Return to Transcripts main page
CUOMO PRIME TIME
Government Shutdown Now In Senate Hands After House Vote; House Votes Avert Shutdown, Senate GOP Still Lacking Votes To Pass Bill; GOP Source: Trump 'Didn't Weigh In Until Right Before The Vote'; House Intel Panel Releases Transcript Of Key Witness Interview; Senate Done Voting For Night As Govt Shutdown Looms. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired January 18, 2018 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[21:00:02] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: It's now the Senate's turn to act. We're going to test the potential outcomes and implications in realtime with players from both sides. What do you say? Let's get after it.
I'm Chris Cuomo. Welcome to "Prime Time".
Big night, big night, lots of breaking news. Headlines all over the place that the House has taken us one step closer to passing a short term budget deal. True but the only thing that matters is what happens next perhaps on our watch.
Brothers and sisters it's all about the Senate. Currently we believe 48 Republicans out of 51 are on board. The bill could need 60 votes to pass. That means the Democrats are in play.
And tonight, from Senate Democrats we're hearing words like resolute, determined, united and all of those go towards voting against the measure. The question there is why are they voting against it and are they making a smart play here to test that? We're going to go one-on- one with Democratic senator, Jon Tester, in a moment. He had to step away because literally in realtime he's going to vote. Things are happening right now. So we'll get a very real sense, a spontaneous sense of where things stand.
But as always, let's begin with facts first. This would be the first shutdown ever with the White House and Congress controlled by the same party. And this is probably news to you. It was news to me, but it ain't news to the Trump administration. So one would think President Trump would be flexing all of his alleged deal making muscles, but all indications are he's more part of the problem than the solution at this point.
He blind sided people just today tweeting that funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program, CHIP, shouldn't be in the short term spending bill. And the White House had to put out a statement that the president still supports the current House bill which has CHIP in it.
This is just the latest in a series of mixed messages that are undermining the GOP strategy and certainly escalating chaos.
So, let's have a little important reminder here about why we care. A shutdown means workers and agencies and departments considered non- essential get furloughed, meaning, they don't work but their pay doesn't come at the same time of it either for the shutdown duration. The entire time of a shutdown the money is not there. 850,000 of these workers last time that the government shutdown, all right. So it's a big number including those responsible for paying out small business loans, processing passports, the bureau of alcohol, tobacco, firearms, and explosives, they stop issuing gun permits, national parks, zoos, museums, they get shuttered although a senior administration official tells us tonight that they're working to minimize that. We'll have to see what that means if anything.
But anything deemed essential will keep running so your postal service, social security, the TSA, air traffic control. All those things are still in place. The Pentagon civilian employees wont' get paid but there is no immediate impact on servicemen and women. That said, their paychecks could dry up if the shutdown goes into February.
Now here's the best part, you know who else is considered essential, irony of ironies, the people who are causing any shutdown that happens, members of Congress. They keep getting paid because it's in the constitution in 27th Amendment. Isn't that nice inconvenient?
Meanwhile, the last shutdown, this is not small money we're talking about, in 2013, $24 billion reportedly in economic activity, all right? So it's a big deal. We have the senator? Great. Literally, he was there voting. We weren't sure if he'd be here in time. But good news, he is. Democratic Senator, Jon Tester of Montana.
Thank you very much for making the dash for us, senator.
SEN. JON TESTER (D), APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE: Pleasure to be with you Chris, thank you.
CUOMO: So, what did you do? How are you voting?
TESTER: I voted to precincts but I'm going be voting against closure (ph). And I'll tell you why, Chris, you listed off all the bad things of having the government shutdown. And I hope the government does not shutdown. But the bottom line is, (INAUDIBLE) do his job. You know, it's been 110 days since the Fiscal Year started. And we still don't have a budget. We still don't have funding for CHIP. We don't have funding for community health centers. WE don't have funding for rule ambulances. The list goes on and on and on.
And our basis job to do here is -- people in Congress, is to set forth a budget and fund the programs that are critical to this country. We haven't done anything. Haven't done anything with the southern border, haven't don't anything with the northern border. We're not addressing our military. And guess what, this isn't the first time. We've had patch after patch after patch. And I voted for all of them. But at some point in time, we have to do our job, Chris.
[21:05:06] CUOMO: I hear you. TESTER: The job is funding the government.
CUOMO: Senator, I have to tell you. I haven't talked to a man or a woman, Democrat or Republican that hasn't said what you just said. We have to (INAUDIBLE) the patch work, we have to get it going. We have to pass a budget. You know, you're all saying the same thing but also not getting it done. Just to make it clear to our audience. You voted yes to proceed because you want to debate this bill.
