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Interview with Representative Jared Huffman; New Israeli Law Makes It Harder to Divide Jerusalem; Hollywood Women Unveil Anti- Harassment Group; Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired January 2, 2018 - 10:30   ET



[10:33:18] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: So if the president wants Democrats to get behind his agenda or even part of it, here's his strategy this morning. The president writes, "Democrats are doing nothing for DACA. Just interested in politics. DACA activists and Hispanics will go hard against Dems, will start falling in love with Republicans and their president. We are about results."

Joining me now to talk about this is Democratic congressman of California, Jared Huffman.

Thanks for joining us.

REP. JARED HUFFMAN (D), CALIFORNIA: Good morning. Thanks for having me.

HARLOW: Did the president win you over with that message?

HUFFMAN: I've stopped responding to the daily provocations in the president's Twitter feed. So no, that's not a good way to win over Democrats. A better way would be to work with us in good faith on solutions.

HARLOW: OK. So let's talk about working in good faith on solutions which many, many Americans want on many fronts, but really a lot on DACA. This is not a Republican or Democratic issue. This is an American issue.


HARLOW: That over 80 percent of Americans polled say they want some sort of pathway for so-called Dreamers who were brought to this country at the average age of 6.


HARLOW: So what will you give to get the president and Republicans on board for a DACA deal before the March deadline?

HUFFMAN: Well, Poppy, the deal is already there. We have a bipartisan working group in Congress that could have the votes to pass the DREAM Act tomorrow. We need to be allowed to have that vote. So some of this -- HARLOW: Well, the president says he won't sign it. You know the

president says he won't sign it unless you guys give something to funding the wall.

HUFFMAN: Well, we've certainly been willing to support border security. We're not going to fund a crazy border wall that the president promised the world Mexico would pay for. That is not working in good faith.

HARLOW: OK. But his latest line is no wall, no DACA deal. So will you give at all?

[10:35:07] HUFFMAN: If it's a crazy border wall that the president has promised and talked about and said Mexico would pay for, no. The Dreamers are not a bargaining chip for that, frankly, very controversial and widely opposed bad idea. There is a deal to be had, though, for the Dreamers, for the continuation of the DACA program.

The president himself agreed to the broad principles of that deal months ago, so, you know, he's -- I'm not sure what he's doing with his tweets in the last few days, but we need to get back to the table, working in good faith, building on the consensus that's already there on a bipartisan basis in members -- with members of Congress.

HARLOW: 2018 is a big year. It's a midterm election year. You're up for re-election. And, you know, who is going to control both Houses of Congress, is a huge question. The only folks with a lower approval rating than the president right now are you guys, seriously. I mean, Congress' approval rating averaged 19 percent last year.


HARLOW: When you sit back and you look at that, what do you think?

HUFFMAN: Well, I think as an institution Congress is performing terribly, so that shouldn't be surprising at all. I will tell you that in my case, in the case of many of my colleagues, our approval ratings a heck of a lot better than the president's when it comes to our own districts and our own constituents.

HARLOW: Impeachment. Now some of your fellow Democrats have gone very far on this and have put forth articles of impeachment against the president. It doesn't matter unless you control the House so much at this point. But you've even said that you're on board with them. You haven't gone so far as to introduce them.


HARLOW: But you're also warning that it's dangerous territory for Democrats, especially in a midterm election year, to necessarily go so far on impeachment without bipartisan support because you point back to the impeachment of President Clinton. What's the lesson in this for your fellow Democrats in a midterm year?

HUFFMAN: So, Poppy, I think Democrats and frankly all members of Congress just need to be honest and careful and responsible when we talk about impeachment. Part of our job is holding the president accountable and dozens of us believe that impeachable offenses have already been committed and we ought to be having that conversation. But it can't be the only thing we do. And we have to be honest with the American people. We're nowhere close to having the political support across party lines to actually start that type of proceeding.

So I think we have to keep building the foundation of accountability through protecting the Mueller investigation, through congressional investigations, and we got to keep simultaneously working on issues that matter to the American people. A better future for them, better jobs, better wages. Better training.

All sorts of infrastructure investment, things that we frankly should have been doing over the past year while our Republican colleagues were playing around trying to repeal Obamacare and passing a terribly regressive tax scam.

HARLOW: So is it dangerous then -- is your message to fellow Democrats, it's dangerous for us to just run on impeachment, impeachment, impeachment, Russia, Russia, you know -- you know, anti- Trump, anti-Trump, anti-Trump to win, to retake, say, even the House? Do your fellow Democrats need a much more sort of thoughtful, proactive message?

HUFFMAN: We have to be honest and the honest truth is we're nowhere close to 218 votes to start impeachment. But look, part of being honest also is when you're asked the question, have impeachable offenses been committed, I think anyone who takes the time to look into this, has to conclude that they have.

