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Rescues Under Way Amid Flood Emergencies In New York And New Jersey; Divided House GOP Meets As U.S. On Brink Of Government Shutdown; First Trump Co-Defendant Pleads Guilty In Georgia Election Case; Suspect Arrested For 1996 Murder Of Rapper Tupac Shakur; McCarthy Wants Senate Not To Include Ukraine Aid In Shutdown Talks; Trailblazing Senator Dianne Feinstein Dies At Age 90. Aired 6-7p ET
Aired September 29, 2023 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPODENT: Only about one point something million of that is actually the house. 6-plus million is the land. The land around here is very valuable, and that is why here in L.A., in this part of L.A., people love to knock stuff down. Jake?
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, I'll bet. Nick Watt, thanks so much.
Coming up Sunday, which will be day one of the latest U.S. government shutdown, I'll speak live, with one of those being blamed for the shutdown, Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz of Florida, that's Sunday morning on State of the Union at 9:00 Eastern and again at noon.
Our coverage continues now with Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM. I will see you Sunday morning.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, breaking news, states of emergency are in effect right now in New York and New Jersey, as millions are in danger from torrential rains and rapid flooding. Rescues underway as water pours into the streets, basements and subways.
Also breaking, divided House Republicans meet behind closed doors as Congress is about to plunge the nation into a crippling government shutdown following a new defeat for the speaker, Kevin McCarthy. We'll get reaction from a key House Republican, Marc Molinaro, and a Biden cabinet member, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.
And the first Trump co-defended, get this, pleads guilty, and agrees to cooperate in the Georgia election subversion case after reaching a deal with prosecutors. Could Bail Bondsman Scott Hall's cooperation be damaging for Trump?
Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Right now, we're following multiple breaking stories. We'll have the latest on the government shutdown. That's coming up shortly. But right now, the governors of both New York and New Jersey have just declared states of emergency because of flash flooding and torrential rain in their states. In New York City, the rising waters have flooded roads and subways and led to calls for rescue from emergency responders.
CNN's Polo Sandoval is in Brooklyn for us. Polo, how extensive and disruptive is this flooding right now?
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was very disruptive. Well, if any time you have about a month's worth of rain in only a few hours, that is really just a recipe for a nightmare of a day for America's largest city, and it's precisely what we saw.
There is a break in the rain, at least for the moment, but the threat of rain into the evening and into the overnight hours means that that state of emergency is still in place, as are some of those flooding threats, roads still ponding on some of the roadways. What actually looks like a rushing stream here leads up to the entrance to Brooklyn's Prospect Park, all of this coming out of the park and eventually onto the roadways.
Because of that break, though, Wolf, if we have seen more people venture out, not only on foot, but also on the roadway, in their vehicles.
But those torrential rains earlier this morning really having a massive devastating effect for commuters. You mentioned the subway system that was partially paralyzed earlier this morning, all three of the major New York City airports also feeling an impact, however, no closures to report, no closures to report at the airport.
And, finally, although they did have well over a dozen rescues that had to take place during the peak of the storm, Wolf, we have not, according to authorities, received any reports of any fatalities or any injuries as a result of the storm.
BLITZER: Polo, do New Yorkers feel they got enough warning as far as the flooding is concerned?
SANDOVAL: New York City Mayor Eric Adams under some criticism, feeling some criticism and taking some tough questions from reporters earlier today about the advanced notice. The city responding, saying that it is confident that during the initial travel advisers that were issued yesterday, that should have provided the residents of New York City with some time.
However, that criticism still does remain. Many people here would have liked to have seen that state of emergency in place and perhaps even allowed some of the students to remain at home today, but the school officials responding to that saying that it did what did not seem appropriate at the time. Wolf?
BLITZER: Yes, those pictures are devastating indeed in New York City. Polo Sandoval, thanks very much.
And we're going to have much more from the flood zone coming up later this hour, including my interview with the New York governor, Kathy Hochul, stand by for that. But right now, I want to get to the breaking news, major breaking news
in Congress, 11th hour maneuvering ahead of an imminent government shutdown that promises to be very, very painful for millions and millions of Americans.
CNN's Melanie Zanona is up on Capitol Hill as these late developments are unfolding. Melanie, House Republicans, I understand, have been meeting now for over an hour. Have they made any progress? What are you hearing?
MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Well, Wolf, there's no breakthroughs as of this moment. And, really, at this point, there are no magic wands that can solve this issue when you have just 24 hours before the government funding deadline and no progress thus far from House Republicans.
