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State of the Union
Interview With California Congressman Adam Schiff; Interview With Alabama Senator Doug Jones; Interview With White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney; Pelosi, Trump Show No Signs Of Budging Over Wall Fight; Warren's Populist Message Sounds A Little Like Trump; Potential 2020 Democratic Contenders And Social Media In This Week's "State of the Cartoonion". Aired 9-10a ET
Aired January 06, 2019 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Feeling the pain. Day 16 of the federal government shutdown, and President Trump says it could go on for years.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If we have to stay out for a very long period of time, we're going to do that.
TAPPER: As hundreds of thousands of workers go without pay, is either side close to making a deal? We will talk to acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney next.
Plus: border wall battle. Democrats take control of the House and make clear they're not budging on the president's top priority.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: We're not doing a wall. We are not doing a wall.
TAPPER: Do red state Democrats feel any pressure to compromise to reopen the government? Alabama Senator Doug Jones is here in minutes.
And taking the House. As Democrats prepare to use their new power, passions among new members are already boiling over.
REP. RASHIDA TLAIB (D), MICHIGAN: We're going to impeach the mother (EXPLETIVE DELETED).
TAPPER: But with House leadership preaching caution, will the fight over impeachment divide Democrats? We will ask the man leading investigations into the president for the House, Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff, in moments.
TAPPER: Hello. I'm Jake Tapper in Washington, where the state of our union is in complete dysfunction.
We're now in the 16th day of the partial government shutdown over the president's border wall, with no suggestion of any progress being made. Today, President Trump will travel to Camp David, where he will meet with senior staff before meetings with congressional staff on the shutdown are expected to continue.
On Saturday, Vice President Mike Pence and senior members of the president's team met with congressional staff for negotiations, where the president later said -- quote -- "Not much headway was made."
The impasse comes as President Trump is now dealing with a new political reality. Thursday, Democrats assumed control of the House, and Nancy Pelosi took the speaker's gavel.
This week, House Democrats plan on pushing legislation to fund individual parts of the government to attempt to pressure Republicans in Congress and the White House.
TAPPER: Joining me now, acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney.
Thanks so much for joining us. Really appreciate it.
MICK MULVANEY, ACTING WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Happy to be here.
TAPPER: So, where we are in negotiations, the meeting is over, and I know that Speaker Pelosi had said she didn't want to give even more than $1 to the border wall. President Trump has talked about $5.6 billion.
Is there any give in the $5.6 billion in terms of whether or not it has to be for a wall or whether it can be for more generally border security?
MULVANEY: Well, I think the president has said for a long time that it's $5.6 billion for border security, including the wall.
We recognize that things like technology and border crossings are important, but certainly a barrier is important. We didn't make much progress at the meeting, which was surprising to me. I thought we had come in to talk about terms that we could agree on, places where we have all agreed we should be spending more time, more attention, things we could do to improve our border security.
And yet the opening line from one of the lead Democrat negotiators was that they were not there to talk about any agreement. They were actually, in my mind, there to stall. And we did not make much progress.
TAPPER: What were they there to do, if not to negotiate?
MULVANEY: They had a lot of technical complaints about data that they were asking for, for the first time, things that we weren't even aware they were interested in and that -- I mean, the vice president and I have been talking to Chuck Schumer now for over two weeks, and this has never been raised with us before. And that's how they opened the meeting today and said they were not interested in having any further discussions until they had received this technical data from us and that the government was open, which is very strange.
The president, I think, yesterday accurately asked the question, so you want me to negotiate opening the government after the government is already open? So it was a very -- I think it was a disappointing meeting.
TAPPER: So the shutdown obviously is already having -- it's in its third week now -- real-world effects for about 800,000 federal government employees who are either furloughed or working without pay, in addition to contractors.
I want you to take a listen to one of the furloughed workers from Colorado. Her name is Andrea Popelka. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDREA POPELKA, FURLOUGHED WORKER: When something like this happens, and you're not going to get your next check, it's like, OK, what do I do? I will have to make a tough choice between paying my utilities or going and buying groceries.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Now, President Trump is -- his demand for border wall funding is the reason that there is this impasse right now.
Does he understand the real-world consequences of the shutdown, the fact that there are people like Andrea who has to make a choice between paying her utilities or buying groceries?
MULVANEY: A couple different things.
Certainly, the president understands that there is no question that the shutdown has costs, which is why we've been negotiating or trying to negotiate now since before the shutdown began.
But you just said something I have to push back on a little bit, which is the president's demand is the reason the government is shut down. That's certainly one side of the coin, but keep in mind it takes two to tango in this town. I could just as easily say that it's the Democrats' refusal to give the necessary money for border security that is the cause of the shutdown.
We get all of that. We're not interested in laying any blame. The president really does believe that you could solve this in 10 minutes. We're asking for $5.6 billion. They're offering us zero. It sounds like we're simply arguing about one variable, which is, how much are we going to spend on that barrier on the southern border, on the wall, on the steel slat fence, whatever you want to call it?
[09:05:10] This should be relatively simple. I think I'm forced back to the conclusion again and again that the Democrats, for better or for worse, think they are winning this battle politically, and they're really not interested in opening the government because they think the president is paying a price politically. And that's unfortunate.
TAPPER: Well, the reason I described it the way I did is because the Senate, as you know, which is Republican-controlled, passed a clean spending bill, government spending bill, which included no wall money, because they were under the impression that that was going to be good enough to get the White House signature.
And then President Trump said no, and then he said he would own the shutdown. He said he would gladly own the shutdown. And, as recently as Friday, I believe, he said he was proud to be doing what needed to be done.