TESTER: That's correct.
CUOMO: But you're saying you're going to vote no against it but you're saying you hope the government doesn't shutdown. Why would you vote no if you don't want the government to shutdown?
TESTER: Because I think we need to force the leadership on the other side of the aisle to take this issue seriously and they haven't for 110 days. And I would tell you something else, Chris.
TESTER: I think that Senator McConnell has had this in mind from the get-go, to try to get us to a point where he's going to try to use this for political reasons. Well guess what, I'm not here for working for any political party. I'm here to do what's right for this country.
CUOMO: -- shutdown, by the way.
TESTER: Well, I'm going to tell you what, I think that Mitch McConnell would have wanted a budget, we'd have a budget. Take a look at this week. Instead of dealing with the budget we've been dealing taking away 4th Amendment rights. The budget should have been front and center. And it shows you they're not taking this issue seriously. And you're right, you're talking to all of them so why don't we sit down and get it done. Why don't we do it? We've got what, 28 hours left to go. I think you got a clock ticking.
The truth of the matter is, you should have a clock. I'm saying, it's been a 110 days since our last budget ran out. And Congress has done nothing, nothing. It's time to got to work. It's time to start working for the people and the short term patches aren't getting the job done, Chris.
CUOMO: Schumer just -- am I right that Senator Schumer from New York proposed a very short term whatever, another patch. Is that true?
TESTER: I heard that from some of the press.
CUOMO: So would you go for that?
TESTER: It depends if there's an agreement to get something done.
CUOMO: I don't understand. Help me understand. It makes sense to you guys. If you don't like patch, why would you want an even smaller patch?
TESTER: Because there has to be an agreement before we do a patch that we're actually going to do something.
CUOMO: So you want an agreement to make an agreement and this will buy you the time to make it?
TESTER: I want an agreement that says we've got a day or two days. We can do it in the next 28 hours if they wanted to, Chris.
CUOMO: That means you guys are close, though, right, because otherwise Schumer is wasting his time.
TESTER: I have not -- that's a better question for leadership. I have offered my opinion to try to get to a point where we can get things in this bill that really work for the American people.
CUOMO: All right, well, let's talk about what, senator, because the big thing that we keep hearing from you side of the aisle is DACA. And there are two questions. The first one is why would it be so important to have DACA in this as opposed to -- you got until March to do that, so why would it have to be there now? And then, the opposite question which is, are you guys being aggressive enough to get DACA done because of the emergency? Yes, I'm coming at you both ways but there's two ways to look at it.
TESTER: Well, I'm going to look at it for me in another way. Look, there's a bipartisan agreement to get DACA done. I think we ought to get DACA done. It should have been done months ago. But nonetheless, we are where we are. But in that agreement had some great border security measures that need to be done and deals with a lot of other issues.
CUOMO: The president says it's not adequate.
TESTER: -- important. Well, look, he says it's not adequate. He doesn't even know what's in the deal yet. I mean that's --
CUOMO: Well, Graham and Durbin went to him before he went vulgar and started talking about Norway. And he said this isn't what I wanted. It's not enough of what I want. Doesn't really end chain migration, doesn't really take care of the lottery, my wall is not in there.
TESTER: Chris, I will tell you that I served as ranking member on the Appropriations Committee for Homeland Security and what's in that bill is what he asked for this year. There's another year next year. The chain immigration issue, I think they made great advances on that --
CUOMO: He says I want 18 billion. You gave him a tenth of that.
TESTER: Well, it's 18 billion over 10 years. One tenth of 18 billion. It's one year. So it's there. I mean we're there. All you got to do is take a look at it and want to come to a deal. It's the president that said we need a good old fashioned shutdown. And it's Mitch McConnell who hasn't done anything to get our budget passed for 110 days. CUOMO: But the one thing I don't --
TESTER: Let me ask you this. And I'm not supposed to be asking the questions here but --
CUOMO: -- go ahead, you can ask first and I'll decide. What's the question?
TESTER: Are we supposed to just continue to be governing from emergency to emergency. Stopgap measure to stopgap measure or is it better for the American people to have some permanency in their budget that goes to the end of Fiscal Year? It's really not asking too much. And fund some of the programs that are so critically important out there to America's families and small businesses.
CUOMO: Well, you know, look, let's look at why. There has to be a reason that I'm hearing the same thing from both sides and it's probably symptomatic of just the toxic division that's going on right now. It gives us a little bit of hope which is that -- we're really -- it seems that all of you seem to have the same goal, get something done. Be able to go back to your constituents with something. But the divisiveness that is rampant (ph) down there is keeping you frozen in your places.