They have been meeting now almost two hours actually behind closed doors where Kevin McCarthy tried to lay out the options that they have before them. The first option is to pass the House GOP stopgap bill, which already failed once, so that's probably not going to happen. They can accept the Senate's plan, which is working its way through the Senate, probably not going to do that until Sunday or Saturday when they're going to be able to finish that, but that has Ukraine money, which is probably a non-starter for a lot of the Republican conference in the House.
They can also try to just put what's known as a clean stopgap spending bill on the floor, which has no add-on provisions, just a really temporary measure to keep the government lights on for a little bit of time while they try to do their long-term spending bills. And the final option, Wolf, is to shut down the government.
Now, they're working through these options as we speak. They don't have a consensus as of right now. They are trying to find a path forward, and they will be here tomorrow. But in the meantime, it's really created some Republican tension inside the GOP. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MIKE LAWLER (R-NY): Unfortunately, a handful of people, and in particular a party of one, Matt Gaetz, have chosen to put his own agenda, his own personal agenda, above all else.
There's only one person to blame for any potential government shutdown, and that's Matt Gaetz. He's not a conservative Republican. He's a charlatan.
REP. DAN CRENSHAW (R-TX): They killed the most conservative position we could take, and then called themselves the real conservatives, which is like, make that make sense. You can't make it make sense.
REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): The speaker's continuing resolution went down in flames, as I've told you all week it would.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZANONA: So the bottom line here is there is no plan to avert a government shutdown, and tensions inside the GOP are at an all-time high, Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Melanie. Melanie Zanona on Capitol Hill, thank you.
Joining us now, a lawmaker who just emerged from that meeting of the House Republican Caucus, Republican Congressman Marc Molinara of New York is joining us. Congressman, thank you so much for joining us.
Is a shutdown now inevitable? And how do you explain why this is happening to the millions of Americans who will go unpaid and lose so many other key government functions?
REP. MARCUS MOLINARO (R-NY): I think that's what's important. We'll have to start with. There is simply no excuse. This could have been and still can be averted. But there are two -- there are members both within the Republican conference and, quite frankly, there are even Democrats unwilling to cross over the line in order to, in this case even today, support a short-term funding mechanism that at least focused our attention on border security and confronted the massive amount of federal spending that you know Americans want us to confront.
But, you know, we are working hard, believe me. There are members like myself working hard because we understand the impact. A government shutdown is in no one's best interest and it is a mistake to get engaged in the theatrics instead of delivering for the people who are at home hoping that their government is going to function for them.
BLITZER: Is it a mistake, Congressman, for the speaker, Kevin McCarthy, not to work with Democrats to find a bipartisan compromise to fund the federal government?
MOLINARO: Well, listen, the speaker's in the same position everyone else is. He still have to get to 218 votes. And, yes, a bipartisan solution is ultimately what's going to happen. We have a Democrat Senate. We have a Republican House and a Democrat president. Anyone who thinks that the end result isn't going to be bipartisan, I have a bridge in New York to sell you.
But the truth is the strongest position for us has always been to confront the massive amount of federal spending that's, quite frankly, the Democrats, one party, stuffed into this economy that drove up inflation and to confront border security. The fact that we haven't gotten there just is inexcusable. It's not something that we should accept.
But there are those of us willing to work, certainly as I have, across the party aisle, to deliver on a result. I'm just hopeful that we can mold some consensus now and avert a shutdown.
BLITZER: As you know, some GOP hardliners say they will vote to remove McCarthy from the speakership if he actually goes ahead and works with Democrats. Is the speaker placing his job ahead of keeping the government open?
MOLINARO: No, I think the speaker's trying his best and, by the way, has invested a lot of energy to try to bring us together. You know, I was engaged in a number of the conversations over the course of the last seven days. These are just some deeply held beliefs. But some short-term, I think, views here, we cannot get through the consideration of a budget plan without having the government continue to function for the American people.
But, again, I think anybody who makes this personal is doing it in service not only to themselves, but to the people they represent. This has to be about delivering a government that respects taxpayers, confronts federal spending, and from our perspective, I think also addresses the massive crisis at our border.
BLITZER: Republican Congressman Ken Buck says today's failed spending vote in the House was in effect, and he's using these words, a vote of no confidence in McCarthy. Is he right?
MOLINARO: No, he's wrong. And, listen, all the theatrics and all of the escalating rhetoric, you know, there are businesses all across America, farmers and families who just want us to get to a solution.
