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State of the Union
Trump Already Undercutting Case for National Emergency?; Interview With Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH); Interview With Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA); Trump Undercuts His Emergency: "I Didn't Need To Do This"; Trump Divides Conservatives With National Emergency Declaration; Amazon HQ2 Fiasco Sparks Civil War Among Democrats; Across The Country, Women Are Leading The Political Discourse. Aired 9-10a ET
Aired February 17, 2019 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DANA BASH, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): National emergency? President Trump uses executive power to get his wall. But did he already undercut his case?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I didn't need to do this.
BASH: Even some in his own party disagree with the move.
SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: I'm disappointed.
BASH: Will Republicans vote to stop the president?
Plus: staking their ground. Divisions emerge among the 2020 Democratic field.
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Do a public option.
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We need to have Medicare for all.
BASH: What kind of nominee do Democrats want? Democratic Senator and potential presidential contender Sherrod Brown weighs in.
And new revelations. The drip, drip, drip of the Mueller probe continues, with new allegations about Roger Stone's ties to WikiLeaks. As a leading senator says his committee has still found no proof of collusion, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, responds.
BASH: Hello. I'm Dana Bash, in for Jake Tapper, in Washington, where the state of our union is facing a constitutional showdown. President Trump is at his golf resort in Florida this weekend after
declaring a national emergency on Friday in order to secure funding for a wall along the southern border. It's intended to bypass Congress and allow the president to redirect billions of federal dollars toward the wall.
The move is already facing challenges in the courts. And Democrats are vowing to try to stop the president legislatively. Some Republicans are also criticizing the tactic. Senator Marco Rubio said -- quote -- "No crisis justifies violating the Constitution."
And just like he did in 2016, President Trump is making the wall a central part of his 2020 reelection campaign. He held a rally this past week in El Paso, Texas, and displayed signs reading "Finish that wall," even though no new wall has been built.
Democrats, for their part, they are on the campaign trail pushing back on the national emergency declaration, calling it manufactured and inappropriate.
And, as President Trump hones his 2020 strategy, some in the Democratic Party are looking to a candidate who hasn't decided yet whether to run, and that candidate, potential candidate, is Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown, a longtime progressive and proud populist.
And he joins me now from his home state of Ohio.
Good morning, Senator. Thank you so much for joining me.
SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D), OHIO: Good to be back. Thanks, Dana.
BASH: Let's start with the president's national emergency declaration.
You said it seems like he's trying to ignore the Constitution. But you defended President Obama for taking executive actions on immigration when Congress wouldn't act. So, why is it OK for President Obama and not President Trump?
BROWN: Well, this is the first kind of emergency we have seen like this that a president has done this.
He couldn't get the Mexicans to build the wall. He couldn't get Congress to vote the money in. This is the -- in fact, the first emergency declaration like this in -- with that kind of construct, where he got turned down by Congress and then went ahead and did it.
That's why you see so many Republicans saying, don't do this. Republicans are afraid that he's going to take the money from somewhere else and something they care about, but, fundamentally, they think it's a president who failed, who hates to lose, who is acting childish, and is -- is violating the Constitution.
Republican after Republican is telling us that privately. We will have a vote on this likely in the next two or three weeks. See if those Republicans show the backbone that they generally haven't shown standing up to this president in the past.
But this is more serious, because it's a constitutional question. So I take them at their word that they will stand up to him.
BASH: Senator, in a series of tweets on Friday, you said several other topics were actually national emergencies like gun violence.
Republicans have shown no willingness to pursue new gun control legislation. So, if you were president, would you declare a national emergency on gun violence?
BROWN: No, I don't think you think -- as a potential president, I don't think any candidate or sitting president should think, well, these are the big problems, I'm going to go after them with a national emergency -- as a national emergency.
I mean, I -- when you look at gun violence, when you look at opioids, when you look at infrastructure, how we have failed, this government has failed to address those issues, you need presidential leadership to do that.
Look back 50 years, when Congress and the White House in our country realized that tobacco was a huge public health threat. All of the federal government, with all kinds of local community, people, governments, businesses, labor unions, all pulled together.
We have cut the rate of smoking in half and cut it by even more than that among young people.
