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Senate Unveils Border and Aid Deal; Strikes on Houthi Targets; Memorable Grammy Moments. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired February 05, 2024 - 09:30   ET



LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: From the National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Steve Daines. He's a member of Republican leadership. He said that this bill does not go far enough. That he will not be supporting it. That, obviously, is significant because he's part of the Republican leadership team and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has repeatedly said that he thinks this effort was done in good faith. He's been very supportive of Republicans needing to consider this legislation. And he, in fact, sent out a statement last night saying that all of his Republican members needed to be prepared to act this week.

So, it's going to be really interesting to see where the votes land in the Senate. You also have people like Senator Mike Lee of Utah tweeting last night that this bill was so bad they think the Republican Party in the Senate needs new leadership.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: And, of course, Mike Johnson was saying this wasn't going anywhere, even before he saw the bill. What's he saying now? What are other Republicans in the House saying now?

FOX: Yes, a really notable tweet last night from Majority Leader Steve Scalise, who said this bill is not even going to get a vote on the floor of the House of Representatives.

You also have Mike Johnson saying that this bill is dead on arrival in the House.

And the House GOP's official accounts this morning, John, tweeting "kill the bill" with statements from several House Republican members who are opposed to this legislation.

We should just remind people, this isn't just a border bill, though. This bill is paired with funding for Ukraine aid, with Israel aid, with aid in the Indo-Pacific. It is a maximum national security piece of legislation that a lot of Republicans think is essential even if there is this fight within the party about whether or not this border deal is enough.


BERMAN: It is important to watch what happens over the next few days and listen very carefully to what people say.

Lauren Fox, we're lucky to have you there. Thank you.



Let's talk more about this, this moment, with CNN's senior political analyst and anchor John Avlon, and national politics report for "Axios" Sophia Cai.

John, Schumer's message last night, again this morning, was that senators need to drown out the noise of politics and of politicians. But is that what it is? I mean is it drowning out the noise? Is that what's -- is that what is going to be required right now?

JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: They need -- it requires them to have the focus of doing their job. It requires them not to over index Donald Trump's demands. It requires them not to over index the demands of folks on the extremes of the party. It requires the middle 60 in the Senate to do what they know is right and what so many have worked hard to do across bipartisan lines, come up with a bill that solves the border crisis, which was the Republican demand and request. This does more than anything in decades. And then also tie that to aid for Ukraine, aid for Israel, support for Taiwan. A failure to pass this is a dereliction of duty. It is a profile in cowardice. And those are the stakes. And that's the case to be made, do your job.

BOLDUAN: The stakes do seem to be high, Sophia, on -- politically and policy-wise. I mean as John's pointing out, there - it has -- if this would pass, the changes to the border, as is written in the text and in the summary, this hasn't happened in decades. The noise that Schumer seems to be talking about is a specific thing, it's Donald Trump today. Can both sides, do you see, claim a political win, which, in the politics of today is required with this one, or does this still remain a zero-sum game?

SOPHIA CAI, NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER, "AXIOS": I don't know, Kate. I think for Republicans they see it as more of a political win for Biden. And so that's why you see Trump calling Speaker Johnson. You know, we don't know exactly what the contents of that conversation look like, but it was somewhere along the lines of, don't do this, and that's why you see in the House Speaker Johnson, Steve Scalise, Elise Stefanik, all extremely negative on the bill.

And, you know, of course we don't know what the fate of the bill is. But the reason really is Trump, is because he sees this as more of a win for his rival, Joe Biden, in the general election.

BOLDUAN: So, let's take that as the political reality, John.


BOLDUAN: What then is going to convince lawmakers, senators is what we're focused on now, what is going to need to happen, or what do you think can happen, if anything, in the next three days for them to agree to move ahead with this procedural vote, this first key test vote that would be coming Wednesday? What reward? What would convince them?

AVLON: The colleagues who have done the hard work to come up with a solution. People say, Washington doesn't get anything done. Prove that you can get something done. Don't let the extremes and Donald Trump stop people from having faith that government can work. And take a big step back.

When you're --

BOLDUAN: And doesn't this offer -

AVLON: Keep going.

BOLDUAN: Take - like, I'm looking at it now. Try to look at -- could they look at it through the different lens, which is avoid the extremes. But when you're all in it together, there's a lot of political cover for everybody.


AVLON: There is. And there should be strength in that number. And that's the strength of the center ultimately.

Look, the other thing to do is take a step back. I love doing this in politics. Take a step back. This about how this will look in 20 years. Do you want to be part of the solution to the boarder that you've been complaining about because people are rightly concerned, or do you want to have done nothing because you were afraid someone else might get credit? Ronald Reagan used to say, it's amazing how much you can get done if you don't care who gets the credit.

The other thing is - is Ukraine. The people who were in act - it's sort of kowtowing to this and separating out Ukraine. They will be responsible for abandoning an American ally to Russian aggression. They will be Putin's enablers. All because they're afraid of Donald Trump. And Donald Trump's policies make America weaker on the world stage, as well as at home, symbolized by this pushback on solutions to two bipartisan bills.