MULVANEY: He is proud to be doing what is being to be done -- excuse me -- what is needed to be done, because we do need to defend the southern border.
One of the most frustrating things, Jake, about the meeting that we had yesterday was that we can't even agree on the basic facts. The DHS, Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen tried to point out that we had arrested 17,000 criminals at the southern border so far -- well, actually, just last year -- and Nancy Pelosi simply refused to accept that fact.
She said, those are your facts, and trying to make the point there are not your facts and my facts. There are just facts. If you can't even have a basic understanding of the facts, it's going to be very difficult to come to an agreement.
TAPPER: Well, when you talk about the crisis at the border, which President Trump is talking a lot about, Republican Congressman Will Hurd of Texas, retired CIA officer, his district in Southern Texas includes more than 40 percent of the border, more than 800 miles of it.
And he said -- quote -- "Building a wall from sea to shining sea would be the most expensive and least effective way to secure the border. True border security demands a flexible defense-in-depth strategy that includes a mix of personnel, technology and changing tactics, all of which come at a lower price tag than a border wall."
That is a loyal republican congressman...
TAPPER: ... who knows from American security, having been a CIA officer, and knows the border. And he is saying, this wall is not a good use of money.
And go back and read his comment, from sea to shining sea. The president has long ago said, look, he recognizes the fact that there are places where technology is actually better than a barrier. But there are places where there is no substitute for a barrier.
The barriers we have up now in the high-traffic areas are over 90 percent effective. So where we have built a barrier along the southern border, it's reduced criminal immigration by more than 90 percent.
Yes, there are places out in the mountains in the middle of nowhere technology is actually better and more cost-effective. But that doesn't obviate having a wall where you need it. And that is what this battle is all about. That goes back to your original question about the $5.6 is for border security, including the wall.
Right now, their number, I think, for all border security is $1.3 billion, which is clearly inadequate. That's a status quo number. And if all we have is the status quo, then next year we have the same problems we have this year, which is simply not acceptable to the president.
TAPPER: I wanted to ask you.
President Trump, trying to drum up support for the wall on Friday, said that some past U.S. presidents have told him that they should have built a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border previously.
Spokespeople for George W. Bush and Bill Clinton said that that wasn't their boss that said that. Neither Barak Obama nor Jimmy Carter had ever endorsed the idea of a border wall.
Who exactly was he talking about?
MULVANEY: My guess is, this boils down to some of the semantic difficulties we had with Leader Schumer just yesterday, OK?
Mr. Schumer kept saying, you don't have money for a wall now. You don't have money for a wall now. And we're showing pictures of what we're building on the border with the money that we received last year. It's a very similar style to what the president wants to build in the future.
It's the steel, what they call a bollard fence. It's a 30-foot-high steel barrier. And our understanding is, that that's not a wall in the law. Right now, the law actually limits our use of concrete, for example, on the border. And we're like, that's fine. That's completely fine. So I'm not really sure...
TAPPER: You don't know what president it was, though?
MULVANEY: No, I don't know what the presidents mean when they said they weren't supporting a wall. I know that George Bush was president in 2006 when they signed the Secure Fence Act, which is what we're using right now to build the wall.
TAPPER: But which one told him? Which president said...
MULVANEY: I have no idea.
TAPPER: You don't know?
MULVANEY: No, I have not asked the question -- I have not asked the president that question.
TAPPER: I want to ask you.
President Trump said he's considering using emergency powers to fund and build the border wall. I want to read you what you said as a congressman in 2014 after Barak Obama, then president, took a series of executive actions on immigration that you opposed.
You said -- quote -- "This country is governed by the rule of law, not the rule of one man. The president's excuse, that Congress has not acted, is pathetic and insulting. His party had complete and total control of the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives for two solid years and completely ignored immigration reform."
Does that statement not apply to President Trump as well?
MULVANEY: No, it absolutely applies.
In fact, I think it was a couple of years ago. I think that replies to his action on DACA, when he -- I think he actually said publicly he didn't have the right to do what he was doing, but he was doing it anyway.
One of the things you learn when you get in the government is that we give the president, who is the chief executive officer of the country, a great deal of latitude over how the government is run.
And one of the things that I've learned at OMB is that we actually can do that very effectively. You folks ran a story a couple of weeks ago at the beginning of the shutdown about how the Coast Guard was not going to get paid.
MULVANEY: The president made it very clear that he wanted to do everything within his power legally to make sure those folks got paid, and we were able to do that. We were able to move money around legally. And presidents have the ability to do that.
This president has the ability to do that as well in other areas, and we will explore opportunities to do that. I don't think that excuses what President Obama did on the DACA decision several years ago.
TAPPER: But do you think President Trump should use emergency powers to fund the border wall? MULVANEY: Presidents have -- have authority to defend the nation.
The president has asked every single Cabinet secretary and the Office of Management and Budget to go out and find money that can be used legally to guard the southern border, which is exactly what we're going to do.
TAPPER: So, you would support it if he wanted to do it?
MULVANEY: I'm actually heavily involved with it and have been working with all of the Cabinet secretaries to try and find money that we can legally use to defend the southern border.
TAPPER: The president said on Friday that Mexico is going to pay for the wall through the new trade deal, USMCA. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: That is paying for the wall many, many times over.
In fact, what we save on the USMCA, the new trade deal we have with Mexico and Canada, what we save on that just with Mexico will pay for the wall many times over.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Now, obviously, Congress has not yet ratified the USMCA.
TAPPER: But, even assuming it does, that money doesn't go from Mexico to the U.S. Treasury to then pay for the wall. Explain to me how the math works.