No, no, he's wrong.
But what is right is that we've got to find our way to delivering at least some message that we consider and respect taxpayers. We're willing to confront federal spending and address the border. And, quite frankly, the people we represent deserve that from us.
As you know, millions of Americans, including a lot of children, could lose food-assisted benefits during a prolonged shutdown. You know firsthand how important these programs, like food stamps, can be to families. And the impact of losing them will have an enormous, enormous impact indeed. Are they being prioritized enough?
MOLINARO: That's exactly right, Wolf, and thanks for saying so. I grew up on food stamps. I've lived through government shutdowns. At the end of the day, we have an obligation to provide for the most vulnerable in our society. And at the very least, at the very least, that is one reason.
That funding our military and paying the men and women who provide and sacrifice for this country, those should be the reasons that we find our way to short-term funding and then long-term commitment to drive down federal spending.
But you are absolutely correct. And I hope my colleagues hear that, as I would express it and have, there are too many people struggling too hard. They deserve and demand a government that's functioning. And we better do that for them.
BLITZER: And children, of course, especially, deserve to have some food every day as well.
Congressman Marc Molinaro of New York, thank you very much for joining us. MOLINARO: Thanks, Wolf.
BLITZER: And we'll get the Biden administration's take when Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg will join me later this hour. Stand by for that.
Just ahead, the significance of the first guilty plea in the Georgia election subversion case as a Trump co-defendant now agrees to work with the prosecutors.
And Senator Dianne Feinstein is honored as a trailblazer for women in politics after her death at age 90. Her former Senate colleague, Barbara Boxer, joins us to discuss Feinstein's extraordinary career and legacy.
BLITZER: There's more breaking news we're following this hour, a first in the Georgia election subversion case. A Trump co-defendant, the bail bondsman, Scott Hall, just pleaded guilty to five counts after reaching an agreement with prosecutors and agreeing to testify and cooperate with them.
Let's get some more now with our Senior Legal Analyst Elie Honig. Elie, just how much of a turning point potentially is this deal and what could the district attorney, Fani Willis, learn from Scott Hall that would help her case?
ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, Wolf, this is a breakthrough for prosecutors. Any time as a prosecutor you have a large multi-defendant case, and in this case, you have 19 defendants, you're hoping to flip one or more of those defendants because what that does is it gives you as a prosecutor and, eventually a trial jury, an insider, a guide, somebody to say, I was in on this criminal conduct, I am guilty and here's what the other people did with me. And here, this particular individual, Scott Hall, he was part of the attempt to breach voting equipment in Coffee County, Georgia, which to me is one of the most significant schemes alleged in this case.
BLITZER: So, do you think more co-defendants will follow Scott Hall's lead and flip, as they say?
HONIG: There does tend to be a domino effect in these kind of cases. The people who I think are most threatened by Scott Hall's testimony, first of all, Sidney Powell. She is charged with being part of that same scheme to breach the voting equipment in Coffee County.
With respect to Donald Trump, there's no evidence, there's no indication that we know of that this individual, Scott Hall, ever had any direct contact with Donald Trump or would be able to directly implicate Donald Trump. However, prosecutors have charged this as a large, overarching conspiracy and racketeering enterprise where they're both members.
So, at a minimum, Scott Hall can help prosecutors establish the overall conspiracy, which will hit on all 18 co-defendants.
BLITZER: Several co-defendants' bids to move their cases, as you well know, Elie, to federal court from state court have been denied, first, the former White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, and now the former Justice Department official, Jeffrey Clark, and three fake electors. Trump's lawyers now say they won't seek that option.
So, ultimately, should we expect everyone now to be tried in state court and what will that look like?
HONIG: So it certainly does look that way, Wolf. It looks like now all the removal efforts have failed and probably will fail on appeal. I don't think Mark Meadows or Jeffrey Clark or the three fake electors have much of a chance of getting this decision reversed on appeal. So, they are likely to remain in state court and Donald Trump we learned yesterday, he's not even going to try to get his case moved over into federal court.
I think that may have been a better exercise of discretion by his lawyers. I think they could read the writing on the wall. These other folks didn't win. Trump had very little chance of winning. So, I think we will end up back where we started, which is 19 defendants charged together in Fulton County.
Two of them, Kenneth Cheseboro and Sidney Powell, are set for trial starting next month and the other 17 somewhere down the line.
BLITZER: Elie Honig, I appreciate it very much. Thank you.
Another breaking story right now, an IRS contractor has just been charged with stealing Donald Trump's tax returns.
