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Government Shutdown Looms with No DREAMers Deal in Sight; Steve Bannon to Meet with House Investigators. Aired 6-6:30a ET
Aired January 16, 2018 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The threat of a government shutdown becoming more of a reality with each passing day.
[05:59:26] SEN. CHRIS COONS (D), DELAWARE: We will not fund the government without a DACA deal.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Mr. President, close the deal. It's not going to be done on Twitter.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My bigger concerns is that his remarks don't blow up the DREAMer/DACA agreement.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The reaction has been over the top.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know who said what. It's like a bunch of kids in the back of a minivan.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A host of Trump campaign and White House staffers set to testify this week as part of the Russia investigation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bannon said that the heart of this case is money laundering, and I think they're going to want to know what does he mean by that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The real question is whether the Intelligence Committee is willing to gather the information that we need to protect ourselves.
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Tuesday, January 16, 6 a.m. here in the New York. Here is our starting line.
Congress returns today to a sobering reality. The U.S. government may be headed for a shutdown on the one-year anniversary of Donald Trump's presidency. This firestorm ignited by the president's disparaging comments about immigrants making it less likely that lawmakers will reach a deal on spending and immigration in the next four days.
President Trump is blaming Democratic Senator Dick Durbin for misrepresenting those comments in that contentious Oval Office meeting on immigration. Durbin stands by his story on the president's profane comments. He also says -- well, the president also accuses Durbin of now trying to blow up this deal to protect hundreds of thousands of these so-called DREAMers.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: We're also learning more about what the facts are, what happened inside this tense and arguably profane meeting between the president and lawmakers, where the president certainly expressed a preference for people from Norway over people from Africa, South and Central America.
"The Washington Post" reports Chief of Staff John Kelly convinced the president beforehand that the bipartisan plan was not good for him politically. So much for "bring me a deal and I will sign it."
Also, it is a busy day in the Russia investigation today. In just hours, the president's former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, is going to be interviewed by congressional investigators but behind closed doors. This as former Trump campaign officials Paul Manafort and Rick Gates are both facing criminal charges, as you know, and they're both back in federal court today.
We have it all covered. Let's begin with CNN's Abby Phillip live at the White House. Good to have you,, Ab.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Chris.
Well, President Trump is back in Washington, and Congress is returning to work today with no deal over immigration and the government shutdown deadline looming. Making matters worse is the ongoing controversy over President Trump's crude remarks in the Oval Office, when he rejected a bipartisan immigration proposal, effectively sidelining an immigration deal.
PHILLIP (voice-over): The prospect of a government shutdown growing increasingly likely, as a high-stakes game of chicken plays out on Capitol Hill over including a deal for DREAMers in Friday's must-pass spending bill.
COONS: A majority of my caucus, myself included, we will not fund the government without a DACA deal.
SEN. JOHN KENNEDY (R), LOUISIANA: I don't want to shut the government down. I think it would be a mistake if the Democrats tried to force us to vote on amnesty, but if they do, I will vote no.
PHILLIP: Republicans now focusing on passing another short-term funding measure to keep the government open, but it is not clear they have the votes.
The chair of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, telling CNN on Monday that it will be "extremely difficult to convince our caucus members to vote on another short-term funding mechanism." Democrats are demanding any spending bill include protections for
DREAMers, so they are working to create momentum for the bipartisan deal rejected by President Trump last week.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), MINORITY LEADER: If it was put on the floor of the House or the Senate, it would get a majority vote in either one.
PHILLIPS: Well, weighing the political risks of shutting down the government, especially for Democrats running for re-election in states that President Trump won in 2016.
SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D), WEST VIRGINIA: We have to make sure this government runs and operates in a functional way. It takes all of us working as Americans.
PHILLIP: Multiple aides tell CNN that President Trump's disparaging comments about immigrants have hardened Democrats' resolve, but a Republican source says the president is not bothered by the controversy and continues to think his vulgar remarks could help him politically.
Still, President Trump insists that Senator Dick Durbin, quote, "misrepresented what was said at the Oval Office meeting" when Mr. Trump reportedly questioned why the U.S. needs more Haitians and called some African countries "shitholes."
SEN. DICK DURBIN (D), ILLINOIS: I know what happened. I stand behind every word that I said.
PHILLIP: Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who has not denied Durbin's account, telling a South Carolina newspaper that his memory hasn't evolved.
GRAHAM: The discourse right now is pretty low. We're producing some pretty good policy, but those of us in my business need to up their game. It's pretty embarrassing when you have to take your children out of the room just to report the news.