MULVANEY: The money -- what the president is talking about -- he's talked about this, I think, since he announced the USMCA a couple months ago -- is that it's so much better for us economically that, when businesses do better, when the American citizens do better, taxpayers do better, the government makes more money.
MULVANEY: So we will be taking in more money as part of our relationship with Mexico, and that could be available to us to build the wall.
Now, it still requires appropriation, as does all money. If Mexico actually wrote us a check, it would still have to go into Treasury and then be appropriated by Congress. That's how our system works.
TAPPER: I want to turn to a comment from incoming Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib. The president said her remark saying it was time to impeach the M-F-er was -- quote -- "disgraceful."
President Trump obviously is not exactly known as a delicate flower when it comes to the language he uses. He's sworn publicly quite a bit. Take a listen to some of it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We're going to knock the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) out of ISIS. We're going to knock the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) out of them.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
TRUMP: And you can tell them to go (EXPLETIVE DELETED) themselves.
You're not going to raise that (EXPLETIVE DELETED) price. You understand me?
Listen you mother (EXPLETIVE DELETED), we're going to tax you 25 percent.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Does President Trump think that he has played any role in the coarsening of our national discourse?
MULVANEY: No, no, I think people -- he does think -- I think people can be coarse, as clearly this member of Congress is.
By the way, I was very glad to see some of my former Democrat colleagues distance themselves from that type of language. The president does use coarse language in private a lot with us.
TAPPER: Those were public.
MULVANEY: I recognize -- many people do, but, no, I don't think anybody blames the president for the coarsening of the language of...
TAPPER: You don't think anybody in the country blames the president?
MULVANEY: Well, you probably do, but I think there's more important things as to who's coarsening the language.
TAPPER: I want to ask you about something the president said the other day that was quite striking. He defended the 1979 invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union in a Cabinet meeting.
The Wall Street Journal editorial board, which is very conservative, as you know, said -- quote -- "We cannot recall a more absurd misstatement of history by an American president."
As you know, the Soviet Union did not invade Afghanistan because terrorists from Afghanistan were attacking the Soviet Union, and it is not necessarily considered by Americans or even the Soviets, now Russians, certainly not the Afghans, a good thing that they did so.
Where did he get that idea from? MULVANEY: I think that idea is born out of frustration.
The president has been -- this ties into the comments and the discussions I think you and I have had about Syria as well, which is that the president promised that he would have a different Middle Eastern foreign policy.
He's just very frustrated with the slow progress in Afghanistan. And I think that was probably just a comment born in frustration.
TAPPER: I think one of the challenges that previous chiefs of staff, especially for this president, not just for this president, but especially for this president, have had is controlling the flow of information and making sure that the information that gets to the Resolute Desk is accurate and is the best information.
I know that outgoing or gone Chief of Staff John Kelly, that was something he put a lot of effort into, making sure that the bad information did not get to President Trump and good information did. This is a challenge, because this president gets a lot of information from a lot of people, and some of them might be giving him bad information, especially when it comes to the Soviet Union, now Russia.
How do you plan on handling that?
MULVANEY: The president gets the best information that's available. He just does. He has the full...
TAPPER: And a lot of other stuff too.
MULVANEY: ... full assets available to the federal government when it comes to information.
And I can assure you I've been involved in discussions on these matters and other matters, and the president gets the very best information. He may not make a decision that agrees with some of his advisers. I have disagreed with him from time to time.
He and I have had many, many fun discussions about the budget, for example, OK? But he's still getting the best information about what it means to make certain decisions, the consequences of certain decisions. And the fact that he makes a decision that might be different than his advisers doesn't mean he's getting bad information.
It means that he's relying on other information that other of his advisers are giving him.
TAPPER: I take your point, but I'm not talking about the decisions, and I'm not taking issue with the decisions. I'm taking issue with bad facts, information that is incorrect, such as why the Soviet Union went into Afghanistan.
And I'm wondering if you're at all concerned that there is a campaign to get bad information to President Trump? MULVANEY: Without giving away too many of the inside secrets, I've
been the acting chief of staff now about four days, but John Kelly and I also worked in cooperation with each other for the last two weeks, before -- before the beginning of the year.
And I have seen every single piece of information that goes on to the Resolute Desk. I have seen every single piece of information that goes to the residence at night, and I have not seen anything objectionable.
TAPPER: But you know that it's not true that the Soviet Union didn't invade Afghanistan because of terrorist attacks on the Soviet Union, and they -- it was not a good thing that they went in there, right?
MULVANEY: I mean, again, I think those are comments the president made born out of frustration from where we are. And I'm not too concerned about the details.
TAPPER: What do you think is going to be the biggest challenge for you as the acting chief of staff for President Trump?
MULVANEY: Oh, I haven't found any yet. It's actually been a lot of fun.
TAPPER: You haven't found any challenges?
MULVANEY: No, seriously. People keep asking me, bump me in the hallway, and they say, I don't know to congratulate you or to console you.
It's actually a lot of fun. This is probably the best job that many of the folks in the White House have ever -- are ever going to have. Working in the White House is a tremendous privilege and a tremendous opportunity. And if you do it properly, I think it can be a lot of fun.
The one thing that I learned -- I talked to James Baker, who's a -- he and I developed a friendship. His grandson, a fine young man, works for me at OMB. And I called him right after the president made the announcement.
I said: "Secretary Baker, you have any advice?"
And he said: "Yes, just remember you're the chief of the staff, not the chief of the president. You are not going to change the president of the United States. None of us ever were able to do that, nor do we want to do that."