CNN Senior Justice Correspondent Evan Perez is working this story for us. Evan, tell us what you're learning.
EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, the accusation here from prosecutors and the Justice Department is that this contractor for the IRS stole the information not only of Donald Trump but also of thousands of some of the most wealthy Americans and leaked those that information to a couple of different news organizations.
Now, in the case of the former president, the tax returns obviously have become a big deal in the last few years. The New York Times has been very prominent in publishing a lot of details and, of course, there's no indication and there's no accusation that the news organizations did anything wrong. ProPublica has also done some very important work highlighting some of what they said were IRS tax documents that highlight the lack of payment of taxes by some of the wealthiest people in this country.
So, according to the Justice Department, this is a charge that carries up to five years if convicted. The name of the contractor is Charles Littlejohn.
He's from the suburbs of Washington. And he stole this information while he was working for the IRS.
BLITZER: Yes, we've got the document right here, United States of America versus Charles Edward Littlejohn, Defendant.
All right, thanks. We're going to have a lot more coming up on this and all the breaking news.
Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: Here in Washington tonight, the United States Senate has lost the longest-serving female member in its history. Democrat Dianne Feinstein died today at age 90.
She was on the Senate floor just yesterday casting a vote in the chamber where she served for more than three decades.
President Biden and other top Democrats are sharing very emotional tributes to Senator Feinstein.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: She was a historic figure, a trailblazer for women and a great friend. Dianne made her mark on everything from national security to the environment, gun safety to protecting civil liberties. The country is going to miss her dearly, and so will Jill and I.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): I ask unanimous consent to address the House for one minute for the purpose --
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): Without objection.
PELOSI: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for the purpose of speaking with great sadness and emotion about the loss of our great senior, our senior senator from California, Senator Dianne Feinstein. I do so, as I say, personally, as a friend, neighbor, and fellow San Franciscan. All of us do so with great pride as the great senator she has been to our state.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): Today we grieve. We look at that desk and we know what we have lost.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: And joining us now, the former California senator, Barbara Boxer, who was elected along with Senator Feinstein back in 1992, the so-called year of the woman in American politics. Senator Boxer, thanks so much for joining us.
We're showing our viewers that historic night, and we will show them right now, where you and Senator Feinstein were elected to the Senate side by side. How are you reflecting in the loss of your longtime colleague and good friend?
FMR. SEN. BARBARA BOXER (D-CA): Well, Dianne and I made history together. Without her, I wouldn't have won my seat, because if you go back to 1992, I was hardly known. I had represented a small district in Northern California and she had, you know, been an incredible mayor, her career forged in this double assassination we had in San Francisco. She was beloved. She ran a great race for governor, didn't make it, but people loved her. She had an easy time winning. I, on the other hand, was in asterisks in the polls. And she grabbed my hand and she never let it go.
And we faced discrimination. And she could have easily said, Barbara, you're on your own, because people would say, well, I could vote for one woman, but not two. And then they'd say, well, I could vote for two women, but not two Jewish women. I mean, we faced it all and we stood up to it. And it was something else.
I have something to show you. This is -- they called us Thelma and Louise. We really had a bond. Even though we disagreed from time to time, we never let it come between us.
BLITZER: Yes, she was a really good friend. I understand, Senator, Boxer that you spoke to Senator Feinstein on the phone recently. Can you tell us a little bit more about that conversation? What did she say?
BOXER: Yes. Well, I called her at the request of a really close friend of hers to find out how she was. Everybody has been worried about her, as you know. And so I started off I said, well, tell me how are you doing? She said, well, no, you tell me how you're doing. And then I said, well, what do you think you're going to be doing? Are you going to keep on working? And she said, you know, I really have to go. She said I want you to call me when you're in the Bay Area and we'll have lunch.
She didn't want to talk about, you know, the idea of her stepping away even though she was not well, and everyone knew it and she knew it. But you know what, her sense of responsibility was so strong because she served on judiciary, the Judiciary Committee, and if she had left the Republicans said they would not replace her. So, she felt an obligation to stay.
And I will say, knowing her, as well as I do, she voted and then she passed on. And I want her to rest in peace because she worked so hard all her life to make life better for people, and that's the test for me anyway.
BLITZER: So, so important I know it's hard to sum up senator Feinstein's decades of public service, but what do you see, Senator Boxer, as her biggest achievement?