PHILLIP: White House officials focusing on semantics for their defense, telling CNN that senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue heard Mr. Trump say "shithouse" rather than "shithole."
DURBIN: I don't know that changing the word from "hole" to "house' changes the impact which this has. I am stunned that this is their defense.
PHILLIP: Well, homeland security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen will testify before the House, the Senate Judiciary Committee in just a few hours. And she was in that Oval Office meeting and says she does not recall the president using that vulgar language.
Also in that meeting will be senators Dick Durbin and Lindsey Graham, who will be questioning her. [06:05:07] As for a government shutdown, House GOP leadership is
expected to meet with rank-and-file members to discuss that issue later tonight -- Chris and Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: OK. That will be very interesting to see what comes out of that. Abby, thank you so much.
Let's bring in CNN political analyst John Avlon and CNN political commentator Errol Louis. Great to see both of you guys.
JOHN AVLON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Good morning.
CAMEROTA: Listen, I hate that we're always Chicken Little about government shutdown: "Oh my gosh, it might shut down. It's going to shut down on Friday. Uh-oh, what's going to happen." And then always, Errol, at the 11th hour, literally, like 11:59 p.m., they somehow avoid it. But what do you think is going to happen this week?
ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, almost always.
CAMEROTA: Fair enough.
LOUIS: There -- there is a brink, and the government does occasionally go over it. And -- and it should be sort of promoted as something as a real possibility, because there's hundreds of thousands of people's livelihood really depends on the government actually working.
I think it's entirely possible that it could happen. I mean, when we saw -- we have in some ways the same pieces in place when the last shutdown happened. Nobody likes to talk about it, but Democrats have a base that they have to respond to, as well.
So when Republicans in response to their base shut down the government five years ago, well, here we are and Democrats going into an election year. They have a very rested base. We can see a bunch of people out in the streets when the anniversary of the inauguration comes around. They've got to respond. And people are very, very upset. We're seeing some of the polling. We're seeing some of it in special elections. We're also seeing some in the streets. And folks who do not want a Democratic primary in their life this year are going to play hardball on this issue.
CUOMO: I mean, look, John, this is the best the Democrats have had it in terms of leverage since Donald Trump became president. He has to get 60 votes or there's not a reconciliation window, they're not going to be 50 plus 1. DACA is universally accepted as something to deal with by the American people.
CUOMO: Except with Trump's slim base. They are the people who say they're all villains. You know, they've all got to go. They're illegal aliens, et cetera. Outside of that, so they have the 60 vote. They have the popular sentiment about this. OK?
CUOMO: And they know the president wants this very much. He does not want the DREAMers to start getting thrown out of the country on his watch. So why would they go in quickly to a deal that allows Donald Trump to be a unifier and to get his wall? Why would they do that deal?
AVLON: Look, I think the prospect of Trump being a unifier, that ship has sailed. And the prospect...
CUOMO: Even if they're all at the signing ceremony and they're shaking hands and he says, "I'm glad we could all come together to help these people"?
AVLON: I'm glad we could meet the minimum standards of competence, congratulations, Washington. Look, the prospect of a government shutdown with unified government control on the one-year anniversary of President Trump's inauguration would be a perfect metaphor for how things have gone so far. That said, as you point out, Democrats do have about as much leverage as you can get with unified Republicans.
CUOMO: As a minority party.
AVLON: As a minority party. And so Republicans control the keys here, folks. So the question is, will they negotiate in good faith? Will the Republicans try to push through a short-term spending deal? Or will they try to use something like Children's Health Insurance to sweeten the pot for Democrats?
Because you're right. No one wants the DREAMers to actually get kicked out. This is catastrophic, and it affects them. This is more than win-loss, Democrat-Republican. But every time we've seen Washington when people assure us that there's not going be a shutdown, it's because that threat is real, and they can't stop playing brinksmanship politics with people's lives.
CAMEROTA: Right. So but if the government shuts down, I understand that they have a base to placate, who gets the blame this time?
LOUIS: It will be interesting to see how it works out. I mean, there is going to be, I think, no way that Trump avoids having this laid at his desk. I mean, he takes credit for everything in the world, right? He takes credit for the stock market. He takes credit for the weather. He takes credit for all kinds of good things that happen. Something bad happens on his watch, and people step forward, as Democrats I'm sure would do and say, after what we heard from Senator Durbin, after those comments in the Oval Office, there's no way we could vote for this.