BROWN: So you need a president that's going to do that on opioids, call on a national -- it's -- whether it's called an emergency or not, get people engaged that way, not sign a resolution like this, and then go out and make speeches, like this president is doing, without really dressing real emergencies, because this isn't the emergency that gun violence is and infrastructure is and opioids is.
BASH: One more specific question on the border wall.
Former Texas Congressman Beto O'Rourke says he supports taking the border wall, the border fencing in and around El Paso, where he's from, down, because he said it hasn't made the country safer. Do you think the existing walls and fencing along the border should come down?
BROWN: I don't live in El Paso, and I take the congressman there at his word.
BASH: But you are a United States senator who does these policies. BROWN: I understand that.
But I don't think you look at the border wall in a 12-mile area. I take a back seat to nobody in border security, and it's clear we have learned over time that we have the technology, helicopters, border agents, to make our country safe and to keep -- to keep illegal crossings at a minimum without building a long wall.
That's a decision that should be made in the whole context. You don't say, well, this congressman says take it down here, this congressman says build it up there. You really want to look more broadly than that.
BASH: Senator, let's talk about the policy debates going on within the Democratic Party right now.
And I want to start with health care. You just introduced a bill this past week that would allow Americans over 50 years old to buy into Medicare. But more than 20 million people are uninsured under the age of 50. So a lot of your colleagues, as you know, are supporting Medicare for all, a plan that would cover everyone.
Why aren't you?
BROWN: Well, I support universal coverage, and have since I paid my own health insurance when I first came to Congress, promised to do that, paid it for years.
BASH: But why doesn't this plan cover everybody?
BROWN: No, no, no, I understand that. I'm just giving you a little background of where...
BROWN: ... what -- my background in this.
But I want to help people now. I want to expand Medicare to 50. We did that 10 years ago. We fell one vote short, when Senator Lieberman changed his vote. That would have been part of the Affordable Care Act, Medicare at 55 in those days.
Our bill now, with Senator Stabenow and others, is to bring Medicare, a voluntary buy-in at 50. I want to help people. Now, if we get enough people, we will see a lot of people get in -- in that plan, 58- year-olds and 62-year-olds that have lost their insurance, lost their jobs. We will see the success of that, and that will end up continuing to broaden and expand coverage for so many Americans.
BASH: And what would your plan be in the short term to cover people under 50? BROWN: Well, you -- first of all, you go to Congress and you fix the
problems with the Affordable Care Act. You stop the attacks that President Obama has made on the -- with the navigators.
He's taken people -- he's basically fired people that help people get on insurance that could get -- that could get subsidized insurance and be in the exchanges, that could get to Medicaid. Government needs an all-in in helping people get on Medicaid.
I think that if we -- again, I go back, and I want to help people now, and helping people now is building on the Affordable Care Act, not -- not repealing Obamacare, which is what they suggest. It's making sure we fix the consumer protections for preexisting conditions.
BASH: Do you...
BROWN: It's all of those things. That will mean a lot more people almost immediately can get insurance. And that's the way I want to go.
BASH: Do you not think that Medicare for all is practical?
BROWN: I think Medicare for all will take a while. And it's difficult. And it's selling to people who now have insurance that would have to -- they would have their insurance plans canceled and move into a government plan.
I think that's difficult. I want to help people now. That's why you do Medicare at 50.
BROWN: I want to build -- again, I say, I want to build on the Obamacare, not repeal it with a whole new plan.
BASH: One more health care question.
BASH: Do you believe there's a place for private health insurance?
BROWN: Yes. I just said that. I said that in so many words, that you build on the Affordable Care Act.
BROWN: You don't wipe it off, wipe it away and then come up with something new that will take time and will cause people angst and anguish to move to a different plan.
BROWN: Give people the options now at Medicare at 50, fix the Affordable Care Act, get rid of the -- do the consumer -- strengthen consumer protections on the -- on the -- on the -- when insurance companies cancel their plans, preexisting conditions. BASH: Senator, let's move on to jobs, a big topic for you, I know.
There's a really big divide in your party over Amazon. They backed out of plans to build a second headquarters in New York City. Amazon had promised 25,000 new jobs. You spend so much of your time talking about the dignity of work.
Did progressives in New York who lobbied against Amazon make a mistake?
BROWN: No, I -- I don't think this is a big division in the party.