BOXER: Okay. Well, I think she has a legacy that's twofold. One is the way that she opened the door for women in politics. Believe me when I tell you. It was almost impossible. And because of her grace and her strength and her leadership, people said, oh, maybe women can do this. [18:30:00]
And she kept that up. You know, her whole career opening up doors women, and then, secondly, of course, her legacy of her work, the only assault weapons ban. Sadly, it only lasted ten years and we were not able to extend it, but it saved countless lives, and it's still out there. And I'm hoping maybe in her memory, the Senate will step up and pass the Dianne Feinstein Assault Weapons Ban. Wouldn't that be something?
And also she put a lot of -- she worked hard to create protection for our beautiful desert here in California. People would say to her, Well, what's great about a desert? Well, the desert ecology is magnificent and she worked hard to protect that and her work to make the report on torture public, which is legendary. There was a movie made about it.
So, those are just a few things. Those are just a few things. It's an incredible legacy.
BLITZER: Former Senator Barbara Boxer, thank you so much for sharing a few thoughts.
And to our viewers later this hour, we'll have a closer look at the life of Dianne Feinstein. Stay with us for that.
Meanwhile, we're also following other breaking news, a state of emergency in New York right now. People are being urged to stay home, stay off the roads after possibly historic rainfall in the state. We're seeing dramatic video of flooded streets and subways after a potentially record-setting ten inches of rain in only 24 hours.
I'm joined now by the mayor of New York City, Eric Adams. Mayor Adams, thank you so much for joining us.
First of all, what's the situation right now and what are you doing to make sure people in those flood zones and basement apartments, especially, are safe?
MAYOR ERIC ADAMS (D-NEW YORK CITY, NY): Thanks so much. And I also wanted to add my heart to Senator Feinstein, you know, just a real trailblazer and, you know, a great loss for our nation.
You know, when you talk about what we're dealing with right now here in New York City, I was out early this morning, surveying the roads, communicating with our first responders. And I went out a few hours ago to do an observation. The water is receding. We're moving from a storm warning to a storm watch, sort of downgrading the urgency of the matter. But we have more rain that's coming, and we want to continue to encourage New Yorkers to remain inside unless there's a need to be outside.
But hats-off to our first responders, hats-off to New Yorkers of how we weathered this wrecked level of rain of zero known death, zero major injuries because of this, rescuing three people from their basements with FDNY, rescuing 15 people that were still on the roads. We learned a lot from the previous storms, and we've handled this well.
BLITZER: What more, Mayor, can you tell us about the rescues that have been underway? The video is really devastating. And what the response looks like now?
ADAMS: Right now, the FDNY, NYPD, NYSIM, all coordinated together to make -- as soon as we get any notification that an individual is either trapped in their vehicle or if they're in one of our basement apartments.
Here in New York City, we have something that's called basement apartments. And we've learned from previous storms where we lost New Yorkers due to that, that we put in place a real plan to, number one, communicate with those who are living in basement apartments, but also to respond accordingly and know where they are located.
BLITZER: How do you respond, Mayor, to the critics out there who say you didn't do enough about warning the folks in New York about this flooding?
ADAMS: You've been around a long time and you know every time you have a flood or a major casualty, that is part of the narrative, that's part of the call. I have an amazing team. It did not take me to stand in front of a camera.
I have an ex-military expert of Commissioner Zachary Iscol, who's in charge of my NYSIM. I put out a clear order to all of the men and women of my team that you must lead. If the mayor is the only one that can communicate to the public, we're in trouble.
I have to run a city. NYSIM communicated around 2:45, 2:50 yesterday, communicated to New Yorkers. We have something called NYC notifications that we sent out that went out early yesterday as well, and then the news media. You had to be living under a rock if you didn't know this storm was coming because the news media did an amazing job. We used social media. We did exactly what was needed. And you see the results.
BLITZER: But should New Yorkers --- Mayor, here's the criticism, should New Yorkers have gotten a clear warning last night to stay home today before people began commuting this morning on flooded subways, roads and buses?
ADAMS: Well, think about it for a moment. Our subways and our buses, they are the lifeline to our city, and this city has to function. I cannot tell all my teachers to stay home.
I cannot tell my firefighters to stay home. I cannot tell my nurses, my doctors, all those who use this city. And so when we ask for New Yorkers to stay home, that's non-essential personnel, individuals that if you don't have to go out to remain inside, that's the way you run the city as complex as New York.
Because of my firefighters and my police officers, my transit operators, my bus drivers, if they stay home, the city is not going to function. We did the right thing. And because of that, we had no death, no serious injuries reported thus far.
