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White House Still Won't Say if Trump Will Sign Border Deal; Trump Has List of Options to Get Wall Funding Through Executive Powers; Interview with Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA); McConnell Says Senate Will Vote on Green New Deal; Howard Schultz Says He Would Not Drop Out of Race if Became Threat to Democrat Candidate. Aired 11- 11:30a ET

Aired February 13, 2019 - 11:00   ET


[11:00:00] JIM SCUITTO, CNN ANCHOR: And it affects your kid and it affects other kids in the community.


SCIUTTO: That's an obligation.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thank you very much.

In simplest terms get your kids vaccinated. Just do it. It's your responsibility.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Exactly. And do it on time. Absolutely.

Thank you all for being with us today. I'm Poppy Harlow. I'll see you back in New York tomorrow morning.

SCIUTTO: We'll be welcoming you back. I'm Jim Sciutto, in New York.

"AT THIS HOUR" with Kate Bolduan starts now.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan.

The deal was on and off, a long shot, and then within reach. Today, it seems closer than they've ever been. Still, the biggest question leading up to another government shutdown deadline is, will the president sign it. Right now, on Capitol Hill, congressional negotiators are still coming up with the text of the deal they struck to keep the government open and give some money toward border security, including a barrier. Republicans and Democrats behind closed doors this morning trying to sell the plan to their own parties.

One thing is certain, that it looks like there's still work to be done when it comes to the president. Listen.


SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUE PRESS SECRETARY: We want to see what the final piece of legislation looks like. It's hard to say definitively whether the president is going to sign it until we know everything that's in it.

The president isn't fully happy, as he said yesterday, with everything that's in the legislation, but there are some positive pieces of it. One way or the other, and one thing you can be sure of, is, at the end of the day, the president is going to build the wall.


BOLDUAN: And I likely don't need to remind you at this point, but the clock is running out. Washington has until Friday to get something passed and the president to sign it. With basically everyone saying they think they can avoid a shutdown this time, is anyone ready to say this is going to be an easy race to the finish?

CNN's Dana Bash, CNN's Phil Mattingly standing by with the latest.

Dana, let me start with you.

You heard what Sarah Sanders said there just a short time ago. What are your sources telling you, though?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That the president is telling people that he does intend to sign this bill. That's according to two people who have spoken to the president. They are also saying that the president is making clear privately what we just heard from Sarah Sanders. He's not happy, but he also understands now, from experience, the perils of a government shutdown. We are up against it. And if and when this bill comes to his desk, he is going to have to sign it. That is what he is saying, at least has been over the past 24 hours privately to people he's talking to. That's what I'm told. But he's also going to make clear when he does it that he's going to use other executive powers to try to find more money to keep building that wall.

BOLDUAN: So, Phil, what does Congress need to do to get at least through this first step to get the bill passed by Friday?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Finish writing it would be a good start.



BOLDUAN: Genius.

MATTINGLY: And Kate, you and Dana know well, this process. Obviously, reaching the deal is an important part but putting it to paper is not an easy part. It's an arduous process, particularly given that this isn't just about border security. This is a seven- funding-bill package, more than a thousand pages, a lot of in-the- weeds details to draft. I'm hold at this moment the process is moving along quicker than they thought it would be at this point. We could see some legislative text later this afternoon, which will kick everything into high gear. Behind closed doors, you've seen Republicans yesterday, Democrats in the House today, meet with their members, trying to express optimism for the deal, why people should get behind it. I'm told House Democrats this morning were generally very positive in their reception to the agreement.

As to what Speaker Pelosi had to say, well, take a listen.


REP. NANCY PELOSI, (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: As with all compromises, I say to people support the bill for what is in it, don't judge it for what is not in it.

You can't pass it until it's ready. And when it's ready, we'll be ready to pass it.


MATTINGLY: The expectation is the House will move first, likely tomorrow night, the Senate will follow in short order. The expectation in both chambers is they will be able to pass it, probably by a pretty decent margin. First things first, got to actually finish writing the bill.

BOLDUAN: Yes. I think so. That sounds so genius and so easy and so not at the same time.

Dana, let's say this easy/hard stuff happens and the president does sign the bill. Can you lay out what the next steps are in terms of more funding for the wall? What do things look like right now?

BASH: He has been presented and he has even talked about this publicly a whole list of option where is he can use his executive power to get more money. Not the kind of money he's asking for, let's be clear.