We should be spending, in my opinion, about 80 percent of our time talking on issues, talking about issues like DACA, like better jobs, like an economy that works for everyone, like investing in infrastructure, getting broadband out to underserved areas, and then 20 percent of our time approximately. On the other part of our job which is to hold the president accountable, that includes a conversation about impeachment, about the 25th Amendment, about the fact that we have a dangerous president who's doing damage to this country and to the world.

HARLOW: You see what you would deem impeachable offenses. We don't know the results of the Mueller investigation or the different congressional investigations at this point.

Before you go take a look at these numbers. You're not going to love them but these are the numbers. The fundraising numbers. Because as we all know money matters a lot in politics. The RNC has doubled what the DNC raised in terms of money last year.

You're up for re-election, you look at those numbers, does that worry you and should that worry Democrats?

HUFFMAN: Well, the RNC doesn't have a lot to do with Democratic or Republican congressional races. In this case, in recent time, it has a lot to do with paying the Trump legal bills. So -- HARLOW: But I mean, for the party. Does it concern you for the

party? As the president sits with 35 percent approval rating but the party is raising a lot.

HUFFMAN: Well, there are other metrics. You can look at the DCCC relative to our Republican colleagues, we're doing just fine. In fact we're setting records. So I think the funds will be there. The real question is will the message break through.


[10:40:06] HUFFMAN: And I think we're seeing signs from Alabama, New Jersey, other places, that yes, the message is breaking through. People have had it with this reckless Trump agenda. They're ready for change.

HARLOW: Well --

HUFFMAN: They're ready for an agenda that works for the American people.

HARLOW: Some would argue Alabama was an anomaly given the Republican candidate there. But I hear you and we'll be watching. We'll see what happens.

Congressman Jared Huffman, thank you.

HUFFMAN: Thanks, Poppy.

HARLOW: A new law in Israel makes it harder to divide Jerusalem. We're going to tell you what it is. A live report from the city next.


HARLOW: After the U.S. officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, President Trump insists he is still working on his peace plan. Israel, though, just dealt a blow to the possibility of a two- state solution by enacting a law that makes it much more difficult to negotiate any part of Jerusalem.

The city, of course, now the U.S. recognizing as the capital of Israel, it's the most sensitive, perhaps the most important issue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Our Oren Liebermann joins us now from Jerusalem with the latest. Technically, what this law does, Oren, is change the number of votes needed for something -- that is something incredibly important.

[10:45:07] OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. It requires an even larger majority of Israel's parliament to cede or to give up any part of Jerusalem to a foreign entity. Obviously that would be the Palestinians and negotiations. It essentially tries to take Jerusalem off the table in negotiations by requiring such a large majority. Because Jerusalem is so central, such an important part of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict it makes any pursuit of a two-state solution all that much more difficult. It has a second part here. It also allows Israel's parliament to

essentially change the borders of Jerusalem on its own, to redraw the municipal map. That allows it to pursue a plan that would remove Palestinian neighborhoods from Jerusalem in an attempt to ensure Israel's -- or Jerusalem's Jewish majority as the capital of Israel there -- Poppy.

HARLOW: And what does this do to the president's hope for a two-state solution? I mean, the work that Jared Kushner and Jerry (sic) Greenblatt are doing on that front, does it make it all but impossible? Does it make it much more difficult?

LIEBERMANN: All but impossible is probably the right way to look at it at this point. It was a long shot to begin with, ever since Trump took office. And then we recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel the Palestinians walked away and said look, we no longer view the U.S. as the impartial negotiator here, we're not dealing with whatever it is Trump has planned.

In fact at this point after the latest law that was just passed the Palestinians have said this is a declarations of war against the Palestinian people and it shows that the Israel and the U.S. are no longer interested in a just and lasting peace.

Now it's become even more difficult after that because now Israel has attempted to take Jerusalem off the table, which means Trump not only has to deal with the Palestinian challenge, he now has to deal with the Israeli challenge. And yet, as of recently, he still insists he's pursuing the ultimate deal.

The question is how, because it no longer looks, Poppy, as if there's some reasonable way to try to try to get both sides to the table and actually negotiate the issues here.

HARLOW: A really significant move in Israel.

Oren, appreciate the reporting tonight from Jerusalem.

So ahead for us, Hollywood's most powerful women have set up something remarkable, frankly, saying times out with this big letter to sisters saying in solidarity we stand, a move to prevent workplace harassment and abuse not just in Hollywood but across America. The plan, next.


[10:51:10] HARLOW: Some of the most powerful women in Hollywood are teaming up against sexual harassment in a big way. Their initiative is called "Time's Up" and the intention is to create a platform for women across entertainment and across different fields to fight on behalf of women everywhere.