The question is, how do you make the staff make the president successful? That's a challenge, but it's one of those fun challenges that you look forward to in your career. It's been a great couple weeks on the job, and I'm looking forward to it.
TAPPER: You mentioned that you and the president have had some disagreements when it comes to the budget.
TAPPER: The national debt is obviously now $2 trillion higher than it was when President Trump took office. You were a deficit hawk.
This was one of former Speaker Paul Ryan's biggest frustrations with President Trump, is that he doesn't show any political will or interest in doing anything that would reduce the deficit or the national debt, other than growing the economy.
Is this an area where you hope to make headway with President Trump?
MULVANEY: Well, a couple different things.
First of all, don't dismiss the importance of growing the economy.
TAPPER: I'm not dismissing it, but the deficit is now up significantly. And so is the debt.
MULVANEY: Right. The deficit is two variable equations, the amount of money and less the amount of money out. And when we grow the economy, more money comes in.
TAPPER: But they're both going in the wrong direction. You know that.
MULVANEY: You're absolutely right. We spend more now than we did before. You know how highly I regard Paul Ryan. He's a good friend of mine and I have a great deal of respect for him.
But maybe you should remind him the next time he tells you that it's the Congress that actually spends the money. If the Congress had adopted the president's budgets over the last two years, we would not have the deficit that we have now, not have the debt that we have now, and would actually be on a glide path to balancing the budget, which is what our first budget did.
When Congress completely ignores the president of the United States and just decides to spend a lot more money, it puts presidents in a very difficult situation. Do you veto it and shut the government down, or do you actually just sign the bills?
Congress spends money. Again, we go back to the earlier comments about the current shutdown. It takes two to tango in this town. There's the Hill and there's the White House. And right now Congress is of a mind oftentimes to spend more money.
TAPPER: Well, all I will say is, Republicans controlled the House, the Senate and the White House for two years there, and the national debt went up by $2 trillion. That's a lot of money. MULVANEY: Well, in fairness -- and you know this as well -- is that
every single bill that comes -- every single spending bill that comes out of the Senate must have Democrat support. It requires 60 votes.
Some people say you have control of the Senate. Yes, you have a majority, but you do not have enough ability to pass bills by yourself.
TAPPER: That is true. I think it's also fair to say that's not why that happened.
But acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, thanks so much for being here.
MULVANEY: It's always good to be here. Thanks, Jake.
TAPPER: You just heard from the White House. We will get the response from a Democratic senator next.
Plus, they have been waiting two years. Now Democrats have control of the House. What are they going to do with it? The new chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Democrat Adam Schiff, will be here.
Stay with us.
TAPPER: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION. I'm Jake Tapper.
This week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi revealed the dollar amount the Democrats would be willing to pay for the president's proposed border wall.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PELOSI: One dollar? Yes, $1.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: How is that for the art of the deal?
Joining me now, Democratic Senator Doug Jones of Alabama.
Senator Jones, thanks so much for joining us.
President Trump won your state of Alabama by 28 points. You are running for reelection next year. How will you explain to your constituents back home why you will not support the president's top priority here?
SEN. DOUG JONES (D), ALABAMA: Well, the problem is that the government is shut down. You know, our state wants the government to open, to be open for
business. I think that's the most important thing for the people of Alabama right now.
We have a lot of government workers in this state. We also have a lot of contractors who depend on that government work. A lot of people want border security, for sure. But they also want the government services and they want the government to operate.
I do not believe that the -- holding government workers and all those affected by government services hostage is the way to determine how best to secure our borders, which everyone wants.
TAPPER: Well, I don't know if you heard acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, but he's saying the president wants $5.6 billion for border security, which includes the wall, but is just not exclusively for the wall.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she is not willing to give any money for the wall. Do you think that there should be a compromise made, that some money should be given to the White House for the border wall?
JONES: Well, initially, there was money.
All of the bills that passed the Congress the other night -- or the House were passed by the Senate. Or at least four of them passed 92- 6. The other two bills came out of the Appropriations Committees with a 31-0 vote or a 30-1 vote.
So, Democrats and Republicans in the United States Senate have worked together to try to forge that compromise. Those bills were that compromise, I think, Jake.
And that's what people are forgetting. I think one of the things is, Mr. Mulvaney talked about semantics. And I agree with that. It appears to be that the president wants to negotiate about reopening government, and Democrats want to talk about border security and trying to find common ground. And I think therein lies the problem.
We do not believe that the government should be shut down and the people of this country held hostage just for a political purpose that the president has right now. It is too important that government function and function efficiently.
TAPPER: But yes or no, do you think that Democrats should give some money to the White House in negotiations when it comes to the border wall? Yes or no, some money for the wall?
JONES: I think that we have to talk about border security. We haven't seen a plan to talk about border security. When I have talked to people in Alabama, they want border security. It doesn't matter what it is.
And that's been... (CROSSTALK)
TAPPER: But it matters to the president, though. That's the thing. We all agree on border security. Everyone agrees on border security.
TAPPER: The question is, President Trump wants wall money. Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer say no wall money.
And I'm just trying to get an idea from you whether or not you agree that wall money should be part any of compromise.
JONES: Yes, I am not going to give wall money just to give wall money.
What I would like to see is the plan about how that money is going to be spent, where it's going to be spent. That's what we have been lacking so far in this shutdown for the last three weeks. We have been talking about dollars and cents and not plans.
As soon as I think people see plans and see how money is going to be spent -- that's what Congress is supposed to do. We're supposed to be the good stewards of the people's money. And we have not seen those plans. They may be developing over the last few days, because I think the administration has recognized this is not just about dollars and cents.