I think there's local communities that resent giving huge tax breaks to billionaires, as those of us in Congress fight against giving big tax breaks to billionaires, whether you look at Foxconn in Wisconsin or Amazon in various places.
What we need to do is look at it more broadly. My Patriot Corporation Act is simple. It simply says, you throw out the Trump tax bill, the trillion-and-a-half-dollar mostly giveaway to the richest people in this country and to huge corporations. That's fundamentally what it was. Seventy percent of the benefits went to the top 1 percent.
You then implement the Patriot -- my Patriot Corporation Act simply says, if you play by the rules, you pay decent wages and benefits, you do your production in the United States, you get a lower tax rate.
But if you are one of those companies, big, big companies, executives making millions, but you pay a lot of your workers $10 and $12 and $15 an hour, and they are eligible for food stamps and eligible for Medicaid and eligible for Section 8 housing, you have a -- you levy on them a corporate freeloader fee.
They reimburse taxpayers for the money that we, as taxpayers, spend subsidizing their employees. That will make a fairer tax system. And we won't -- we won't see these companies coming into communities and just ask -- demanding huge tax breaks in order to locate there.
BASH: So you -- you just talked about your corporate tax plan.
I want to ask you about another policy proposal that you say would help working families. It would double the Earned Income Tax Credit, expand the child tax credit. How are you going to pay for that?
BROWN: Well, you pay for it by -- as I said earlier, you -- that's part of the corporate freeloader fee in the Patriot Corporation Act. In our plan that you just mentioned, it will expand Earned Income Tax...
BASH: But would that cover it?
BROWN: Oh, yes. You pay for it by -- you wipe off the books, the Trump tax bill, that blew a trillion-and-a-half-dollar hole in the budget. You start with, instead of giving those tax breaks to the wealthiest people in this country, you focus those tax breaks on corporations that, shall we say, are patriotic, do their production here.
You have revenue coming in from the patriot freeloader fee and -- from the corporate freeloader fee, and then the money -- then you will have money available for middle-income, $20,000, $30,000, $40,000, $50,000, $60,000 a year.
BASH: How do you feel about the marginal tax rate on the super rich? Should that also be increased?
BROWN: I don't -- there will be a lot of individual questions on when a senator or a campaign offers a tax plan or a congresswoman or a congressman does the same.
I want to -- I want to build into -- so, I'm not going to answer each one individually.
BASH: But you think you can -- you think you can do your plan without raising the marginal tax rate for the super rich? I guess that's my question. Can you do it with -- just with the corporate changes?
BROWN: No, I think -- well, I answered that earlier by -- by saying eliminate the Trump tax bill.
BASH: Uh-huh. And...
BROWN: The Trump -- Trump tax law -- and let's go from there and see.
I mean, I, of course, support a graduated income tax. I always have. I mean, I -- from my votes against the Iraq War 20 years ago, to my support for marriage equality, I have always been a progressive, and I'm consistent on tax policy.
I just don't want to pick this -- pick this one off the menu and that one off the menu and say yes to that and no to that.
BROWN: I want a comprehensive tax bill.
But, fundamentally, it's aimed towards middle-class benefits, having the wealthy pay their fair share...
BROWN: ... getting corporations to act responsibly for communities, rather than rigging the system, so that they don't play off community against community...
BASH: And just to... BROWN: ... and worker against worker.
BASH: ... put a button on this, you -- you -- it sounds like you are saying taxes should go up for the wealthy and people who have gotten tax breaks.
BROWN: Of course. The wealthy -- the wealthy have had huge tax breaks over the years.
The Trump tax plan, 70 percent went to the wealthiest 1 percent. Of course taxes should go up for them.
But I'm -- and that -- but that's all part of a plan to make corporations actually operate in the -- to align corporations incentives with what's good for communities. We haven't done that. We have aligned -- corporations' incentives have been what's good for corporations.
BROWN: That hasn't worked.
We have seen wages -- we've seen productivity go up. We have seen corporate -- corporate profits go up. We have seen corporate executive compensation explode, but wages have been flat. It's partly because of a tax system. It's partly because of a trade policy that sells out American workers and fundamentally sells out American communities.
BASH: Senator, before I let you go, you traveled to two of the four early voting states. Have you learned anything that would keep you out of the race?
BROWN: No, I haven't learned -- I have learned a lot of things about communities.