[21:10:09] DACA is a perfect example whether it's the president saying it's a "bill of love." The Democrats making the arguments that they made. The Republicans saying it's not fair to say we don't care about the Dreamers. We were boxed in by Obama with this. But nothing has been done. And now you have the Democrats and I'm not sure about it senator, so help me with this.
Some of you are saying no DACA, I'm done. It's too urgent. It's too inhumane. It's too wrong. If DACA is not part of this, I'm out. And then there are others, which I think I want to put you in this category, of I think DACA will get done. I don't see it as (INAUDIBLE) right now. You're in that position and a couple others I talked too. So which is it with you Democrats?
TESTER: Well, first of all, I think that DACA is important but I also think there's other issues that are very important, and also like funding for community health centers, like making sure the 340B cuts on prescription drugs which -- it will just hammer my hospitals don't go away.
But let's talk about the division for a second, Chris.
TESTER: I walked into the heart building this morning in about 6:00 or 7:00 with Mike Rounds, a Republican out of South Dakota. And Mike looked at me and says, can you believe this, can you believe we're here again with a short term fix? And I said Mike you're exactly correct. Let's work together and get this fixed. And Mike says I'm with you. That's a South Dakota Republican and a Montana Democrat. There's division here. Leadership needs to step up and lead and haven't done it for 110 days. CUOMO: Make you a deal. Democrat and Republican, if you can get one with you, any time you want to come on the show and talk about what you're proposing and who is stopping it from getting it done, you'll get time. Morning or night.
TESTER: Well, I will tell you Chris, I think it's pretty obvious. We had this done a long time ago if we had good leadership on the other side of the aisle.
CUOMO: Well, and they're saying the same thing about you guys.
TESTER: No, look, Republicans control the House, they control the Senate, they control the White House. They have to lead and they haven't for 110 days. They've done nothing.
CUOMO: Sure, but --
TESTER: And it isn't because of the rank and file. It isn't because of the rank and file. The ranking file wants to do things. It's totally on leadership.
CUOMO: I hear what you're saying. I hear the criticism. But right now you have a unique amount of leverage because the Senate is going to be the pivot on what happens with this budget process and that the filibuster rule puts you guys with a lot of leverage. How do you use it you Democrats? We'll see. But senator, I appreciate this realtime update on where things stand. And again, you're always welcome to come on and discuss what matters.
TESTER: Chris, it's always good to talk to you. I'd tell you what I hope ends up, is that we come to a deal that funds the government till the end of the year it's as simple as that. Thank you.
CUOMO: All right, I hope the people need progress and let's see what happens. Thanks.
All right, so that brings us to round one of tonight's Great Debate. All right a couple of different times, we're going to go to CNN Political Commentators, Symone Sanders and Jack Kingston. As we get a sense of the state of play, a little harder for you guys, not as much time to prepare. But the urgency is there. The relevance is there. So let's go with this. So Symone Sanders, I start with you.
The Democrat, I head what the Senator Tester said about GOP leadership and that's why it's not here, it's not ranking file, it's about leadership and the president. OK, that's his say. But, the Democrats have the ball in their hands because of the 60 vote rule in the Senate. What is worth shutting down the government for a Democrat?
SYMONE SANDERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: So Chris, that's a great question. I want to help clear something up. And I think Senator Tester would still with us, I think he would agree with me here that there are five Senate Republicans that are on record opposing the version of the House continuing resolution that just passed. And so, yes we need 60 votes but the Republicans Caucus is not even all on the same page on this bill. That's problematic. And so what Democrats in the Senate are saying is look, there's a bipartisan agreement in the Senate that can pass. That can pass with the 60 votes need with all the Democrats --
CUOMO: On immigration, on DACA.
SANDERS: -- on, not just on DACA. Yes, it's a bipartisan bill but gets everything done. It gets DACA done. Provisions for the military. It has stuff in there about CHIP and the community base health centers. The problem is Republicans, Mitch McConnell specifically, is refusing to put the bill on the floor because Donald Trump, the president of the United States, is saying he might not sign it. What I think Democrats and Republicans --
CUOMO: He didn't say he might not want -- no, Symone, I got your point. But hold on. let's Jack hit on this. In fairness to McConnell he said something that was very dangerous for him. He said I don't know what the president wants. If I knew, I wouldn't be spinning my wheels. But then --
JACK KINGSTON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: True.