BLITZER: All right. Well, let's hope it stays like that. Mayor Eric Adams, thank you so much for joining us. Good luck.
ADAMS: Thank you. Take care.
BLITZER: Coming up, a top Biden administration official on the millions of Americans who will suffer from a government shutdown. The transportation secretary, Pete Buttigieg, he'll join us live when we come back.
BLITZER: Right now, we're getting new reaction to the breaking news up on Capitol Hill.
Time is clearly running out for avoiding a government shutdown tomorrow night, even as divided House Republicans have been meeting to try to consider their options. Millions of federal workers and U.S. military service members are bracing to work without pay and that's just one way Americans will feel the pinch.
Joining us now right here in THE SITUATION ROOM, the transportation secretary, Pete Buttigieg. Secretary, thank you so much for joining us.
PETE BUTTIGIEG, TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: Thanks for having me.
BLITZER: So, what is the Biden administration right now doing to avert a government shutdown?
BUTTIGIEG: Well we're making all the preparations that are necessary for the eventuality of a shutdown.
BLITZER: Is it for sure it's going to happen?
BUTTIGIEG: We know that it can and it should be avoided, and it has to be avoided. And so we're also urging Kevin McCarthy and House Republicans to honor the deal that they already made. Remember, the president of the United States and the speaker of the House made a deal. The majority of Republicans voted for it at the time in Congress.
And now, we're in this situation where they are threatening a shutdown and the reason they're threatening a shutdown is to get savage cuts, some of the cuts that were voted on today, for example, and the continuing resolution that was put forward, that would mean closing air traffic control towers, it would mean less inspection of railroad safety, as if we had learned nothing from the derailment in East Palestine. And that's just to take a couple examples from the transportation space alone. The extremism has taken a hold. I think it's just a few fringe members of the Republican Party in Congress. But if they generate a shutdown here, the effects will be felt by everybody. And history has shown us that that kind of chaos in Congress can quickly lead to chaos at airports.
BLITZER: Well, let's talk about the disruption at -- the aviation disruption that could happen if there's a government shutdown. What should folks who want to fly, for example, expect show up at the airport three hours early, four hours early, what's going to happen?
BUTTIGIEG: Well, the longer it goes on the more disruptive it gets. Now, let me be clear our air traffic controllers they're going to keep going into work. They are required to do that.
BLITZER: They're going to work even though they're not going to get paid?
BUTTIGIEG: Exactly. And think about the stress, think about the intensity of that job on the best of days. These are professionals who keep 16 million flights a year getting to where they're going safely. And when they get to that position, put on that headset and get ready to direct those flights, they would now be coming in with the added stress of coming from a household where they don't know where their next paycheck is going to come from. They've got families, they've got kids, they deserve better.
The same is happening for TSA officers. That's another department. But, obviously, I'm very concerned about that because, again, we're expecting them, requiring them to come into work but not paying them. And there are others in the air traffic organization who would not be able to come in. We're racing to deal with these staffing shortages that have built up over many years.
BLITZER: How concerned are you if they call in sick, because in the past, during these shutdowns, they're not getting paid, but they have to show up for work? What if they call in sick? How disruptive could that be?
BUTTIGIEG: Well, again, they're pros. They're coming in to do their job. But, you know, each passing day, it is harder and harder to look these folks in the eye and say, we expect you to come in and do this job and we're not going to pay you for it.
By the way, this shutdown would lead to the same thing for service members, soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines who are out there doing their job, serving this country, not getting paid. It's unacceptable.
BLITZER: Yes, it's hard to believe, as my dad would say. This is happening here in the United States of America.
I want to get your reaction to what one TSA worker told CNN about how she and others are preparing for this government shutdown. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ALEXIS MADDOX, TSA SECURITY OFFICER: To not know when you'll be able to feed your family or provide the next meal or be able to provide education and childcare for your children, if that is your situation, it is very frustrating.
We are bracing for the worst. We're telling officers to save a little extra money, put some things to the side. If it's not a necessity, please don't spend in excess what you don't need.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: How do you respond to that?
BUTTIGIEG: She should and the workers she represents should never have been put in this position by House Republicans. I mean, again, these are TSA officers who we count on to keep us safe. The idea that you could be an officer of the federal government and be having to worry about that kind of advice to save and make sure that you're able to make ends meet for an open ended shutdown. We don't even know how long it could be, and none of this has to happen.