BOLDUAN: It sure doesn't seem that they're going to have an opportunity, Sophia, to get a bill of -- with this kind of strength on the border and money to the border security than they're - than in a few months even, let alone in this moment.

The schedule, really quick. Our friends at "Punch Bowl" reminded us last week this, "after this week," follow me, "the Senate is scheduled to leave town for two weeks during the Presidents' Day recess. In fact, the House and Senate will be in session at the same time for just three days this month according to the current schedule."

OK, put aside politics for just a second, when you're looking at procedure, the schedule here is also not helping.

CAI: Yes, absolutely not. I mean we know that -- you know, I -- a lot of lawmakers said, look, like, you should have done this before winter recess, before the time where all of the lawmakers want to get out. And the one thing that's kind of lighting a fire under them is, you know, is spending time with their families. So, you know, I think, to your point, the three days' overlap just highlights the kind of urgency that (INAUDIBLE) --

BOLDUAN: Jet fuel - jet fuel is the motivator on Capitol Hill.

AVLON: Jet fuel is the motivator. But - but - but, I'm sorry, I can't get over the irony of the fact that the same folks who are trying to kill the bill right now were the ones who were saying you had to slow roll it before the holiday break because it was too fast to come up with anything that's a comprehensive plan that could end (ph) majority vote. It's almost like they wanted to kill it from the beginning.

BOLDUAN: Says you - and you know exactly what John Avlon is saying here.


BOLDUAN: All right, let's see - let's see what the - what happens in the next three days will be absolutely critical for what this is going to look like and where this is going to end up.

AVLON: That's right.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, guys.


SARA SIDNER, CNN ANCHOR: All right. That was a nice, spirited conversation. I love that.

Still ahead, Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrives in the Middle East again as the Biden administration is warning, the strikes carried out over the weekend are just the beginning.

And another issue for Boeing and the 737 Max 9. You remember what happened with the door that came flying off? Well, the new repair needed, and what Boeing is saying about it this morning.



BERMAN: All right, new this morning, Iran's foreign ministry is condemning the U.S. Strikes against Iranian-backed militias in three countries. We're talking about the strikes that took place first on Friday in Iraq and Syria, and also the strike against Yemen, which intensified over the weekend. The White House National Security Adviser tells CNN the U.S. is not done yet and will take further action. The U.S. launched a series of strikes in Iraq and Syria in response to the killing of three U.S. soldiers. Defense officials say they hit 84 of 85 intended targets. A day later, the U.S. forces targeted the Houthis in Yemen with three dozen strikes across 13 locations. Also today we are watching as Secretary of State Antony Blinken

arrives in the Middle East as he presses for a deal to release the hostages in Gaza.

With me now the CNN military analyst, former NATO supreme allied commander, General Wesley Clark.

General Clark, thank you for being with us.


BERMAN: The strikes that took place, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and now the White House says there could still be more. I'll put video up here so people can see the beginning of this mission against Yemen, the firing from the sea vessels here. What would more strikes look like in your mind?

CLARK: Well, I think that what we're doing right now, John, is we're assessing what's going on in the region. We're listening, we're looking, we're listening not only to the political statements but what people are saying on their radio, their communications. We're picking up information indirectly from diplomats in other nations. And we're looking to see if these forces that we struck are reconstituting, preparing to restrike us, and we're watching for other targets to emerge.

So, I think it's in the interest of the White House and the United States to have a second set of strikes if they can find the appropriate targets and it makes sense. It's going to take a while, assuming that the strikes really do hit the targets that were essential in the first wave, it's going to take a while for the terrorists to reform anyway. A week, two weeks, three weeks. So, before we really expect any continuation of that kind of action from Syria.

Yemen's a different case and so we should be overflying Syria with reconnaissance and looking at it from eyes from the sky and striking momentarily whenever we see any - any threatening activities.

BERMAN: General, what's the difference, if any, between deterrence, which the administration has said this is part of, and just warfare?

CLARK: Well, when -- you can -- you can wage warfare to an objective. So, you can destroy an enemy force through warfare, and presumably that's the end of the conflict.


Deterrence is causing the enemy not to want to strike you for fear or because he doesn't have the capacity. So, the idea here is to show American strength and then let the enemy feel this and say, gee, I don't want to go any further. And so that would be the idea of the deterrence here.

The point, though, is that the source of the trouble is really not either Yemen or Syria and Iraq. It's really Iran. And so the question here that the administration has to grapple with is, are these strikes really changing the strategic intent of Iran or is it simply going to duck down, keep its head below the (INAUDIBLE), so to speak, and then wait for the bullets to stop and raise up again and continue the same thing?

You know, this has been a 40-year struggle against Iran, and nothing we've done so far has really changed their strategic intent to drive us out of the Middle East and to - and to overrun and destroy Israel.

BERMAN: In fact, insofar as the United States has been speaking publicly about this, one of the things they've been making clear is they're not striking Iran proper. So, what would it take to change Iranian behavior without striking Iran?