CUOMO: Durbin and Graham, the president's golf buddy. Do exactly what he asked. They come with a compromise bill two days after he asked for one. And Jack, he sand bags them, according to Durbin or gets bad advice according to Graham and looks at them and says no way, this deal is no good for me in a room of hard liners. What was that about?
KINGSTON: I think what he was trying to do is say guys get your head in the game. If you really want to negotiate, get people like the Hispanic Caucus, who General Kelly met with yesterday, sitting down with people like David Perdue and Tom Cotton and Bob Goodlatte. That's real negotiation. Three moderate Republicans and three Democrats are moderate or maybe very liberal, moderate on this issue. But they're willingness to sign off on a bill where you got six votes. Unfortunately, you need 60 to move something forward. So it's not a real negotiation.
[21:15:17] Everybody understand Lindsey Graham and Dick Durbin have worked closely with each other on immigration over the years. But they also know you got a whole lot more Democrat and Republicans who need to be in the room in order to mover forward. And the president was just saying, look, guys, that's not going to happen.
I also want to point out something. You know, I served on the Appropriations Committee. I was the chairman of three subcommittees, the House passed its appropriation bill, I believe in September. It has been sitting in the Senate ever since then Mitch McConnell has not been able to mover forward because he's got to get 60 votes. And again, he's got to have nine Democrats, up until recently eight Democrats.
CUOMO: More than that, right? Now he's short on his own side, Jack. What about that?
KINGSTON: That's right. But I want to say one of the bills that hasn't moved is Homeland Security. And so I think -- if you're talking about -- if there's a bill where there's a case for bipartisanship, why hasn't the Homeland Security appropriations subcommittee moved their own bill? That's not Mitch McConnell's fault. That committee could move it. And I listen to Senator Tester, he sounds like a very earnest guy. He's in leadership on that bill. I think they should move it. And they don't have to have Mitch McConnell to sign off --
CUOMO: All right, so hold on. Let's hold it right there. It's a good appetizer. It's a good appetizer. Symone, we got to take different in different courses. We're going to get more information tonight. I'm going to come back to you guys. I love you both for sticking around. Thanks to Symone and Jack. That's just round one, all right?
We're going to keep following the breaking news on Capitol Hill. As we learn more we'll go back to them for their take. The leadership that seems to be a big concept here, where is it? We're going to press Freedom Caucus Member, Congressman Mo Brooks, about what's holding up the works on the Senate side. They got it done in the House. Hey, Mo! We'll talk to you in a second.
[21:20:40] CUOMO: Shutdown matters. Why? It's irresponsible, cost billions of dollars. It compromises a lot of no non-essential work and workers, so we care. Right now, it's all up to the Senate, the House approved a short term spending bill to avert a shutdown. This is a situation that cries out for leadership, someone to bring the sides together. There are all these factions and couples going on.
Meanwhile, on while on one level that's a good thing, it is good to see people working together on both sides of the aisle. We're seeing it. But right now they need a bigger influence and there is none. President Trump, leader of the GOP has arguably only made the job harder for his party.
He started gumming up the works last week. You remember the bipartisan group, the "kumbaya" meeting. We all get to watch it in realtime and he said I will pass whatever you guys bring me if you agree. You remember that? All right. Then, so here it is. I will sign what happens.
Two days later, his golf buddy, Lindsey Graham and Dick Durbin, the Democrat, come show him the bill. No. He says I'm not going to do it. Durbin said they were sand bagged, OK? Then what happens. A "bill of love" that he said he wanted goes away. He goes vulgar, expresses a preference for white immigrants from Norway over brown ones from basically everywhere else. And that made Democrats dig in, OK? And then you started to hear a lot more how much DACA mattered in realtime right now as opposed to between now and March, which is the deadline that the president set.
So, for a week or so, allies to the president then started to come out and saying, you know what, the wall, he's moved on that. It doesn't mean what it used to anymore. Kellyanne said, since becoming president and he's met with experts and he's learned things like there are rivers involved. And whether you believe it or not, it was moving a position toward the reasonable mind position where so many others have been.
Then what happens, well, you have General John Kelly come out, chief of staff. And he says he has evolved on the wall and in fact he was probably uninformed. That embarrassed the president. Reportedly he was furious and he says in a tweet, which he loves, build the wall. The wall is real. It's never evolved. It's never changed. Boom. So now -- and I haven't hear, forget Mexico, because that part he never talks about except when forced, and he says when I redo NAFTA, it will be fine.