BASH: He was asking for $5.6 billion, $5.7 billion. Even with the executive powers he has, the pots of money will not get him up to that number after he signs his bill. But there are pots of money. You see on the screen, the biggest, $3.6 billion, is part of a pretty big deal if he did, which is declaring a national emergency. We have been talking about the fact that Republicans in Congress, starting with the leader in the Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, has been saying, don't do that because if a Democratic president did that, it would be considered by far an overreach of executive powers.

[11:05:24] But the other things on that screen, smaller pots coming from the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Defense. Those are other areas where the president can use executive authority to take that money and put it toward the continuing of the building of the wall, in addition to the money he's going to get for border security broadly in this bill, presuming the thousand or so pages are put into legislative text and pass the House and the Senate, as Phil described.

(CROSSTALK) BASH: We've seen this before.


BASH: Can I just throw this other thing out there?


BASH: Kate, you and I saw many times covering the Hill together -- and I know Phil has as well -- when you have these giant bills, there sometimes are things in these bills that nobody anticipates that cause some last-minute problems so --


BASH: So you never know.

BOLDUAN: You never know.

And, Phil, what are your hearing about what Republicans are doing behind the scenes to try to get the president to a place of yes with this deal?

MATTINGLY: I think what Dana laid out in terms of other options outside of legislation was actually an important pitch for Republicans. I'm told at this moment Republicans still have not gotten an explicit assurance the president will sign this bill. But I had several Republican aides send me Dana's story this morning that the president was going to sign it with enthusiasm. But you have seen, both publicly and behind the scenes, Senate Republicans, in particular, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on down, trying to stress this is a multistep process. They're using the word "down payment." They're talking about how this is part of a broader concept. They're focusing on the idea that this is more than just a border barrier money bill, this is a broader Homeland Security bill. In fact, Senator Richard Shelby spoke by phone to the president last night, and he made a key point that when you put it all together on border security, technology and infrastructure, the border barriers as well, personnel, it comes out to about $23 billion. How effective was that talking point? After the call with Senator Shelby, President Trump tweeted that $23 billion number out. That's what we're seeing right now. Republicans trying to focus on the messaging to the president that, sure, maybe you didn't get everything you want, but you did get a lot to help on the issue that you think is most prominent to your administration, to your future campaign and, therefore, that's why you sign it. We'll see if he does.

Real quick, there are a couple of minor issues still being worked out right now. One in particular, Violence Against Women Act, an extension of that. There's a little bit of fight there. There's a little bit of a tiff over federal contractor back pay. Democrats and Republicans going back and forth on that. Aides in both parties tell me that won't sink the deal but those outstanding smaller issues are really kind of front and center right now.

BOLDUAN: Then you get to read a thousand pages and tell us what happens in it when it drops. Then come out and read it for us.

Great to see you, guys. Thank you so much.

It sounds so easy. No, not even close.

Let's go right now with Democratic Congressman John Garamendi, of California, joining me now.

Garamendi just introduced a bill to prevent the president from being able to use an emergency declaration to get additional money for the border wall.

I want to ask you about that in just a second. But I do want to ask you, Congressman, what you are hearing. Dana and Phil have their ear to the ground always. What are you hearing? Is everything moving in the direction of passage or do you see snags?

REP. JOHN GARAMENDI, (D), CALIFORNIA: I think Dana and Phil are right on. A big rumor I've heard in our own caucus this morning very positive. There are at the moment no poison pills we're aware of, although they could slip in. I think we're on path to get this thing to the president by Friday, well before the deadline when a shutdown would occur. Will something trip it up? Well, the most important thing that could trip it up is a veto by the president. I don't think that's going to happen.

BOLDUAN: This might go without saying, but put it on the record, you're definitely going to support it, even though you haven't seen a full legislative tax yet?

GARAMENDI: That's correct. I will support it. If there's a poison pill in there, that would be a very deadly poison pill for me to take part in shutting down the government. I think most of the Democrats feel that way. As Dana and Phil were talking about, this is not the end of the process. This is actually last year's process. Next year's process is underway now and that is the writing of the next appropriation bill and many of these issues will be back on top of the agenda.

BOLDUAN: Congressman, the White House press secretary said this morning that, right now, they're not committing to whether the president will sign onto this plan or not. That might just be a statement of reality. You don't know what the president is going to do until he does it.


[11:10:00] BOLDUAN: But does that make it harder for Republicans to sign on?

GARAMENDI: I don't think so. There's no appetite -- and I've talked to Democrats and Republicans in both the Senate and the House -- there's no appetite for a shutdown. We want to keep the government operating and keep it operating, Democrats and Republicans alike, from the most conservative to the most pregnantive. BOLDUAN: All of the reporting is that the president is likely not

going to go the route of declaring a national emergency to get more money with the wall.