It's about how to secure the borders and the plans that they are going to have to do that. Last year, the government -- the administration brought us a plan for $25 billion worth of border security that I bought into. I thought it was a good plan. I passed -- I was part of the group that had the bill for $25 billion. And the administration shot it down.
So we need to see the plans, and then we can go from there.
TAPPER: Jared Kushner is reportedly floating the idea of pairing funding for the border wall with legal protection for dreamers, undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. That's his possible way out of the shutdown.
Does that sound like a good plan for you?
JONES: You know, I think that any plan needs to be presented to the members of Congress.
I think one of the things that we see now -- and, again, that $25 billion was part of that plan that the president shot down last year. So, you know, everything right now is all political posturing. And I think we need -- one of the problems that we have had, Jake, is that Congress has been out of session for the last three weeks.
Now that we're getting both Democrat and Republican senators and members of Congress up there that can talk to leadership and can work in talking this through, I think we can find that common ground. We have just got to do it.
I will -- I think Democrats are open to anything that's going to get the government open, but I want to make sure that we know, understand that the bills that passed the House the other day were Republican bills that came out of the Senate of the United States. We need to get this government open.
And we have got time. We can do things on border security.
TAPPER: New Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib raised some eyebrows this week on her first day in Congress when she promised to -- quote -- "go in there and impeach the mother-F'er."
I'm sure you don't like the language, but, beyond that, this represents the view of a lot of angry Democrats, passionate Democrats; 80 percent of Democratic voters, according to a CNN poll, want President Trump impeached.
What do you tell your constituents who come up to you and say things like what Congresswoman Tlaib said?
JONES: Well, first of all, I don't think any of my constituent comes up to me and say that, even the most progressive of the constituents I have. They know better than to use that kind of language about the president of the United States, regardless of the coarse language that the president uses in public.
My folks don't say that. I have not heard that from anybody in the state of Alabama over the course of this break. But what I will tell folks, though, anybody that wants anything like that, I will say, look, Congress has got a job to do. And the Congress has got do their job of oversight.
There's been no oversight of the administration for the last two years. We have got to do oversight in a methodical, judicial, judicious and efficient way.
That's what we need to be looking at, first and foremost, and not get bogged down in anything in personal and attacks and overreach. Let's go about this the way we need to, and not just work out of this out of frustration and anger.
TAPPER: Your fellow Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts just launched her exploratory committee for president. She's been campaigning in Iowa all week.
You have said that Democrats need to do a better job at reaching the heartland of America in 2020. Do you think Elizabeth Warren could do that for your party?
JONES: I think there are a lot of people that could do that for the Democratic Party.
This is very early on. And this -- you know, Senator Warren's presidential committee just started up. She went to Iowa this week. You are going to see more to follow.
And let's see what those messages come out. I'm not going to presuppose what Senator Warren is going to say in her presidential race, any more than I will anybody else.
I just know I believe that folks have to reach that heartland, that we have got to make sure that we touch all segments of the American public in order to take back the White House, in order to take back the Senate.
TAPPER: All right, Senator Doug Jones of the great state of Alabama, thanks so much for joining us. We really appreciate it.
JONES: My pleasure, Jake. Thank you.
TAPPER: Let's move now to the House, where Democrats just took control, and they're starting the year with a very long to-do list.
Joining me now, a member of the Democratic leadership, the new chairman of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, Congressman Adam Schiff.
Mr. Chairman, congratulations. Thanks for joining us.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: Thank you, Jake. Happy new year.
TAPPER: So, you just heard me talk with acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney.
And one of the things that Mulvaney and I were talking about was the deliberations about the president potentially invoking emergency powers to fund the border wall. What do you make of that? What do you think?
SCHIFF: I make of that really threatening talk from the president that he doesn't have the power to execute.
Look, if Harry Truman couldn't nationalize the steel industry during wartime, this president doesn't have the power to declare an emergency and build a multibillion-dollar wall on the border. So, that's a nonstarter.
And I think that what the president needs to do more than anything else -- he's painted himself into a corner on this thing -- is figure out how he unpaints himself from that corner. We need to reopen the government. We need to put people back to work.
And I think Senator Jones was making a very important point, which is really something that I'm very focused on as well. And that is, we can't allow this continual process that was really modernized by the Tea Party that, if I don't get what I want, if I don't get what I don't have the votes for, if I don't get what the country doesn't want, I'm just going to shut down the government.
If you reward the president with that kind of tactic, Jake, then we're going to see every year the president shutting down the government. And we just can't afford to do business that way.
TAPPER: You just took control of the House Intelligence Committee. Meanwhile, the grand jury in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation has just been extended for up to another six months.
I know that you're not directly working with Mueller's investigation, but what do you make of that?
SCHIFF: Well, he's clearly not done. There's more work for the grand jury.
Now, whether that is a full six months' more work or some portion less than that, clearly, there are other potential charges that he must be considering. There's no purpose for a grand jury. I think, otherwise, we are trying to deconflict with the special counsel.
Over the last two years, frankly, our committee was working to conflict itself with the special counsel, to make the special counsel's work more difficult. We hope, as one of our first acts, to make the transcript of our witnesses fully available to the special counsel for any purpose, including the bringing of perjury charges, if necessary, against any of the witnesses, but also to see the evidence that they contain and help flesh out the picture for the special counsel.
We also really immediately went to work in reaching out to private institutions to lay the foundation to get records as soon as our committee is constituted.
TAPPER: Is there anybody in specific you have in mind when talking about somebody who may have committed perjury before your committee? Are you talking about Donald Trump Jr.? Are you talking about Michael Cohen? Are you talking about Roger Stone?