But just listen to what John Kelly said, because it was such a big moment here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KELLY, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: He's very definitely changed his attitude towards the DACA issue even the wall. He has evolved in the way he's looked at thing. Campaign to governing are two different things and this president is very, very flexible in terms of what is within the realm of possible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: This could have been huge, because if the Democrats had accepted this and if it had been manifested in policy considerations by the Republicans then you would have gotten a deal on security. That's what we keep being told, but as I said, reportedly these words uninformed when the president heard them made them furious. He tweeted, we're going to build a wall just like I said, about the Mexico part, NAFTA will pay for it. Nobody believes any of that.
And then, he was angry, so what did he do? He says no CHIP, the Children's Health Insurance Program, the Republicans put it in to the House as an enticement for Democrats. It's going to fund it for six years. He says it shouldn't be part of the short term spending bill. Then what happens. Well, he says no CHIP. The White House has to come out soon after and say the president still supports the House version of the bill, the one that has CHIP in it.
Then on top of all of this confusion and mixed messages and clearly the urgency would demand that the president is here and really involved. He says, I'm leaving. Tomorrow he's going back to Florida, his golf course in Mar-a-Lago and very telling, there's no word of the GOP leadership asking him to stay. That's what fore means. He's playing golf. I probably shouldn't have x'ed it out because he's actually going to do it.
All right, so let's get a take on what this leadership or vacuum (ph) of leadership means to the process, Republican Congressman Mo Brooks of Alabama, a member of House Freedom Caucus.
Mo, it is always good to see your face.
REP. MO BROOKS (R), HOUSE FREEDOM CAUCUS: Thank you. I appreciate the opportunity to be with you again, Chris.
CUOMO: So congressman, you heard how I'm laying it out here. Do I have it wrong or has the president made this more difficult?
[21:25:02] BROOKS: What the president has done quite frankly is pretty consistent with a number of presidents have done over period of time. That matter also the House and the Senate. It's difficult to be 100 percent consistent when you have different circumstances that face you on a regular basis and you have to change your stance quite frequently in order to adjust to the different circumstances that face you. And certainly, it would have easier if the House was more consistent, the Senate was more consistent, and the White House was more consistent. That way, I think, you could better negotiate but unfortunately that does not seem to be the nature of politics in Washington, D.C.
CUOMO: Well, let's stick with the president for a second congressman. Where do you see any consistency? If you make a deal, I'll sign it. They come to him with a deal, he doesn't sign it. People try to move him on the wall, his advisors, even the chief of staff, try to make it more what people like you think it should be which is some places you need a hard barrier, you make one. Some places you need a fence, you use it. Some places it's sensors. Some places it's manpower. You do what you need based on the context. It seems that that's the way he's going to move. Good for Democrats to hear it and then he undoes it today, and then he says no CHIP in the bill that just voted on. And then the White House says to undo that. Is that consistency or is that like crazy on display?
BROOKS: Well, I'm going to confess that I don't know what the White House position is --
CUOMO: Well, that's not good.
BROOKS: -- for border security or with respect to this continuing resolution to fund the government or with respect -- Omnibus (ph), to fund the government for the rest of this Fiscal Year.
CUOMO: But how can you not know, Mo Brooks? You do your job? Your reputation is that you're studious. You talk to people. You're involved. How could you not know what the White House wants?
BROOKS: Well, I think the analysis you just gave is an example of why nobody can know. Because you don't have the kind of consistency that you would like emanating from the White House on this particular set of issues. I prefer clarity. I try to keep my position as constant as I possibly can. And I think I've established that reputation for having a belief system that guides me. But we're not seeing that from the White House that does to some degree make our jobs more difficult here on Capitol Hill.
BROOKS: Well, then how is he being like every other president because a lot of these men have been men of principle. You could agree with some, disagree with others but now knew pretty much where they were going to be, can't say that about Trump.
BROOKS: Let's use George Bush, the first, as an example. Read my lips, no new taxes. Broken promise --
BROOKS: So this is not unique to this president where you have statements that are made during the campaign that are somewhat inconsistent with the reality of governing.
CUOMO: But you don't think it's odd that at this point in this process you don't know where the president is on security or on the Omnibus bill especially when these things are so important and he said he would drive this process. He's supposed to be the art of the deal man.
BROOKS: I believe that the president will sign the continuing resolution that passed the House of Representatives that eliminates the threat of a shutdown. I do not know what the president's position would be based on whatever amendments the Senate may come up with. So I have some degree of confidence that if the Senate will pass our bill, the president will sign it. This threat will be over with and behind us.
CUOMO: The idea that the Democrats have leverage in the Senate especially with McConnell being short some votes on his own side. And they certain do not necessarily just because of the filibuster, but because of the math. DACA matters to them. What is the chance that a DACA deal gets done in any kind of short term and added to the CR?