And I have been to Iowa, New Hampshire, and we're going to Nevada and South Carolina in the next couple of weeks. Connie and I go -- Connie and I go together.
We will have a timetable in the next couple, three weeks to make a decision. And I...
BASH: Are the odds still 50/50, as you have said before?
BROWN: Probably, more or less. I don't -- yes.
BROWN: I don't know, 50/50, 51/49.
BROWN: I don't know. BASH: All right, Senator, thank you so much for joining me this morning. I appreciate it.
BROWN: Thanks, Dana, always. Thank you.
BASH: And, as the Mueller investigation appears to be nearing an end, House Democrats say their probe is only just beginning. Will they accept the special counsel's results?
We will ask the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee next.
And a top Trump adviser called President Obama imperial for trying to get around the will of Congress, but what about now that President Trump is doing the same thing?
Stay with us.
BASH: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION. I'm Dana Bash.
More legal trouble for former Trump associates.
The special counsel is recommending up to 24 years in prison for former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort for financial crimes, as prosecutors revealed for the first time that they uncovered direct communications between Roger Stone and WikiLeaks, an allegation that raises more questions about how involved the former Trump associate was in getting information about hacked Russian e-mails.
Joining me now is the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Congressman Adam Schiff of California.
There are so many questions to get to about the Russia investigation, but first I want to ask you about the president's decision to declare a national emergency on the border.
You called the decision -- quote -- "plainly unconstitutional." But the law does give the president broad discretion on when to invoke these statutes. And Congress has never really defined what a national emergency is.
So, why is it unconstitutional?
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: Well, because this is the first time a president has tried to declare an emergency when Congress explicitly rejected funding for the particular project that the president is advocating.
And in saying just the other day that he didn't really need to do this, he just wanted to do it because it would help things go faster, he's pretty much daring the court to strike this down. So it's hard to imagine a poorer case.
But I will say this, Dana. It's going to be a real test for my GOP colleagues in Congress and their devotion to the institution. If we give away, if we surrender the power of the purse, which is our most important power, there will be little check and no balance left. It will not be a separation of powers anymore, just a separation of parties.
So this is going to be a moment of truth for my GOP colleagues.
BASH: Well, and you are referring, of course, to what the House is likely to do and later the Senate, which is a joint resolution to terminate the president's national emergency.
But let me ask you about potentially going a step further, because that would be hard to get a veto-proof majority on in both chambers. Do you think that Congress should actually change the law, so that the president can no longer declare a national emergency without the support of Congress?
SCHIFF: Well, there are reasons why a president should have an ability to declare an emergency -- that is, under a real emergency. That's plainly not the case here.
And the risk the president takes, the risk to future presidencies, is that we limit the president's power to act when it really is necessary, when it is not practical to bring the Congress into session on a moment's notice.
But this president doesn't care about future presidents. He only cares about himself. And, in this case, he only cares about placating his conservative critics.
BASH: Let's talk about the Mueller investigation.
We learned on Friday that the special counsel obtained evidence of Roger Stone's direct communication with WikiLeaks, which he had said before didn't exist. And we also know that Stone was coordinating with a senior Trump campaign official, and those e-mails were hacked by the Russians.
So what does that tell you?
SCHIFF: Well, it tells me that, as we have seen in other cases that the special counsel has brought, the full story is not in the indictment, that it is very possible that the best evidence is yet to come, that, in fact, here, there were search warrants executed on multiple accounts of these Russian hackers that reveal communications between Roger Stone and WikiLeaks, and essentially directly with the GRU and Roger Stone, because the GRU is acting with the persona Guccifer 2.0.
The substance of those communications can be very telling. It may go to what Roger Stone was trying to find out. It may go to whether he was communicating that information to people back in the White House. It could be very revealing. And we will just have to wait to find out.
BASH: This week, the chair, your counterpart in the Senate, the Republican chair of the Intelligence Committee, Richard Burr, said that his committee has found nothing to suggest collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
You said -- quote -- "That's not our view in the House."
But, you know, Burr hasn't exactly been a rabid partisan on this. Until the last couple of weeks, he's been working very closely with the Democrats. So, why do you think he's wrong?
SCHIFF: Well, it's not just that I think he's wrong. Mark Warner, the vice chair of the Intel Committee in the Senate, also disagrees with that assessment.