BOLDUAN: With that said, is your bill necessary?

GARAMENDI: It is. It is. The legislation that we have would repeal the 1986 provision that was written during the height of the nuclear standoff during the Reagan administration to give the president the power to move public works money that the Army Corps of Engineers has to deal with a nuclear attack. We're not there today, and God help us if we ever get back to that situation. So this has never been used. Certainly, there's no justification for the president to you it today. We just want to make sure that it's not there. Should we come to the need for public works projects, walls or others, we have a way of doing it. It's called the Constitution. Come to the Congress, go through the appropriation process, make a determination, whether it's appropriate and useful to spend money on that. Right now, there's $37 billion the president could conceivably take out of communities around the nation, money that is desperately needed for economic development, for the waterways, for the ports, and even more important for flood protection in Houston and California and Puerto Rico and other places. We don't want him to do that. And I know for a fact that states and local communities are gearing up to file a lawsuit that the president is using a sham emergency to override the constitutional authority of Congress to appropriate money. Guaranteed lawsuit. Guaranteed that some court is going to say, yes, you're right, we're going to stop the president.

BOLDUAN: And that -- that is if he would go the route of declaring an emergency declaration.


BOLDUAN: It's in the weed. But there's another route that he could go, which is by finding pots of money by combing through the law, finding pots of money to put toward the wall. I wonder, even if your bill was taken up and passed and signed by the president, and that's a big if --


BOLDUAN: -- fellow Democrats on the Hill think the president still has this way of going around Congress to get money.

Let me play you what the House Budget Committee chairman, John Yarmuth, told me just yesterday.


JOHN YARMUTH, (D-KY), CHAIRMAN, HOUSE BUDGET COMMITTEE: It's my understanding that there are certain pockets of money that the administration can reprogram. Some of it they just have to notify Congress they're doing. Other pockets they have to actually request permission from Congress. So I think they'll take the steps of least resistance first, find the money they might have where they only have to notify us or maybe don't even have to. So we would have -- clearly, there are some things we cannot prevent. And we have to live with that.


BOLDUAN: And you have to live with that. Do you agree?

GARAMENDI: No, I don't agree. Yarmuth is correct on the technical details. However, there's this thing called we don't vacate the field. If the president goes over and overrides the appropriation process, overrides the authority of Congress by moving significant amounts of money from one program to another, there's a thing called we'll see you tomorrow, Mr. President. You're going to have to come back here for all of your programs for everything. So the president needs to be careful about that. He's already learned what happens when you try to override the authority of Congress. That was a 35-day shutdown. He doesn't want that again. I would hope he doesn't want that again.

In addition to that, some of those authorities that he has, and one that I'm particularly concerned about -- because I spent the last eight years working on the U.S. Coast Guard -- the U.S. Coast Guard interdicts 10 times the amount of drugs that is the Border Patrol does on the Mexican border. There's a possibility of about a billion dollars that we've appropriated to rebuild Coast Guard facilities that are absolutely essential to protect the coast of the United States. The Coast Guard provides a wall 1500 miles at sea. Could the president take that money? He could, but I guarantee you, there would be tomorrow, and when tomorrow comes, the president will pay a heavy price in other things that he might think are think are important.

BOLDUAN: That sounds like quite a threat coming from you.

GARAMENDI: Well, take it for what it is. I don't say things lightly. And I know that my colleagues, who are concerned about programs that they've worked on over the years, are just as interested in making sure that those programs, whatever they may be, many of those important to individual communities, as we talked about with the civil works project of the Army Corps of Engineers, communities that need to be protected from floods, from hurricanes, tornados and the economy, the commerce of the rivers. All of those things are important to us. We represent these communities and we're not going to stand by as the president rips off programs those communities desperately need to protect the citizens whose lives may be endangered.

[11:15:31] BOLDUAN: To be clear, there's no way you could stop him from doing it, prevent it on the front end from doing it --


BOLDUAN: -- but you're saying, you've got to come to us for money later, and that's where he'll pay a price?

GARAMENDI: Absolutely, he'll pay a price. In some cases, he has to, as Mr. Yarmuth said, he has to go and get prior permission. Other cases, he has to report back. In both cases, he does not have constitutional authority to appropriate money. The Congress of the United States, the House and the Senate, are the only branch of government of the three that has the power to say we will spend money on this or that and we will raise taxes to pay for it. That's our responsibility. The president's responsibility is to carry out those appropriations and laws.

BOLDUAN: Congress Garamendi, thank you for coming in.