BROOKS: I anticipate that there will be some kind of negotiating position that will surface between this continuing (ph) resolution and its expiration sometime in mid-February. I do not anticipate that you will see that kind of resolution coming forward today or tomorrow or on Saturday or any time to prevent a government shutdown if that's the hang up.
But there are negotiations that are on-going right now amongst various leaders in the House, in the Senate wherein there is amnesty being considered for illegal aliens falling to DACA category in exchange for elimination of the lottery visa system, the diversity, whatever you want to call it.
BROOKS: Also elimination of chain migration and also border security. That seems to be the frame work of negotiations right now. Whether that framework will produce something that can pass in the House and Senate, I don't know, can't say. We won't know until we have something firm.
CUOMO: Quick question before I let you go. When it comes to a shutdown, if there is one, you guys get paid 27th Amendment to the constitution. You can't change Congressional pay until the beginning of the year. Boy, that's a convenient amendment. Would you be in favor of changing it so that if there's a shutdown you guys don't get paid?
BROOKS: Well, let's be clear, historically speaking every federal government employee has been paid in full.
CUOMO: Right, but it often it's back pay, right? And very often people live check to check. They need their money when they are supposed to get it, not when you decide to get your act together.
[21:30:05] BROOKS: That's one way to look at it. Another way to look at it is to the extent that there is a government shutdown and these federal workers aren't working, they are getting paid for not working when they get that back pay. So there's some benefit to those federal government workers from not having to go -- do the work on the job and still get all the money for not having work.
Now, with respect to the 27th Amendment, I'm willing to consider anything and that's one options that perhaps we should look at in House and the Senate.
BROOKS: You've hit me kind of off guard having the kind of in-depth thought I would like to have the cascading effects might be from the suggestion there to make. But I'm certainly more than happy to consider if we can get some movement that direction to the House and Senate where it looks like it is fiable (ph).
CUOMO: Right, I'm just saying, you know, the shutdown would be tomorrow most. It's not like you should be surprise by these questions. I mean, this is what we're dealing with right now.
BROOKS: The shutdown maybe tomorrow, but the idea of trying to repeal a constitutional --
CUOMO: No, no, no. Obviously, you couldn't do that. I'm just saying conceptually because -- I got to tell you, people don't like hearing that you guys keep getting paid as essential workers when you have the reason that the government shuts down.
BROOKS: I understand and I'm frustrated too.
CUOMO: All right, and also, look, time is money for people and they need money on time. When it comes to paying a mortgage, if you say to your bank, hey, I'll get my check in two weeks, remember I was furloughed. You often don't get a good answer. And that's why it matters on a lot of levels. We're hoping it doesn't happen. But we'll cover it step by step, and Mo Brooks you are always welcome to discuss what happens. Great to have you.
BROOKS: Thank you so much. Have a good evening.
CUOMO: All right, God bless be well, Mo.
All right, more breaking news tonight, a key figure in the Russia investigation tells lawmakers he suspected a "possible crime" involving the Trump organization and the Russians. So this came from the co-founder of Fusion GPS. Exactly what is he alleging. We're going to go one-on-one with Representative Jackie Speier. A member of the House Intel Committee, next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
[21:35:49] CUOMO: There's a lot of breaking news tonight. We're watching Capitol Hill for any developments on the shutdown but there's also breaking news in the Russia investigation. There are new details about what the founder of the firm behind the dossier that you all know about now on candidate Donald Trump. What he told the House Intelligence Committee behind close door. Let's go one-on-one with Democratic Congresswoman Jackie Speier of California, of course a member of the House Intelligence Committee.
It's good to have you as always.
REP. JACKIE SPEIER (D), INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Thank you, Chris.
CUOMO: All right, now, let me not do what I just said what I was going to do. I want to just ask you one question about the process of what's going on with the shutdown. I just asked Congress Mo Brooks, a Republican from Alabama. You guys get paid as essential employees and it's not just irony, it angers people that you don't do your job and pass a budget. The government shuts down and you get paid. I know it's in the constitution as an amendment, but the word amendment means that things can be changed in that document. Do you think it something that should be considered?
SPEIER: Well, if past experience tells me anything in California we were terrible at passing the budge on time and then an initiative was passed that basically said that members would have their pay docked if they didn't have the budget passed by July 1st. And you know what happened after that, the budget always gets passed on time on. So money is a great incentive.