But, look, you can see evidence in plain sight on the issue of collusion, pretty compelling evidence. Now, there's a difference between seeing evidence of collusion and being able to prove a criminal conspiracy beyond a reasonable doubt.
But Mr. -- Chairman Burr must have a different word for it, because, when you look, for example, at the e-mails to set up the meeting in Trump Tower, it was offered to the Trump campaign, to the president's own son, dirt on Hillary Clinton as part of what was described as the Russian government's effort to help Donald Trump in the campaign.
And the response from the campaign was, we would love to have the help.
Now, that's an offer of help. That's an acceptance of help. There's an overt act in the Trump Tower in furtherance of that. And, of course, that's not even contemplating the discussions with George Papadopoulos or the information about the efforts that Mike Flynn made to work with the Russian ambassador secretly to undermine sanctions and then lie about that.
All of this is evidence of collusion. And you either have to look the other way to say it isn't, or you have to have a different word for it, because it is a corrupt dealing with a foreign adversary during a campaign.
But, again, it will be up to Mueller to determine whether that amounts to criminal conspiracy.
BASH: Well -- well, on that note, we expect at some point, maybe soon, maybe not, the findings of the Mueller investigation to finally be completed.
If he finds that there was no direct collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, will you accept that?
SCHIFF: Well, we're going to have to do our own investigation. And we are. We will certainly be very interested to learn what Bob Mueller finds.
We may have to fight to get that information. Bill Barr has not been willing to commit to provide that report, either to the Congress or to the American people. We're going to need to see it. The American people are going to need to see it.
We may also need to see the evidence behind that report. There may be, for example, evidence of collusion or conspiracy that is clear and convincing, but not proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
The American people are entitled to know if there is evidence of a conspiracy between either the president or the president's campaign and a foreign adversary.
At the end of the day, the most important thing for the American people to know is whether the president is somehow compromised, whether there's leverage that the Russians could use over the president. And if the Russians are in a position to expose wrongdoing by the president or his campaign, that's compromising.
BASH: You're -- you are talking about transparency, but I guess the question is, in terms of what the substance of his -- his findings are, Robert Mueller, will you -- given the fact he has had such an extensive investigation, will you accept the findings, separate from the investigation that you are doing?
SCHIFF: You know, I will certainly accept them in this way, Dana. I have great confidence in the special counsel.
And if the special counsel represents that he has investigated, and not been interfered with, and not been able to make a criminal case, then I will believe that he is operating in good faith.
BASH: Federal prosecutors are still considering whether to bring charges against former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, after he allegedly lied to investigators about authorizing leaks to the media.
Now, we have seen at least five Trump associates indicted for just that, lying to investigators. Do you think McCabe should be prosecuting -- prosecuted for doing the same thing?
SCHIFF: Well, the Justice Department received a referral from the inspector general. I think they need to study that and the evidence, and they need to make an objective determination about it.
I think he should be held to the same standard as anyone else that the Justice Department has looked at in this investigation or any other.
BASH: A little bit of 2020 politics before I let you go.
The governor of your state, Gavin Newsom, endorsed California Senator Kamala Harris in the Democratic primary for 2020. He joined four of your fellow California representatives in Congress.
So, what about you? Are you going to endorse Senator Harris for president? SCHIFF: I haven't made any decisions in the presidential race yet.
It's still very early.
But I have to say, I have been very impressed with Kamala Harris as a senator, and I have been extremely impressed with her as a candidate for president.
In a rare bout of truthfulness by President Trump, he acknowledged what a superb rollout she's had. And I think we can already compare her favorably with some of the other candidates this early. But I'm not ready to make a decision.
California Representative and Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff, thank you so much for joining me this morning.
SCHIFF: Thank you.
BASH: The president's power play is forcing some Republican lawmakers to make a tough choice: support their principles or their president.
I will ask a prominent Trump supporter what he thinks next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I didn't need to do this, but I'd rather do it much faster. And I don't have to do it for the election. I've already done a lot of wall for the election, 2020.
And the only reason we're up here talking about this is because of the election. Because they want to try and win an election which it looks like they're not going to be able to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION. I'm Dana Bash.
President Trump, you heard him there, seeming to undercut his own argument that there is an emergency at the border. We've got my panel with me. Let's discuss.