CAMEROTA: And you hear how the president is already framing it. He's already saying Dick Durbin doesn't want to help the military. We need -- the military needs funding.
LOUIS: Nobody is going to believe it.
CUOMO: What does that have to do with anything? LOUIS: All the Democrats have to do is say, and it is true for the
Democrat's politics, and this is almost every day. There's no way I was going to vote for the wall. I'm not voting for the wall. We're not going to give him that victory. We're not going to start wasting taxpayer dollars on this thing.
CUOMO: That was before that -- this shapeshifter and chief -- because I mean, look, Trump has been successful with this. You usually get killed in politics for compromising your principles. He just, I guess, started out with no bedrock principles, so he's able to morph any way he wants. That wall just disappeared into this metaphor conversation in the big meeting, but so did his promise.
He came out and said, "You bring me a bill, I'll sign it."
CUOMO: They did exactly that. Now this reporting is that John Kelly front-ran that meeting and said, "This is bad for you." So he broke that promise. He said, "No, I'm not going to take this proposal," and he's not taking the heat. He's blaming Durbin and the Democrats.
[06:10:00] AVLON: Look, blaming Durbin for a potential government shutdown is outright nuts. And the idea that, you know, that would impact the military, and the military -- look, military is essential personnel. The vast majority of the military would not be affected by the short-term -- shutdown. That's a reality check.
Yes, the administration was pushing back on the deal that seemed to be constructed by the senators. Yes, that contradicts Trump's promise that he'd would sign whatever they bring him. But that's not breaking news. Donald Trump not only doesn't always believe in it all the time. He doesn't have a great record of consistency when it comes to his comments.
But he also has an overarching responsibility. And we need to see more senators actually try and hold themselves to a higher standard than the president and starting to think about people other than their own short-term interests. Because right now, that's a check on the president's worst instincts. And we're going to -- and that's what we really need to start repairing to.
CAMEROTA: But see, in that televised meeting that Chris is referring to, that was so interesting to watch how the sausage, allegedly, would be made. He sounded like he was close to comprehensive legislation reform.
AVLON: Yes, said the phrase.
CAMEROTA: I think we're extremely close. Now...
CUOMO: Called it a bill of love.
AVLON: A bill of love.
CUOMO: He did. It always sounds like I'm making it up, but it's actually true.
AVLON: That's a great episode of the show.
CAMEROTA: Oh my gosh.
OK. So what now "The Washington Post" has this new reporting inside the contentious Oval Office meeting where the profanities about African nations were reportedly uttered.
It turns out that Dick Durbin and Lindsey Graham called the president before they went over at noon and thought they had a deal. The president was quite receptive. Come on over at noon. They went over excitedly and somehow, between that morning phone call and noon, yes, John Kelly is the new reporting and Stephen Miller, one of the top advisers, hardline conservative, and Marc Short got to the president; and they were like, "You can't do this to your base." And then they called over the most hardline on immigration other senators to try to stop it. And that's what was happening.
LOUIS: So much of the reporting has been consistent, up to and including Michael Wolff's book, that the last person in the room with Donald Trump has the upper hand. That he doesn't have a lot of core beliefs on many issues, and so he can be persuaded. And if you're persuading him in the direction of your base, the people who got you elected, they're not going to like this. These swing voters in, you know, Wisconsin or Pennsylvania, and Michigan and are not going to like this. He will also listen to his gut, another one of his, you know, sort of a key adviser to himself; and he goes in that direction. He almost never strays from that.
And it's unfortunate, actually, because when you're -- when you've got all of the different pieces that he's got in play here, that's when presidential leadership comes in. That's when it's you in the Oval Office, you and your Bible, you and your conscience, you and your vision. And that's when you're supposed to sort of figure things out. Not the last person who talked.
CUOMO: It's a little different this time as a dynamic, inasmuch as ordinarily, when the government shuts down, we start doing these stories about, well, these relief checks aren't going out. These disability checks aren't going out.
But there is an understanding that everything will become retroactive, once it gets back up and running. This time, if DACA goes sideways, this story that we saw with Jorge Garcia -- I don't know if you were watching last night -- but this family in Detroit, Michigan, this guy got deported in front of his family on MLK Day after being here 30 years. He was brought here by his parents at 10 years old. He missed DACA protection by one year. He was married, as happens with so many of them. They get stuck in the system on the road to deportation. Even the marriage couldn't save him.
They'd gotten some extensions. He's got two teenage kids. He's got a wife. He's a taxpayer. He doesn't even have a traffic ticket. He's back in Mexico and will be banned for ten years.