This comes as former FOX News anchor and former Miss America Gretchen Carlson has been named the new chair of the Miss America Pageant, the previous chairman forced to resign after sexist e-mails he wrote about contestants surfaced. With me now is our entertainment reporter, Chloe Melas, and CNN's

senior media correspondent and host of "RELIABLE SOURCES" Brian Stelter.

Chloe, to you first. You've been on top of this really from the beginning with breaking news left and right on all of this. This is a big, big deal just looking at these women. What is the hope that it will actually affect change?

CHLOE MELAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER: I mean, you're right, Poppy, this is a huge deals so over 300 men and women in the entertainment industry unveiled "Time's Up" earlier this week with an open letter saying that their plan is to fight sexual harassment and discrimination for men and women across all industries, not just in Hollywood.

And in doing so, with this open letter that hundreds of celebrities signed, both men and women, they have launched a legal defense fund and have already raised over $13 million of their $15 million goal, which is to provide subsidized legal support for men and women who have experienced harassment and abuse in the workplace.

HARLOW: And just pulling up some of the women if we can on the screen who are behind this, I mean, these are some of the biggest names in Hollywood.

MELAS: Reese Witherspoon, Alyssa Milano, Meryl Streep, I mean, Ava DuVernay --

HARLOW: Doesn't get bigger than that.

MELAS: You really don't. But they're not just pushing for that, guys. They're also pushing for gender parity across film studios, TV studios, looking to bridge the wage gap. Also, they are fighting to, you know, go to Washington to make sure that there's legislation that penalizes companies for using nondisclosure arguments.


MELAS: To silence people, you know, so it's a very good move and they're also asking all men and women to wear black to the Golden Globes this weekend in support of this growing MeToo movement.

HARLOW: So we'll probably see a lot of that on the red carpet.

Talking about these nondisclosure agreements, Brian, that is a huge thing that Gretchen Carlson who has, you know, brought down Roger Ailes because of sexual harassment against her at FOX News, because she's been fighting for legislatively.


HARLOW: In Congress and now another big appointment for her now.

STELTER: To be taking over the Miss America Organization. This is a result of leaked e-mails that showed the former head of Miss America, the CEO, talking in these disparaging terms about some of the women, about some of the winners, some of the contestants. This was reported by "Huff Post" right before Christmas. Now the CEO is out and Gretchen Carlson is coming in.

Now she was Miss America in 1989. This is the first time one of the actual winners is going to be running the organization. Kind of think that should have happened a long time ago. But here is Carlson coming in, taking over. It also gives her a high-profile position as she is helping to lead this charge. All these stories that are really related, aren't they? The "Today" show pointing Hoda Kotb co-host this morning.

HARLOW: First time we've seen women --

STELTER: All of these different -- first time we've seen the "Today" have two women anchors. We saw that on "GMA."

HARLOW: Right.

STELTER: Ten years ago. Now it's a very significant moment, though, given all of these stories about harassment, about problems in the workforce and all the questions about whether systemic change is possible in 2018, not just firings, but actual systemic change.


STELTER: You see Hollywood trying to do that, you see different organizations doing it as well.

HARLOW: What will you be looking for? Because, you know, one thing that is pretty similar in Hollywood and in Washington is the lack of female leadership on the executive level in the entertainment industry. You have some big-named women, you just don't have parity when it comes to men and women, Chloe, just like you don't have parity when it comes to men and women in Congress. So what are you going to be looking at for 2018 to tell me actual change is coming?

MELAS: Well, we're going to be looking for more women in more higher, powerful positions in Hollywood, at these film studios, at these TV studios, at streaming services.

[10:55:08] You know, there's a lot of powerful men that are out in those positions, so there are openings for women to fill those shoes.

STELTER: Yes. Yes. At Amazon, for example. Yes.

MELAS: True. So, you know, that's something that we're going to be looking for. And then also just in terms of the near future, this weekend at the Golden Globes you better believe that the message is going to be about the MeToo movement and about no more harassment and inequality.

HARLOW: What are you looking for, quickly, Brian, at the Globes on that front?

STELTER: The gender parity point is crucial. And there's a lot of talk right now. 2018 has to be about translated to action. It's amazing to see hundreds of these women organizing behind the scenes.

HARLOW: So our friend Brooke Baldwin, anchor 3:00 to 4:00, has a great series coming out tomorrow on


HARLOW: "AMERICAN WOMEN," and one of the women profiled is Ava DuVernay.


HARLOW: So look at that --



HARLOW: Powerful woman in Hollywood. Thank you all very much. And happy New Year.

MELAS: Thank you.

HARLOW: We appreciate it.

All right. Day two of 2018, President Trump tweeting about Iran, North Korea, former President Obama. Also taking on his own Justice Department. Just a few of the headlines we have to get to. Stay with us.


ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Hello. I'm Ana Cabrera in for Kate Bolduan. A busy start to the new year. It is President Trump's first full day back in Washington and he is facing a packed agenda. He is tweeting away on a slew of different topics this morning, on the attack.