CLARK: Well, I think one thing that argues in the favor of the United States is, this regime is unpopular inside Iran. People there have protested numerous times against it. There's still a large volume of -- a large number of people out there who would love to take to the streets and overthrow this government. In fact, when you talk to - when I talk to my friends in Iran and connected to Iran, they tell me, they said, it looks like the United States is complicit with this - with this regime in Iran because they're giving them money because they keep telling them we're not going to strike and so forth. So, you don't know how strong the internal opposition is, but clearly it worries the Iranian government, so they're playing a very cagey, sly game against us, trying to hang on to their objective, also trying to maintain control of their population. They are in a vulnerable position, and I think the more we do to undercut their position at home, the greater effect our military deterrence can have.

BERMAN: General Wesley Clark, thank you so much for you time this morning. Appreciate it.


BOLDUAN: A big World Cup win for one U.S. city. The announcement from FIFA that just came in today.

And some of the moments from music's biggest night that people are still talking about today. An arrest, an emotional homecoming, an historic album of the year win and a Taylor Swift announcement from the stage.


TAYLOR SWIFT, SINGER: I want to say thank you to the fans by telling you a secret that I've been keeping from you for the last two years.




(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRACY CHAMPMAN AND LUKE COMBS (singing): So I remember when we were driving, driving in your car. Speeding so fast, I felt like I was drunk. City lights lay out before us, and your arm felt nice wrapped round my shoulder. And I-I, had a feeling that I belonged. I-I had a feeling I could be someone, be someone, be someone.


SIDNER: I don't know about you guys, but I actually cried. That was so beautiful last night. One of the incredible Grammy moments that had some of the biggest names in music on their feet last night. You saw Taylor Swift standing up there clapping. Tracy Chapman singing her classic song "Fast Car" with country singer Luke Combs, whose cover reintroduced the song to a new generation after 35 years. It was an extremely rare live performance. We haven't seen Chapman do this song for decades.

But there was some other big news of the night. Taylor Swift making history.

CNN's Elizabeth Wagmeister is in Los Angeles.

It is not shocking that Taylor Swift made some big news last night because she generally does.

Tell us what happened.

ELIZABETH WAGMEISTER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: That is correct. Taylor Swift seems to always be the headline whenever she shows up to an awards show.

She made history, winning Album of the Year, which is now her fourth win in that category. She was previously tied with none other than Frank Sinatra and Stevie Wonder. And now she has even surpassed those legends.

But that's not all, Sara. Taylor making a huge announcement last night. She has another new album coming on the way. It will be here April 19th. So, look, we are probably going to see her at next year's Grammys as well.

But she also has a lot of people talking this morning because Celine Dion came out, and she's the one who presented the award to Taylor Swift. It was a big surprise. Of course, Celine has been very open about her health struggles lately. Well, when Taylor got on stage, she didn't acknowledge Celine Dion at all. So, a lot of people were curious about that. But as we see right here, the two were hamming it up backstage. So, it seems everything is OK.

Now, everything is also going very well for Miley Cyrus, who had a huge night winning her first Grammy ever, which is hard to believe, and she also had a fantastic performance.

Let's take a quick look at that here.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MILEY CYRUS, SINGER: I didn't want to leave you, but had you. I didn't want to fright, but we did. Started to cry. Then remembered, I just won my first Grammy!


WAGMEISTER: I was in the room, and this was such a moment. Everybody was cracking up. Miley was just off the cuff. And even if you're as big of a star as her, she clearly was so thrilled and it's so exciting to win your first Grammy.

Now, not having a great night, the rapper, Killer Mike. Listen to this, Sara. He wins three Grammys, only then to be escorted away in handcuffs by police. We are still waiting for all of the information, but Killer Mike was booked on a misdemeanor battery charge stemming from an altercation that the LAPD tells us at CNN happened near the arena.


Again, though, still waiting on more information to see exactly what happened there, but he was released shortly after.

SIDNER: Goodness gracious there was a lot going on at the Grammys last night.

There was also -- politics entered the room, terrorism entered the room. There was acknowledgement of the victims of the Nova Music Festival from the October attacks in Israel and what is happening in Gaza. What more can you tell us about that moment and those moments?

WAGMEISTER: Yes. You know, awards shows are often used to address larger issues happening in the world. And this whole awards season, the Grammys was the first to do so after the Golden Globes and the Emmys did not. CEO of the Recording Academy, Harvey Mason Jr., he got on stage and he spoke about the lives lost at the Nova Festival in Israel. He said that music is a calming force that could bring us all together. It should unify us. And then there was this moment with a string quartet on stage and Harvey Mason Jr. noted that these musicians were Israeli and Palestinian, really showing that, again, music can bring unity to all of us.

SIDNER: Yes, there were some really beautiful moments. That being one of them.

Elizabeth, I've got to tell you, I was pretty jealous that you were there and I couldn't join you. But, those are the brakes.

Thank you so much. Appreciate it.

WAGMEISTER: Next year. Next year you're coming with me, Sara.

SIDNER: Sounds good. I'm writing it down.


BERMAN: You're your own Grammys party, Sara Sidner.

All right, nearly 40 million people under flood advisories this morning. Powerful winds taking down trees. We will show you the areas under highest alert.