CUOMO: Yes, that's something to think about. All right, breaking news, we have to deal with that in terms of what is going on in the investigation. You know that Adam Schiff has now been saying obviously, congressman from California, has been saying that money laundering is a big consideration. Is that your appraisal as well?
SPEIER: Money laundering is a huge component. The Foreign corrupt Practices Act which really requires anyone who does business with a foreign national company, foreign government has to do due diligence to make sure that the money is not tainted. That it is not being laundered. And I think there is plenty of evidence to suggest that there has been money laundering going on in many of the real estate deals that were done by the Trump organization.
CUOMO: Just to be clear, are we talking about just old things that may have involved Paul Manafort and what he was doing before he was ever even part of this campaign or is there any consideration of things involving the Trump businesses?
SPEIER: No, specifically about the Trump businesses. You know, buying a mansion at $40 million, selling it four years later at $90 million and coincidentally in 2008 then Donald Trump had a $50 million or $40 million dollar personal liability on a loan and how convenient that that amount of money was made available in that transaction. But many of the hotels, I mean if you look very specifically at all the hotels deal whether it was in Toronto or Panama or (INAUDIBLE), more often than not those deals were never intended to have the hotels open because the people associated with them weren't real estate developers of hotels. They all had interesting and oftentimes shady pasts and all of a sudden there's this deal done with the Trump organization and all of a sudden the deal never comes to fruition.
CUOMO: Is it connected in any way to what you're supposed to be investigating with Russian interference?
SPEIER: Well, the extent to which these were Russian persons, Russian entities, Russian oligarchs, I believe it does.
CUOMO: And is there any indication that what you're looking at parallels what's being looked at by the special counsel?
SPEIER: Well, I can't speak to what the special counsel is doing. But the special counsel has a wide discretion to look at any number of things. So it could be very well be part of what he's looking at.
CUOMO: Now I know you can't tell me specific proof but we also know that I like to ask questions even though I know it goes into a realm you don't want me too. Without talking about the proof, are we just talking about questions and speculation and curiosity or do you believe that there's been any evidence of meat on the bones of these type of allegations?
[21:40:12] SPEIER: Relative to money laundering?
SPEIER: Well, that's not something that we are specific looking at obviously. We're looking at the Russian interference in our election and whether or not there is coordination with the Trump campaign. Certainly, Special Counsel Mueller is in a position to do that.
SPEIER: And I think if you start tracking these various projects you can see a connection. You can see a relationship and as (INAUDIBLE) have said in his testimony which is now public and I encourage your audience to read it. It is really kind of (INAUDIBLE). He said that, you know, it's a Russian mafia unlike the Italian mafia and everyone works for the government.
CUOMO: Is your sense of this issue of money laundering Trump and relationships with the Russians only as strong as the testimony of Glenn Simpson, Fusion GPS founder?
SPEIER: No. I actually think that's been a great deal of open source documentation about a lot of these deals. I mean, why is it that you have the Trump son saying we get most of our deals from Russia, most of our business comes from Russia. And they are buying 3, 4, 6, 12 condos in Trump properties and they're buying them with cash. How does that the Trump properties went from some 30 percent that were LLCs where you don't know who the actual buyer is to 70 percent of the deals being LLCs? It all doesn't add up. And I just don't want the president of the United States gaining benefit financially by being president and some of that is going on with the Trump organization today. But retrospectively, the fact that the Russian ties to the Trump organization were so strong and then coincidentally you have the Russians interfering in our election, it all becomes very, very disturbing.
CUOMO: Very provocative questions. Do you agree with Congressman Schiff with his belief that the White House kept Steve Bannon from answering certain questions and maybe Corey Lewandowski as well?
SPEIER: I don't think there's any question.
CUOMO: For both gentlemen or just for Bannon?
SPEIER: I think -- well, for -- certainly for Mr. Bannon. It was peculiar relative to Corey Lewandowski who was in a very upfront -- so I'm going to answer every question, and then his attorney said, well, he can't answer questions because he's not prepared to answer these questions even though they dealt with a period of time during the campaign. So I just think that the White House is trying to pull a lot of strings with those who are we are asking to come testify.
CUOMO: Well, it wouldn't be illegal necessarily for them to do it. But it is interesting as a tactic. Congresswoman, I appreciate you giving us this information very much.
SPEIER: Thank you.
CUOMO: All right. Breaking tonight, the House just passed a bill to keep the government funded for another month. The House did. But the Senate is now really holding the fate of this situation in its hands, OK? What's going to happen? There are votes going on right now. We do believe that the Senate is going to move towards debating this bill and going towards a final vote. So let's bring back Sanders versus Kingston with what we just heard from Jackie Speier, money laundering, the Trump organization, Russia. Those are three keywords that will start round two.
