose it they may have to add a Farrah violation to their list of legal woes.

CABRERA: Meantime, related to the Saudis about all this, the White House still failed to report to Congress about the killing of Jamal Khashoggi and who may be responsible. Was MBS responsible? What comes next?

VINOGRAD: Well, all options really aren't on the table because the executive branch is not fulfilling its legally mandated obligations to report what happened. That really leaves us with congressional action and private sector action.

On the congressional side, they could block arms sales to the Saudi government under something called the arms expert-control act. President Trump said he sold $110 billion to Saudi Arabia which isn't actually factually accurate, but if those go forward, Congress could block them.

They could also try to pass a veto-proof bill that imposes more sanctions on MBS or Saudi officials similar to what they did on Russia sanctions. And while all that is happening, Ana, the private sector has a really big role to play here. We have not seen massive divestment from Saudi Arabia by private sector companies. And that is something that could have a lot of leverage over the Saudi government.

CABRERA: It is interesting. I haven't heard that one before. Thank you, Sam Vinograd, as always.

VINOGRAD: Thanks.

CABRERA: It is the biggest night in music. But one Grammy-nominated artist won't be there to collect any awards if he wins. Rapper 21 Savage, the British born rapper arrested by ICE and facing deportation. How the hip hop community is rallying behind him next.

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[19:52:53] CABRERA: Lots of music fans are excited to see their favorite artist perform tonight at the 61st annual Grammy awards but a popular hip-hop star won't be on stage. Atlanta-based rapper 21 Savage sits in an ICE detention center awaiting immigration proceedings that could end with his deportation.

CNN's Nick Valencia reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is the cross on your forehead signify?

21 SAVAGE, RAPPER: It's a knife.

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was in this now infamous moment during a 2016 interview that 21 Savage was catapulted into pop culture fame. To be fair, the rapper had already created a healthy buzz for himself on the streets of Atlanta, but it was his answer about the knife tattooed on his face that fueled his gangster image and hip-hop super stardom.

21 SAVAGE: I didn't grew up in Atlanta, really. Everybody know me. If you don't, you isn't --.

VALENCIA: At Super Bowl Sunday, the world found out that 21 Savage wasn't really from Atlanta either. The artist, who had risen from the top of the hip-hop industry propelled by his Atlanta bona fide, was actually born in east London, brought to the U.S. at the age of seven, according to his immigration attorney. 21 left for a month in 2005 only to come back. By the summer of 2006, his parents failed to renew his visa. Immigration and customs official say, the 26-year-old has been living in the U.S. illegally ever since.

21 SAVAGE: I will probably wear this jacket on the way to have tea and crumpets on a beautiful Monday morning.

VALENCIA: So who is 21 Savage? If you never heard of him, you should know that he is a widely celebrated musician. At this year's Grammys, he is up for two awards, including record of the year for his feature on the smash hit "Rock Star." His name is synonymous with trap music, a type rap that originated in

Atlanta, gritty, raw, and filled with epithets about drug deals and gang life.

According a law enforcement source with knowledge of his arrest, the rapper was caught up in the targeted apprehension of another rapper he was with that night in Atlanta. Once police became aware of his overstayed visa, he was turned over to ICE for removal proceedings. He is now in immigration custody, waiting for a federal judge to decide if he will be deported or he will be able to stay in the U.S.

While his arrest came as a shock to many, to some of his closest friends, it was no coincidence. They say after 21 started to speak out publicly against some Trump administration policies, that police targeted him to try to make an example out of him. One local Atlanta rapper took to social media to say doesn't matter where 21 was born. He is and will always be from this city.

Nick Valencia, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

[19:55:34] CABRERA: And as we go to break, a quick programming note about a CNN Special Report tonight. Laurie Segall talks exclusively with Facebook insiders. What is really going on inside the most powerful social media company on earth?

"Facebook at 15. It is complicated" airs tonight at 9:00 here on CNN.

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[20:00:05] CABRERA: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. Thanks for rolling with me. I'm ANA Cabrera in New York.