SCHIFF: I don't want to go into enumerating particularly who I have concerns about, but I do have concerns about certainly multiple witnesses.
And I think Bob Mueller, by virtue of the fact that he has been able to conduct this investigation using tools that we didn't have in our committee, meaning compulsion, is in a better position to determine, OK, who was telling the truth, who wasn't, and who could I make a case against in terms of perjury?
So there's no reason to protect these witnesses. There's every reason to validate Congress' interest in not having people come before it and lie. And I think people felt that they had some kind of immunity with the GOP majority at the time, because they would often intervene to tell witnesses: "You don't have to answer that question. You don't have to say anything you don't want or come in even if you don't want to. We're not going to compel you."
And that's simply no way to run an investigation.
TAPPER: A knowledgeable source just told me this morning that the Trump White House -- quote -- "forced out" Pentagon Chief of Staff Rear Admiral Kevin Sweeney.
Here's what Samantha Power, the former ambassador to the United Nations under President Obama, tweeted last night about Admiral Sweeney's departure -- quote -- "It is January 5, 2019. We have no secretary of defense and now no Department of Defense chief of staff, no attorney general, and no evident guardrails in Trump's inner circle. The president is unhinged. Even GOP zealots know it. Republicans inside and outside the administrator must stop enabling Trump and protect America" -- unquote.
That's a rather stark picture of the Trump administration. Do you agree with that view?
SCHIFF: I largely do agree that all of the adults are one by one being forced out of the room.
Anyone that had the standing or the independence to speak out to the president, to tell the president what he needed to hear, not what he wanted to hear, has been pushed aside.
And now you have a lot of yes-people serving the president. And with this kind of a president, who is as impulsive as he is, who makes up claims out of whole cloth -- and you talked earlier today about the astonishing claim that the Soviets invaded Afghanistan to fight terror.
That's not something you say out of frustration. That's a Kremlin talking point. And if he doesn't have anyone who will tell them -- tell him: "Mr. President, that's flat-out wrong. Where are you getting this from?"
And Mr. Mulvaney may review the documents that come to the president's desk. He doesn't get to review every phone call the president makes and who's whispering in the president's ear. Someone is giving him these ideas about Montenegro and about what the Soviets invaded Afghanistan for, what the -- really what's being presented in the Duma right now as the Russian point of view.
So it is deeply concerning. Republicans in Congress do need to speak out. History is going to hold them accountable. And now is the time.
TAPPER: I want to ask you about a comment from your fellow Democratic Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib this week that Democrats need to -- quote -- "impeach the mother-F-er," referring to President Trump.
Forgetting the language for a second, her comments underscore the desire of Democrats to impeach President Trump; 80 percent of Democratic voters want the president to be impeached.
How much pressure do you feel to take action against President Trump, even if you personally aren't there yet in terms of any evidence?
SCHIFF: Well, first of all, Jake, I'm in the unique position to say this, considering the president made my last name a profanity. This president is not in a position to talk about the use of language. Nobody has done more to debase the political sphere, the public square than Donald Trump.
But in terms of the merits of impeachment, we need to see what Bob Mueller has to say. And I really think it's premature for Democrats to be talking about what the remedy ought to be before we know the full body of evidence.
And that's what I have urged our colleagues to do all along. It's what I'm going to continue to urge them. And I think that's where, frankly, my constituents are. That's what I hear from them. They understand that, yes, it's theoretically possible you could line up the votes in the House, but what's the point, if you don't know the full case and you can't make the case to the Senate?
And, in particular, it has to be a bipartisan process. If the Republican senators, some of them, are not on board, then all you have is a failed impeachment. And I don't see how that benefits the country.
TAPPER: I understand you have made a decision about what the first public hearing will be in the House Intelligence Committee.
SCHIFF: I have.
And this is, I think, the big picture that often got lost in the day- to-day following of what was happening in the Russia investigation with this witness or that.
And that is, we have a rise of authoritarianism around the world, a real rise of autocracy. Most of us live lives, all of us live lives in this generation in which our freedoms were ever increasing, nations around the world were living in more democratic societies, with more free speech, and more right to assemble.
And we thought that was somehow inexorable. And now we find it isn't. We're at an inflection point.
And there is a real challenge to the very idea of democracy. We don't have a president who's willing to stand up to these autocrats. This is a real danger, a present danger, for the United States, this rise of authoritarianism, and we need to better understand it, and we need to figure out a better strategy to counter it.
TAPPER: All right, Chairman Schiff, thank you so much for joining us today. We appreciate it.
SCHIFF: Thank you, Jake.
TAPPER: Senator Elizabeth Warren is on the campaign trail in Iowa. Some of her pitches reminding me of someone. I can't quite put my finger on it.
Oh, yes. Some of these themes sound a little Trumpy. That's next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: We're not doing a wall. Does anybody have any doubt about -- we are not doing a wall.
TRUMP: I have never had so much support as I have in the last week over my stance for border security, for border control and for, frankly, the wall or the barrier.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: So this is where we're at with the two parties negotiating the ongoing government shutdown seemingly in completely different worlds. Let's discuss with my panel of experts.
First of all, Congresswoman, congratulations. You are the new chair of the congressional Black Caucus. Congratulations.
REP. KAREN BASS (D-CA), CHAIR. CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCUS: Yes, 55 members.
TAPPER: That's wonderful. Congratulations. We're happy and honored to have you here.
How does this end? What is the way out of the morass here?
BASS: I think the way out of the morass is for the president to do what he originally said he was going to do which was he agreed to the bill that came out of the Senate that was voted on unanimously.