Senator Santorum, let's start with you. You are a Republican who his expressed reservations about using this executive power. If you were in the Senate still, would you vote on that principle or vote with the president?
RICK SANTORUM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, I think the president has the authority to do it. So it's hard for me as a senator to say, well, I disagree with him on the principle that he could exercise national emergency. He can. The Congress gave him broad authority to do it. Should he have done it in this interest (ph)? The answer is, no. I think he could have done in this interest (ph). I think he could have -- he could have done and in fact, most of the money if you look at his spending, he could have spent that without declaring a national emergency.
I don't think it was the right thing to do. He gave the reason as to why he's doing it because it makes it easier for him to deploy the money. Declaring this national emergency gives him the authority not just to rearrange the money but to be able to bypass some things to be able to get his wall built.
So there's -- there are lots of reasons he did it. I think to be consistent, having had criticized President Obama for things far worse than what this president is doing, I think it's -- I think it's consistent for me to have voted no.
JENNIFER GRANHOLM, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: The real reason that he did it, the real reason, I mean, there's a national emergency. But it doesn't have to do with what's going on at the border. He saw what was going on in Congress. He thought this weekend, if they got -- if he signed a bill that didn't fund the wall, that we'd all be talking about what a loser he was, that he had failed in the budget negotiations.
So he has to do something to change the subject. So he declared a fake crisis, a fake emergency at the border. And then what happens is that he puts it all on Republicans to try to remedy the problem.
And what are the Republicans going to do? I appreciate the fact you say -- of you saying you'd not vote for it. I think there were a few other Republicans over the past couple of day who said that.
But Mitch McConnell who has come out so strongly in favor of congressional authority, the national emergency that's going on is that the president is usurping the constitution and taking away the power of Congress for a fake emergency.
SANTORUM: That's not true.
GRANHOLM: And they are allowing him to do it. If they allow this to go forward, he has pants them and they are saying, hit me again.
SANTORUM: That simply -- that simply is not true. He has the authority.
GRANHOLM: It is true.
SANTORUM: National emergency that the Congress --
GRANHOLM: Not for a fake emergency, Rick. It is a fake emergency.
SANTORUM: Look at the other, quote, emergencies. Sierra Leone, Congo, Myanmar (ph) --
GRANHOLM: Those are national crises that are happening in those countries.
SANTORUM: They were not national -- they're not national emergencies.
GRANHOLM: This is fake.
SANTORUM: He has every right to do what he's doing, I just don't agree that he should be --
LINDA CHAVEZ, FORMER REAGAN ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: We're not going to settle here whether or not he has the right. It is going to go into the courts. And he's right about that.
It's probably going to be struck down. What will happen in the Supreme Court will be interesting. It will be interesting to see whether conservatives on that court, you know, look at the constitution and say Article I says that Congress has the right to appropriate money and he's been turned down on this.
He did it because he couldn't get his way. He's not the great negotiator that everybody said he was. And, frankly, that whole press conference he had, I think the real crisis here is the president's state of mind.
That was the most bizarre performance --
CHAVEZ: -- I have ever seen in my 40-some years of politics in Washington, D.C. never have I seen anything like that.
BASH: You are the sitting member of Congress at this table. What do you think you guys are going to do?
REP. ANTHONY BROWN (D-MD), ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE: Well, there's going to be I think a two-pronged response. There's going to be a resolution of disapproval and they'll be a majority both I think in the House, clearly, as well as in the Senate now. There's also going to be litigation filed.
There will be litigation filed by members of Congress. We're already seeing litigation by property owners, state government, local government. This is going to be tied up in the courts.
But, look, I agree. The crisis is in the Oval Office and not on the border. The president is declaring a national emergency as he even stated in his announcement yesterday or the day before because of 2020 and what he anticipates to be a tough re-election.
Just like he sent active duty troops to the border before the 2018 midterms. He fabricates a crisis, calls it a national emergency for political purposes.