Time is running out as we sit here, I guess about 30 hours to go, but it's not too late. House Republicans need to come to their senses, come to terms, first of all, with each other and then get to work with the Senate and the president who made it clear that they're ready to go. Keep the government up and running one of the basic responsibilities of the United States Congress.
BLITZER: The stakes are clearly enormous. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, good luck. Thanks so much for joining us. Let's hope that this could be avoided even though it doesn't look like it will be.
Just ahead here in THE SITUATION ROOM, an arrest 27 years after Tupac Shakur is gunned down in Las Vegas. What police are now saying about the 1996 murder, that's next.
BLITZER: Police in Las Vegas have arrested a suspect in connection with the 1996 shooting death of rapper Tupac Shakur.
Brian Todd is covering the story for us.
Brian, what's the latest?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, today police arrested at man who people who follow the case and former investigators have known about for years. But authorities did give new details today on the shooting itself, and the alleged involvement of Duane Keith Davis.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) TODD (voice-over): After 27 years of enduring mystery, and arrest in the 1996 murder of rapper Tupac Shakur.
SHERIFF KEVIN MCMAHILL, LAS VEGAS POLICE DEPARTMENT: Twenty-seven years. For 27 years, the family of Tupac Shakur has been waiting for justice. Well, I know there's been many people who did not believe that the murder of Tupac Shakur was important to this police department. I'm here to tell you, that was simply not the case. It was not the case back then, and it is not the case today.
TODD: Las Vegas police today arrested 60-year-old Duane Keith Davis, also known as Keefe D, for Shakur's murder.
Keefe D's wife's home in Henderson, Nevada, had been searched in July as part of the investigation.
Davis had long placed himself at the state of the crime in downtown Las Vegas. Once telling BET he was in the front seat of a white Cadillac that was next to Shakur's car, when shots were fired from the backseat.
INTERVIEWER: You said the shots came from the back? Who shot Tupac?
DUANE KEITH, SUSPECT: It just came from the backseat.
TODD: Shakur was shot four times and died six days later.
LT. JASON JOHANSSON, HOMICIDE DIVISION, LAS VEGAS POLICE DEPARTMENT: Duane Davis was a shot caller for this group of individuals that committed this crime. And he orchestrated to plan that was carried out to commit this crime.
TODD: Shakur was shot on September 7th, 1996, after leaving Mike Tyson fight at the MGM Grand on the Vegas Strip. Police say Shakur and Marion "Suge" Knight, then CEO of Shakur's record label, have been in a feud with Duane Davis and a gang that Davis was affiliated with, the South Side Compton Crips.
JOEY JACKSON, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: The penalties will be stiff in terms of life in prison without a possibility of parole, particularly with that gang enhancement, if the prosecutors pursuit it.
TODD: Today, police played surveillance footage from inside the MGM Grand before the shooting, showing what they say it was Shakur, Knight, and others punching and kicking a man named Orlando Anderson, who was Duane Davis's nephew, by an elevator back.
JOHANSSON: Little did anyone know, it was this incident right here of the ultimately led to the retaliatory shooting and death of Tupac Shakur.
TODD: Police say after the beating inside the MGM Grand, Davis devised a plan to retaliate, that he obtained a gun and got into a what Cadillac with Anderson and two other men. Police don't say that Davis was the trigger man, but that he passed the gun to someone in the backseat who shot at Shakur and Knight after they pulled up next to them. Knight was wounded in the attack. As for the others in Davis's car?
JOHANSSON: The only loving suspect related to this investigation is Duane Davis. All of our three spots picks are deceased.
TODD (on camera): Tupac Shakur's stepbrother Mopreme Shakur called Duane Davis's arrest bittersweet. Mopreme Shakur said the family has been for decades of pain, that authorities have known about Duane Davis for years, that Davis has been, quote, running his mouth and, quote, so why now? Mopreme Shakur said for the family, this is not over and they want to know if there are more accomplices, Wolf.
BLITZER: All right. Brian Todd reporting, Brian, thank you very much.
There is breaking news right now up on Capitol Hill, where the government is on the brink of a shutdown. I want to bring in Manu Raju who just actually spoke to the Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
What can you tell us, Manu?
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, he's outlining his new demands and expectation about how this could turn out as the government is shivering at is shut down by 11:59 p.m. tomorrow night if no deal is reached. And at the moment, the speaker unable to get people out of the House and a division within his conference.