GARAMENDI: My pleasure. Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Coming up for us, why is the top Republican in the Senate calling for a vote on the Democrats' Green New Deal? A hint: It has less to do with climate change and everything to do with 2020.

Plus, the top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee says he's had it with Donald Trump's former attorney. Why? And what's going to happen now?


[11:21:05] BOLDUAN: It was almost an offhand comment or so it seemed from the top Republican in the Senate yesterday. Listen.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, (R-KY), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: I've noted with great interest the Green New Deal. And we're going to be voting on that in the Senate. We'll give everybody an opportunity to go on record and see how they feel about the Green New Deal.


BOLDUAN: But make no mistake, it is a new political power play by Senator McConnell. Why else would the Republian leader want to hold a vote on the Green New Deal, a sweeping climate change bill? It has no dollar amount attached to it. It's short on specifics right now. It hasn't gone anywhere near a committee. Yet it promises things like a complete shift to renewable and zero-emissions energy sources by 2030 and promises a federal jobs guarantee. Maybe he just wants to put Democrats on the spot, including those running for president.

Here's what Democratic Senator and president candidate, Amy Klobuchar, says about it.


SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR, (D), MINNESOTA: I'm in favor of it simply because I see it as a framework to jumpstart a discussion.

We need to put out a negotiating bid here. I don't see it as something that we can get rid of all these industries or do this in a few years. That doesn't make sense to me. Or reduce air travel. But what does make sense to me is to start doing concrete things and put some aspirations out there on climate change. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: All right, Chris Cillizza is joining me now with more.

I love the face, Chris. This is one of the issues that you say Democrats are, in a way helping, Donald Trump toward reelection. Why?

CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER & CNN EDITOR-AT-LARGE: Amy Klobuchar gets at it, which is she's for the Green New Deal, but she doesn't think it will actually work. We can't do all the things that the Green New Deal says. So you're not really for it. The issue is that you're talking about a radical rethinking of the American economy to deal with climate change. It's hugely expensive. No price tag has been put on it on purpose because the price tag would be vast and it would start with at as in trillions of dollars. If you listened to Donald Trump speak in El Paso on Monday night, he repeatedly talked about it. They're trying to get rid of air travel and coal energy and everything that you like and hold dear. How are they going to take a train to Hawaii, he asked. This is the sort of thing he can seize onto paint Democrats as out of step.

BOLDUAN: When McConnell says he's going to put the deal up for a vote, he's doing so to make a political point. As we see, one, he doesn't support it. Two, we know the president would never sign something like this into law. Does this put the Democratic Senators that are going to run or want to run, does it put them in a tough spot?

CILLIZZA: Yes, no question. The base of their party wants this. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, in the House, and Markey, from Massachusetts, in the Senate. There's a reason this has been introduced, because they view the need for radical change in the way which we approach energy in this country and the economy in this country and climate change in this country. McConnell, because he's been in politics for so long, that's how you get to not crack a smile in that clip you showed, Kate, where he's talking about he wants to have a vote on the Green New Deal. He is doing this purely for show reasons. He wants to put these people on the record.

I will note that Mitch McConnell during the government shutdown repeatedly rejected the idea of show votes because he said it was pointless. Well, this is a show vote, 100 percent.

BOLDUAN: And is the prerogative of the leader in charge of the chamber.

CILLIZZA: That's right.


BOLDUAN: As we've seen it many times before.

Howard Schultz called the Green New Deal not realistic and immoral during the CNN town hall last night. He also said he wouldn't be a spoiler if he got in the race as an Independent. But he wouldn't commit to dropping out of the race if it became apparent that he was drawing votes away from the Democratic nominee. How can both of these things be true?

[11:25:17] CILLIZZA: Well, they can't. I mean, I thought that town hall was fascinating television, but a disaster for Howard Schultz. He has no policy positions. His policy position -- our colleague, Poppy Harlow, pressed him on health care, the Green New Deal, immigration, prescription drug prices. His answer literally to everything, Kate -- I read through the transcript -- was this, well, we need more humility and we need to get away from the revenge politics of the left and right. That's not a policy. It's not even close to one.

BOLDUAN: Well, he hasn't gotten in the race yet. We'll see what that town hall did to decisions.

Good to see you, man. Thank you.

CILLIZZA: Thanks, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Breaking this morning, Paul Manafort's attorneys are now claiming that the former Trump campaign chairman did not lie to the special counsel. That's according to a new court filing. What does this mean now in the fight that Paul Manafort has been fighting in court for what seems like forever. What does this mean? What's going to happen in court now? Details, next.