BASH: I want to play some -- some sound that our CNN's KFile found from the chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, former member of the House articulating conservative opposition to then president declaring a national state of emergency.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
REP. MICK MULVANEY (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: An imperial presidency is dangerous for everyone and I think this is -- this is the premier issue right now in Washington, D.C. I don't think we're going to get anything across the president's desk that will pass a veto, but I do think we should put it on his desk and let him know that the elected officials of Congress, Republican and Democrat alike, object to him going around Congress.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
SANTORUM: But the big difference here is what the president did on DACA, President Obama, and what he did on the Obamacare. Both were counter to what the Congress wanted, just like what this president is doing. But he had absolutely no authority to do so, none.
In this case, Congress passed a law called the National Emergencies Act which gives the president broad authority to do it. This is not a constitutional issue. This is unlike what Obama did. Obama was blatant and unconstitutional.
Here's the problem. No Democrat fought Obama. Everyone said oh, he's doing what we want so we're all for it. And that's the dishonesty that we're seeing out of the Democratic Party. It was clear there was no authority whatsoever to do it. They didn't oppose it.
CHAVEZ: I'm sorry, can we just --
SANTORUM: I don't think he should --
CHAVEZ: We have to have the facts here. On DACA, the president did have the authority to not deport children who had arrived here. That was what --
SANTORUM: But he went beyond that.
CHAVEZ: He went beyond that and gave work permits. But he has the authority not to --
BASH: I hate to do this. We have to take a break. We've got a lot more to talk about.
Don't worry, you're not going anywhere.
GRANHOLM: Yes. We got to come back on that point.
BASH: A decision by Amazon is dividing the Democratic Party. We're going to talk about that and this, next.
BASH: Welcome back. Let's continue our conversation about the president's national emergency declaration which, by the way, was continuing in a very lively way during the break.
GRANHOLM: I just want to respond to Rick's point about this hypocrisy. Number one, Obama didn't use a national emergency, a fake national emergency to take money --
SANTORUM: No authority.
GRANHOLM: To take money that Congress had previously appropriated for other purposes to fund DACA or DAPA because they didn't require that funding.
SANTORUM: Obamacare didn't.
GRANHOLM: And importantly the executive order was temporary. It was not a long-term -- this is a permanent wall to fund a fake emergency that everybody --
BROWN: Two other points on this also with the DACA and Dream Act, Congress refused to act. The House wouldn't take it up. But I think important is that the American people overwhelmingly supported a fix for DACA, just as today Americans overwhelmingly reject the idea of a wall and a national emergency to build the wall. So there are plenty of distinctions and differences between DACA and the wall.
SANTORUM: Of course, you're ignoring the Affordable Care Act where he took money that was not appropriated, specifically under that. The Congress said, no, we're not giving you this money. And he took it from somewhere else and spent it to subsidize insurance companies.
You ignore that. That's a reality. He had no authority. The court struck him down from doing it and you all applauded him doing it.
BASH: I want to talk about what a prominent Democrat who ran in Texas and lost, your former colleague Beto O'Rourke, said about the wall.
He said basically that he believes that the wall should be taken down in his hometown of El Paso, Texas. What do you think?
BROWN: I don't think we should be removing physical barriers. I mean, Congress appropriated $1.375 billion this go around, $1.3 billion before. There are physical barriers that impede pedestrian movement across the border, vehicular movement on the border.
We focused on funding those barriers that resemble the designs that are currently deployed. So that's what we ought to do. There's no nation in the world that doesn't protect its borders. I reject the idea that we should take down walls.
BASH: Is that going -- is that going to hurt him?
GRANHOLM: I don't -- I don't know. I don't know if it is or not. I totally agree with you.
I mean, ,you have to -- as Democrats have been saying, some portions need physical barriers. Some need technological barriers. You need to be (INAUDIBLE) security --
BASH: So you would not take down --
CHAVEZ: This is playing right into President Trump's hands. I mean, really, this, you know, abolish ICE, tear down the wall. We do need walls in some places. We don't need it for 2,000 miles and we don't need it to be a concrete barrier but having a wall in California, having a wall in Texas where there are ports of entries and where you want to protect the area around it, it did, in fact, diminish the flow of people illegally into the United States when those sections of the wall were built.
BASH: OK. Let's talk about Amazon pulling out of New York City because the progressives elected and otherwise in New York City, lobbied against it.
The mayor of New York City Bill de Blasio defended the deal in a "New York Times" op-ed this morning. And here's what he said, "The agreement we struck with Amazon back in November was a solid foundation. The retail giant's expansion in New York encountered opposition in no small part because of growing frustration with corporate America. The lesson here is that corporations can't ignore rising anger over economic inequality anymore."