That said we will fund the government. The government should have never have shut down. We will do a continuing resolution for homeland security. And then we'll debate the details.
There was never a reason for the government to shut down right now. He responded to --
TAPPER: You're saying --
TAPPER: -- President Trump needs to blink?
BASS: Well, I mean, I think he needs to go back and do what he originally did. I mean, we have to look at why he changed his mind to begin with.
He was responding to talk radio. He was responding to Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter. So as opposed to responding to his advisers, to people in his administration, everybody had agreed.
The House had agreed. The Senate had agreed. Under Republican rule.
BASS: And so there had never been a reason to shut the government down.
TAPPER: It is accurate that there was the impression, certainly Mitch McConnell and Vice President Pence had the impression, David, that the president was going to be willing to sign the clean government spending bill. We all know that there is an immigration deal that can be done that would include border wall funding, but it would be part of a larger package. Why are we here?
DAVID URBAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, I think the president changed his mind right before, as you've seen and we've all seen. Until it's done, it's not done in this administration.
I think, you know, the congresswoman makes a good point. You know, there's -- we should get done and there is a way to get done. Out of the trillions of dollars being spent, the Democrats in the House and Senate can find $5 billion more -- right -- to put aside here.
This isn't hard to get done. A compromise can be reached. There needs to be something put forward on the table. Democrats need to send principals, not staffers to meetings with the president.
This can't be simply one hand clapping. As you've heard the chief of staff earlier in the show say, look, we're ready. We're showed up. We're ready to go. We need principals here to negotiate, not staffers.
And I think that it can be done. A deal can be done. It needs to be -- it needs to be worked out for the American people.
TAPPER: Patti, congresswoman -- rather Speaker Pelosi has said this is a moral issue. They are not going to give money for the border wall because it's immoral.
PATTI SOLIS DOYLE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, look, experts all across the country have said that a wall is not effective. It's, you know, there are many other things that we can do to prevent illegal border crossings, whether it's technology, whether it's more border patrol agents. There are a lot of things we can do.
However, there is a crisis at the border, and it's a humanitarian crisis basically. We have families, mothers, children living in tents, living in cages. And we're not really doing anything to address that issue.
So I think there is a bigger conversation to be had about immigration. The way to do it is to have both parties at the table to talk about all of the different issues.
Whether it's illegal border crossing. Whether it's asylum seekers. Whether it's what to do with the almost 11 million people who are here already undocumented. Open the government, and then let's have that conversation.
URBAN: There was a proposal for that. remember there was a proposal where this president offered amnesty, right? Amnesty, unheard of.
Got bashed by his party. And it was announced dead on arrival by Democrats in the Congress.
SOLIS DOYLE: No, no, no, they offered $25 billion for that wall for amnesty and for DACA, and he turned it down.
TAPPER: Instead of relating it to immigration I want to talk about where we are right now, Bill, which is you tweeted something that I thought was interesting. You said the president doesn't have a governing strategy right now. He just has a political strategy.
Get his base on board and fight.
BILL KRISTOL, DIRECTOR, DEFENDING DEMOCRACY: Yes, doesn't even really have a political strategy in the sense of winning re-election. Expanding his vote. He has a save myself from a Senate voting to convict after the House impeaches me strategy. It's really coming down to whipping up his core base, and the wall does that. And that's why he's doing this.
I think this shuts and ends with Senate Republicans blinking. Everyone assumes they go along with the president because they have over the past years, but there are real consequences to a government shutdown. EPA, agriculture, Air Line Pilots Association. Representing 61,000 airline pilots has a letter saying, hey, this is getting dangerous.
You're not funding FAA. You're not funding various aspects of what helps do our jobs at airports.
And I think when Republican senators start hearing from actual constituencies and interest groups this week. And Nancy Pelosi is going to send over -- the House is going to send over individual appropriations bills for other parts of the government. And Mitch McConnell is going to say we can't appropriate for EPA or for the FAA or for agriculture.
Why not? Because we're having a separate fight over the wall. I think that's a very tough position to sustain. And I think at some point --
URBAN: You lose all your leverage.
KRISTOL: Enough Senate Republicans -- enough Senate Republicans (INAUDIBLE) and I don't know that they won't vote to override Trump.
BASS: No, I think you're absolutely right. I think that a couple of senators have already said we need to just get on with this. And so I know what we're going to do -- TAPPER: Collins and Gardner.
BASS: Right. And I think that more is going to come.
And so what is going to happen next week when we actually introduce appropriation bills individually? So one of the first bills we're going to introduce is the treasury.
People will, in the next week --
TAPPER: Their tax refunds.
BASS: -- will actually not get their paychecks.
BASS: And their tax refunds will be slowed up. But if you just think about it, the whole thing about the border, so who is not going to get paid next week? Border patrol.
TAPPER: Customs and border patrol.
KRISTOL: And I think the House -- and the House appropriations bills the House is going to pass, our bills -- are appropriations the Senate has passed in a bipartisan way.
BASS: Right. Exactly. So is he going to veto individually?
KRISTOL: So no one can say it's a Democratic -- so is Mitch McConnell going to refuse to bring up the appropriations bill coming from the House that the Senate has already passed?
BASS: The Senate has already passed.
URBAN: He will not bring it up.
TAPPER: Right. You talked about 2020. It started already. Senator Elizabeth Warren campaigning in Iowa. But some people note that the populism that she's talking about sounds a little familiar. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WARREN: This is about tens of millions of families across this country who are getting cheated.
TRUMP: Our workers have been cheated. Our companies have been cheated.
WARREN: What's happening to working families? Why is America's middle class getting hollowed out?