Well, just moments ago, I asked about him about the next steps here. What needs to be done? And he made clear, he says if the Senate moves forward on including its own plan to get the government open, aid to Ukraine. He said, that will lead to a shutdown. He said if the Senate drops Ukraine aid, does not include it in its plan, and then he says, perhaps, they can get a deal and get this through the House.
His exact words were, I think if we hit a clean continuing resolution without Ukraine on it, we could probably move that through. I think if the Senate puts Ukraine on their, it focuses Ukraine over America, I think that could cause real problems. Now, just to unpack this a bit, Wolf, the Senate right now is trying to move a bill along bipartisan lines to keep the government open, until mid November, including in that plan, $6 billion in disaster aid for national disaster relief and $6 billion in aid to Ukraine.
That is what McCarthy in particular is concerned about, even as there is bipartisan support in Congress to continue providing money for Ukraine, in its war against Russia, there is opposition within the House GOP conference for doing that, for continuing the funding. McCarthy wants to move separately.
Now, in the aftermath of McCarthy's efforts that have failed this afternoon to get his conference on the same page on one bill, he's indicated a little bit of movement. In that bill that fell to date, Wolf, it included spending cuts and border security money as well. McCarthy is not indicating that is the red line, he's indicating Ukraine aid is.
So, Wolf, the question is, will that get enough votes in the House? All that will play out in the next 24 hours.
BLITZER: Yeah, we'll see what happens. Manu Raju, on Capitol Hill, thank you very much.
And we'll be right back.
BLITZER: Finally, tonight, we take a more in-depth look at Senator Dianne Feinstein's life in politics.
BLITZER (voice-over): Dianne Feinstein emerged on the national stage after a 1978 tragedy in San Francisco.
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D-CA): Mayor Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk have been shot and killed.
BLITZER: After the assassination, Feinstein was sworn in as the first female mayor of the city by the bay. Mayor Feinstein quickly got the attention of the National Democratic Party, landing on a short list of VP candidates for Walter Mondale in 1984.
FEINSTEIN: We will take back our unity.
BLITZER: Feinstein made it to Washington, when she won a special election in 1992. And went to the nation's capital with Barbara Boxer as California's first female senators.
FEINSTEIN: I won among men, I won among women, I won in every age level, I won in every ethnic group. Now, what that says is that to me, the fact that I'm a woman is there, but it's incidental.
BLITZER: The assassinations that made her a mayor, also met her and outspoken advocate for gun control. Feinstein was crucial in passing the 1994 federal ban on assault weapons.
FEINSTEIN: I've seen assassination. I've seen killing. I've been a mayor. I know what these guns can do. Why is every man comes before me and says, nice lady, you really don't know?
BLITZER: She was unsuccessful in renewing the legislation in 2004. But she didn't give up. Resurfacing the bill after the Sandy Hook massacre, and going toe-to-toe with conservative Senator Ted Cruz.
FEINSTEIN: I was a mayor for nine years. I walked in, I saw people shot. I've looked at bodies that have been shot with these weapons. BLITZER: She was the first female member of the Senate Judiciary
Committee, and the first woman to lead the Senate Intelligence Committee. Considered a moderate Democrat, she often challenged her own party with her pro-death penalties dance. After Donald Trump was elected president, Feinstein got groans from hometown Democrats when she encouraged her party to be patient with him.
FEINSTEIN: I just hope he has the ability to learn and to change. And if he does, he can be a good president. And that's my hope.
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: Senator Feinstein, that's another beauty.
BLITZER: But Feinstein was hardly a favorite of President Trump. Especially when her committee's investigation of sexual misconduct allegations against Brett Kavanaugh nearly derailed his nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.
TRUMP: I'd like to find out who leaked the papers. Was it Senator Feinstein?
BLITZER: As her party shifted to the lift during the Trump administration, Feinstein did the same, announcing officially in 2018 that she no longer supported the death penalty.
FEINSTEIN: I don't want to not grow. I don't want to not learn. And the world changes and views change.
BLITZER: By the time Feinstein was elected to a fifth full term in 2018, she was the oldest sitting U.S. senator. In February 2023, she announced she would not be running for reelection. Later that year, health problems kept her off the job for three months, holding up approval of several judicial nominees.
Some Democrats called for her to resign, but she kept going. Dianne Feinstein often lead the way for women and men, on the hill, with a dedication to public surface and uncommon resilience.
FEINSTEIN: Life is filled with defeat and you just pick yourself up and you go on.
BLITZER (on camera): Our deepest, deepest condolences to Senator Feinstein's family, may she rest in peace and may her memory be a blessing.
"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.