CAMEROTA: It's a great story to...
CUOMO: It's a great story to demonstrate -- demonstrate the point, but it is a death sentence politically to watch these people being marched out of this country. I can't believe they'll be tolerant.
LOUIS: All you need is one in every swing district, and there is at least one story like that in every swing district that he could tilt the elections in the fall.
AVLON: But I think that's the importance of thinking about this beyond the political cost, one loss, that this is people's lives hanging in the balance as well as American values. And so there's a greater consequence to this shutdown than simply a won-lost ledger or questions of basic competence, which Congress keeps failing. There are real lives hanging in the balance come Friday.
CUOMO: It will be really interesting to see if the president jumps on that story and that family and uses it as a catalyst to get it done. That would be something that would shock a lot of people.
CAMEROTA: John Avlon, Errol Louis, thank you very much.
CUOMO: So three former and current Trump confidants set to testify in congressional investigations on Russia. But Democrats are questioning how serious the Republicans are about getting to the truth. Remember, they're not meeting with the Mueller folks. They're meeting with the House. The truth, next.
[06:18:23] CUOMO: A parade of Trump campaign and White House staffers are going to appear before the House Intelligence Committee this week. In just hours, former chief strategist Steve Bannon is going to meet with the panel. That will be behind closed doors.
So, what is this about? What is the reach? Let's bring back Errol Louis and John Avlon. How do you see it, Errol? What are the stakes?
LOUIS: I think the stakes are very high. I think we should not underestimate the ability of these congressional hearings to actually provide information we didn't have before, going all the way back to my fifth grade class and watching Watergate unfold.
It was in one of the congressional testimonies that somebody just said in passing, "Oh, yes, there's this whole taping system in the Oval Office." And it was kind of like, "Oh? Oh, really?" And it wasn't the congressional committee that really sort of took it and ran with it. It's the interplay of the media, of the special prosecutor and the congressional committees and public opinion that sort of puts all of the pieces together. So, we might get some pieces here.
We may not understand the full importance of those pieces until later, but certainly, everybody on the Mueller team is going to be watching this very closely, and they are the single most important audience for whatever happens.
CAMEROTA: That's really interesting. But John, I mean, it would have to be leaked. It's a closed-door meeting.
AVLON: Right. So the key difference is when Butterfield lets the White House taping system goes. That's, you know, Sam Irvin. It's a national event. It's Barbara Jordan, this televised. These are all closed doors and the Republican House committee. So the question is, what information leaks.
But if this is a parade of Trump officials. This is not a particularly fun parade. And it's high-risk. Today is Steve Bannon. And now you've got an aide who's been kicked to the curb, not only fired from the White House, but insulted by the president, knocked out from his job, cut off by his benefactors. So if he's got axes to grind, he's going to have a lot of information.
[06:20:04] Then there's Hope Hicks, who also, White House communications director, does not speak publicly a ton. A lot of access to information. And Corey Lewandowski, who's sort of saying, you know, "Bring it on. I've got nothing to hide."
But -- but Bannon is particularly high-stakes. And that's today, because there's a lot of bad blood, and he's liable to speak truths that others would be reluctant to do.
CUOMO: Truth about what? You know, what was he there for? I know that he was there...
AVLON: Treasonous and unpatriotic. He wasn't at it. He didn't do any of the planning of it, and we don't know he was particularly close to anybody who was in there who would have confided to him.
AVLON: We know he's particularly not close to Jared Kushner.
CUOMO: Right. I mean, look, he had every motivation to talk smack, and he did that par excellence, Errol. But in terms of knowing things versus having an opinion, that's a meaningful distinction when you sit with a bunch of fact finders.
LOUIS: He doesn't have to know what he knows. But I mean, in other words, he doesn't have to understand the full importance of anything that he says as far as a tick-tock, a timeline, a phone call, an e- mail, a mood that was in -- present in the campaign on any given day. That's for the prosecutors, for the Mueller team to sort of figure out what all of it means.
And here again, you don't want somebody like him sort of talking freely even behind closed doors under oath about what he knows, because this stuff could potentially be explosive.
CAMEROTA: Do we think that the House Intel Committee with chairman Devin Nunes will do the right thing?
AVLON: But that's the problem we've made over and over again, is the congressional committees really have been hijacked by partisan hacks, particularly the House. Nunes has tried to slow-roll out of this stuff, encourage deflection and distraction. The Mueller investigation is the purest, the most independent. So the
question -- yes, that will be a question. Is, you know, if they're testifying before the House committee, Republican controlled, is it really just, you know, an extended flattery session?