Would you have rejected those jobs? GRANHOLM: Oh, no. I would have never rejected a single job.
GRANHOLM: All kinds of jobs for all kinds of people. So, no. I would have been thrilled to get Amazon. I understand why Bill de Blasio wanted them and why Cuomo really pushed for it. And why Virginia is going to benefit enormously as a result of this.
It's a shame that they, you know, that they didn't -- but I do think the point that de Blasio is making about how a lot of these technology platforms have exacerbated income inequality and it's hard to look away from the fact Jeff Bezos is the richest man in the entire world. And Amazon is a hugely successful corporation that, obviously, didn't need the tax breaks that were going to be spent.
When that money could have been spent -- it would have been great if Amazon agreed to like -- fix the subway. Part of it.
BASH: What does it say about where progressives are -- the power of progressives in your party?
BROWN: Well, first of all let me -- look -- first of all let me say we have plenty of progressives in Maryland, and we were vying for Amazon to come to Maryland. We're glad they're coming to Northern Virginia. We'll benefit in Maryland.
But I think it's important to focus on -- when you're talking about that public/private partnership to attract a large corporation and plenty of jobs, I think you focus less on the corporate subsidies and the tax incentives and focus on the infrastructure that you're going to bring to that community to support. And it's not just roads and rail but it's workforce development. It's affordable housing.
And when you -- when you have that kind of partnership and you pitch that to the local community, you'll get the kind of support you need to bring 25,000 jobs. We'll gladly take them in Maryland.
CHAVEZ: Instead of the big tax breaks. How about just lowering your tax rates in states like New York and then you will in fact attract more businesses as states with lower tax rates do.
GRANHOLM: You know what Amazon paid in taxes last year? Zero in federal taxes. Zero. Largely because of the tax breaks that the federal government --
SANTORUM: Because they lost money for a long period of time. Anyway, the bottom line is Bill de Blasio is duplicitous in this op-ed because he was one of the reasons they didn't come because of his comments that were hostile to Amazon about bringing unions in and all that sort of stuff. So he can -- he can -- he can say that he --
SANTORUM: He was very hostile. And so the reality is that you are now seeing America look at what socialism looks like.
GRANHOLM: Oh, come on.
SANTORUM: It is hostile to the private sector. It plays class warfare no matter how beneficial those things are. And it's not going to be beneficial --
BASH: We're going to have to continue this one in the green room. Maybe you guys can do live tweeting. Thank you so much. What a great discussion.
There are now more women than ever in Congress and on the presidential campaign trail. And they are bringing a new approach to politics as usual. Stay with us.
BASH: If 2018 was the campaign year of the woman, 2019 is the year women take the lead.
ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D), CONGRESSWOMAN-ELECT, NEW YORK: Are you ready to make a ruckus?
BASH (voice-over): There's something a little different in the hallways of Congress and on the campaign trail. Women leaders are starting to feel less like the exception and more like the rule.
SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D), NEW YORK: The truth is if we changed who is at the decision-making table, we would change everything.
BASH: Three years after a woman made history as the first female major party nominee, now half the Democratic 2020 field is female and many view their gender as a selling point.
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D), CALIFORNIA: My mother used to say to me, Kamala, you may be the first to do many things, but make sure you're not the last.
BASH: In the White House and on Capitol Hill, powerful women are smashing expectations.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: I want women to see that you do not get pushed around.
BASH: And seizing control of the political conversation.
OCASIO-CORTEZ: Oftentimes the most righteous thing you can do is shake the table. BASH: To be sure, sexism still exists.
Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer just called on a local news station to focus on women's ideas and accomplishments instead of our appearance after a report on the buzz about her dress at a recent speech.
But if 2018 was the year of women getting elected, is 2019 the year when women get things done? The historic female duo leading the House Appropriations Committee, Democratic Chairwoman Nita Lowey and Republican Ranking Member Kay Granger say just watch.
REP. KAY GRANGER (R), TEXAS: We're going to show how well two women can get this done. We're going to disagree but not be disagreeable and work things out.
BASH: And what does the second richest man in the world think about Amazon's decision to break up with New York? Fareed Zakaria sits down with Bill Gates next.