TRUMP: Our great middle class, once the bedrock of American prosperity, was forgotten.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BASS: Now in all fairness, though, that has been her message.
SOLIS DOYLE: Yes.
BASS: She's been saying that for years.
SOLIS DOYLE: Yes.
TAPPER: Absolutely. Absolutely.
BASS: The difference is, he's lying.
TAPPER: I was just going to say -- no, no, obviously, these are progressive and populist tropes that we've heard for a long, long time. This has been part of her message. She's not taking a page out of Donald Trump's book.
But these are --
BASS: No. He's hurt the very people that he's talked about.
TAPPER: These are the themes that President Trump talked about that helped him get elected --
TAPPER: -- is all I'm saying. And now we have -- Hillary Clinton didn't say them as forcefully perhaps as she could have or should have. And now Elizabeth Warren is competing on that territory.
SOLIS DOYLE: Right. And as the congresswoman said it is authentic to who she is and what she's been talking about for years and years and year.
I think, you know, what Hillary Clinton -- and I don't want to relitigate 2016 --
TAPPER: Sure. Sure.
SOLIS DOYLE: -- I really don't but Hillary had an authenticity problem, right? The clip that you just showed shows that Elizabeth Warren right now does not.
URBAN: Well, I'll -- I take umbrage with that. You see her drinking the beer in her kitchen? That got widely panned, a little bit of authenticity.
But, listen, I'd love to see Elizabeth warren as the candidate in 2020. BASS: That (INAUDIBLE) Trump.
URBAN: Come on. I love it.
BASS: But, you know, really, the very people that he talked about are the ones that he has hurt. So with the tariffs, with China. You have farmers in the Midwest who have been hurt terribly from that. So, you know, to me, talk about not being authentic.
URBAN: So what's the answer for China? Just allow China to steal our I.P. and to plunder our country? I mean --
BASS: I think the answer has certainly not been what he has done. Our farmers have absolutely been hurt.
That China has now gone to south America for some crops that they were getting from the heartland.
TAPPER: What do you make of Elizabeth Warren? What do you think about her chances?
KRISTOL: I think she's formidable. A lot of Democratic candidates at this stage are interesting. A ton of them will run.
And the one thing I think people haven't thought about is, with proportional representation of the Democratic side these days, I think a lot of people can stay in and continue to raise money on line. The social media you don't get the kind of consolidation of media coverage you used to get in the old days, the top two or three.
I think six or seven or eight of them could go through a whole bunch of primaries getting 10, 15, 20 percent of the delegates, and figure, why should I get out? And once it becomes clear no one is going to go to the convention, 50 percent they'll all stay in and we will have an actual open convention.
KRISTOL: The DNC has no clout. They have no ability to stop it. And I really do think Beto O'Rourke will stay in until Texas votes and Kamala Harris will stay in until there are states with lots of African-American voters. And Amy Klobuchar will stay until Midwest votes. So I think it really --
TAPPER: Two potential members of the CDC (ph) are running, right?
BASS: Exactly. Exactly.
TAPPER: Harris (ph) and Cory Booker of New Jersey --
KRISTOL: So I'm looking to the broken Democratic convention, then we will have the upset of the incumbent Republican president at the Republican convention. It's going to be a great --
BASS: If he's still president.
KRISTOL: If he's still president. Good point. So it's going to be a great year.
TAPPER: Is there anyone you are looking at particularly that you --
SOLIS DOYLE: I don't really have a favorite. And it is too early to make predictions obviously. But I will make one anyway. And I think a woman will be on the ticket.
TAPPER: A woman will be on the ticket.
SOLIS DOYLE: On the ticket. In one way or the other.
TAPPER: Do you agree with that?
BASS: Yes, I do.
TAPPER: All right. Thanks so much one and all. I appreciate it.
Perhaps not since Elaine Benes have so many been obsessed with one woman dancing. And that's got some Democratic White House contenders taking note and that's the subject of this week's "State of Cartoonion."
Stay with us.
TAPPER: Welcome back.
A video of Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez dancing in college went viral this week with millions of views. She is an Instagram sensation. You can't buy this kind of attention.
So what does that mean about what we are going to see on the campaign trail among Democrats? That's the subject of this week's "State of Cartoonion."
TAPPER (voice-over): Newly sworn in Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio- Cortez has hit D.C. like a tornado. She is a new kind of politician. She talks to her supporters on Instagram where she chats with their constituents about the problems of cash bail while cutting chili peppers. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D), CONGRESSWOMAN-ELECT, NEW YORK: You have to be good at getting things done.
TAPPER: Some folks saw an attempt to follow Ocasio-Cortez's millennial lead in Elizabeth Warren's presidential exploratory committee announcement when she talked economic policy in her kitchen.
WARREN: Hold on a second. I am going to got me a beer.
TAPPER: She didn't quite do keg stands. It was pretty tame.
WARREN: I drink Michelob -- the club soda of beers.
TAPPER: But we wondered if all of the older 2020ers might try to get in on the millennial social media action.
Will we see Bernie Sanders trying bird box his way through Iowa?
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: Millionaires and billionaires --
TAPPER: Maybe Joe Biden will do his entire campaign on using Biden memes. Might Michael Bloomberg try his hand at flossing.
MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, FORMER NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: At some point you're going to die anyway so you want to do it before then.
TAPPER: Ocasio-Cortez won't be old enough to run for president until right before election day 2024 but the 2020 crowd may already kind of have an Ocasio-Cortez of its own.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm so (EXPLETIVE) proud of you guys.
TAPPER: Thanks for spending your Sunday with us. And stop checking your 401k. What's likely to happen to the economy in 2019? That's next.