CUOMO: Well, they'll get their at-bats. The different...
AVLON: That's right.
CUOMO: They all get up there. They have the same amount of time.
AVLON: But -- but let's see if -- first of all, let's see what information comes out. And how it feeds into the Mueller investigation. That's the really key finding.
CAMEROTA: OK. I mean, it's breakfast time. I wish we had some fruit...
AVLON: So delicious.
CAMEROTA: ... because I do consider Starbursts an actual fruit group.
CUOMO: You want to sell the back story?
CAMEROTA: Yes. Yes, Catsup is a vegetable.
AVLON: Catsup is a vegetable, Starbursts are a fruit.
CAMEROTA: So the president apparently loves the pink and red Starbursts.
CUOMO: He prefers those to Starbursts from Central and South America and Africa.
So, Congressman Kevin McCarthy went to the trouble of buying a bunch of Starbursts and doing sort of a homemade craft project.
CUOMO: Don't forget: your tax dollars at work.
AVLON: He got his staff to buy a bunch of Starbursts.
CAMEROTA: Yes, very good.
AVLON: And some poor dude's job was to sort through and take out everything except pink and red.
CUOMO: This is the House Majority Leader, Kevin McCarthy. His staff went through and took out all those nasty yellow... CAMEROTA: And orange ones.
CUOMO: ... and orange ones.
CAMEROTA: You know what, they're really good.
CUOMO: And the green ones.
CAMEROTA: The orange, what's wrong with the orange ones?
AVLON: This is like -- this is like Spinal Tap's rider, only green M&Ms. I mean, this is -- this is...
CAMEROTA: Listen, here's the point. Congressman Kevin McCarthy has figured out the way to the president's heart, Starbursts. And he sent over a jar with his name, his own name, Kevin McCarthy, on the side so when the president, whenever he reaches for one, can remember.
CAMEROTA: And guess what? It's working. He and Kevin McCarthy do seem to be having a bromance right now.
CUOMO: So, for what it's worth, we are told that there are more in this bowl than there were in Kevin McCarthy's; and we're going to leave them right here for anybody who wants to come on this show and talk about what matters to the American people. There's a full bowl.
CAMEROTA: Is our bowl bigger than Kevin McCarthy's?
CUOMO: It is, and it works.
LOUIS: You can wash it down with Diet Coke.
AVLON: That sounds so good for you.
CAMEROTA: No, but seriously...
CUOMO: This is nothing serious.
CAMEROTA: ... he and Kevin McCarthy do seem to have struck up a nice friendship. And whether this was the origin of it, the Starbursts, they do seem to be thinking about listening to each other and defending...
AVLON: This is high-level politics.
CUOMO: I think it's just a high-fructose away from being a new day for us.
CAMEROTA: Yes. They're waiting right here.
AVLON: So delicious.
CAMEROTA: Thank you, gentleman.
CUOMO: And they say nobody gets along in government. This is all you need. Just some empty calories.
All right. Be sure to watch tonight. We're going to be doing our prime time show about what the state of play is. We have Chris Collins coming on. The Republican very close to the president was the first guy in Congress to back him as president. What does he think is going to happen?
CAMEROTA: OK. Now to this shocking story. Thirteen brothers and sisters held captive in their own home, some of them bound with padlocks and chains. The two suspects, the parents, are now in police custody. We have all the details ahead.
[06:29:04] CAMEROTA: A California couple is under arrest, charged with holding their own 13 children captive. Officers say they were called to the house by one of the 17-year-old girls, who managed to escape and call 911 from a cell phone.
Police say some of the victims -- well, look at them here on your screen. They range in age from 2 years old to 29 years old. And some were shackled to beds with padlocks. They were kept in dark, filthy conditions. David and Louise Turpin are facing torture and child endangerment charges.
CUOMO: You know that picture with all of them with the red shirts on, like Dr. Seuss? Remember Thing 1 and 2? They had "Thing" numbers all the way up to the number of kids.
Anyway, see that? That's the picture I was talking about.
All right. Another story for you. Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles now adding her name to the list of women who say they were sexually abused by former USA gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar. Biles posting a letter on social media saying she now realizes it wasn't her fault. Instead, blaming Nassar and USA Gymnastics.
She also said she has to continually return to the facility where the abuse happened as she trains for Tokyo in 2020.