[21:47:47] CUOMO: All right, right now you're looking live at the Senate floor. That's Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. He's making, for him, a fairly impassioned argument about how there is no urgency on the immigration issue, that Democrats are saying we want to shutdown the government because of DACA and immigration. And he is saying while it is a mutual concern and both sides have an interest in fixing it, there's no urgency now. There's no reason to shutdown the government for it. The deadline for that is in March. An artificial deadline set by the president. And now Chuck Schumer is responding. Let's see if he says something provocative right off the bat.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), MINORITY LEADER: --t he other side, your side, leader, that didn't want go along with that agreement. It's a fair and decent agreement where each side gave. And it's an important agreement. And it's a vital agreement. And no one, no one, no one --
CUOMO: All right, so, Senator Chuck Schumer, obviously, the Democrat leader from New York saying that there's a deal on the table. They brought it to the president and he negated it. He said he wouldn't go for it and that's why we're in the jam we're in.
We'll keep dipping in as things are said that are provocative and move the needle. But we can definitely move the needle right now with the second round of the Great Debate. So let's bring in CNN Political Commentators, Symone Sanders and Jack Kingston.
I want to do one question about this and I want to do one question about what Jackie Speirr just told us because that's going to be news to a lot of people's ears. But let's start with the urgency at the moment.
Symone Sanders, you heard the argument. DACA matters. Immigration matters. The humanity is real. The urgency is not. You have until March to fix it. Why shut down the government for that?
SANDERS: Again, to be clear, it would not be Democrats shutting down the government. It's the Republicans inability to govern and keep their Caucus together and get a deal from the Republican president that would do that. But also, since Donald Trump arbitrarily sets his deadline in September, 15,500 young people have lost their protective status. That means they cannot work and their lives are living in limbo. And so, it's not just March if we don't come to it a consensus that something happens. There are real implications for these young people right now.
[21:49:58] CUOMO: Jack Kingston, why do you people ignore, on the right, that there is this cost on the daily basis? We brought you that story of Jorge Garcia in Michigan, forced to leave his family, brought here at 10, been here 30 years. Now he's in Mexico City. He's never been -- he hasn't lived there in 30 years. Split apart because of this law. Now, fair point, he's not a Dreamer, he didn't make it, but it shows the necessity of the issue, the urgency right now.
KINGSTON: And I think that that's what the president is saying, that look, you know, let's go till March if you want to work it out. If you're serious about working it out. This has not been around since the president made his proclamation. It didn't start with President Obama. It's been going on for years. Democrats have been in the majority during that period as have Republicans.
But I want to say this. I think the path forward. I believe, and I actually heard a rumor just a few minutes ago, Chris, that what Schumer will do is put a substitute amendment on the floor for a short-term CR, probably a five-year deal. I don't think the Democrats are going to come on board for a one-month CR. If they want to stay in the game and drive this debate, they're going to put a short-term CR. And the reason why I think this is probably true is because a House member told me they are actually staying in town right now. They were going to vote and adjourn. Sought the fact that the House is hanging around means there's a high probability that the Senate will not pass this CR in its current form but instead substitute a short-term one, and we will be having this debate over the weekend. And that could be a good thing because sometimes, you know, making people stay in town you can get something done.
CUOMO: You said five-year. You mean five-day.
KINGSTON: Five-day, excuse me. Five-year probably too long.
SANDERS: The fact of the matter is, Chris --
CUOMO: Go ahead, Symone.
SANDERS: If they put this bill on the floor, if they put the current bill on the floor as the House passed it, it will not pass and it won't just pass not because of the Democrats, because they don't have the Republican votes to get it done. Again, there's a bipartisan bill that can pass the Senate.
SANDERS: They shoud put -- I'm just saying, look, wait --
KINGSTON: You know, it's a matter of math. There's 51 --
SANDERS: Wait. I can count. If you've got -- look, I can count. You've got 51 Republicans but if you have -- look, if you have 51 Republicans but 5 of the 51 are going to vote no on that bill even if you get --
KINGSTON: You don't know that there's five no votes.
SANDERS: I'm telling you that there are five no votes on record saying --
KINGSTON: How do you know --
SANDERS: -- they're not going to support the bill, Congressman. All I want to, Chris ,all I want to say is this --
KINGSTON: -- fishing for a better deal.
SANDERS: All I want to say is this. If there is a -- help me here, if there's a bipartisan bill that will in fact pass the Senate and the only reason they're not going to put it on the floor is because the Republican president is going to veto it, let him be the reason the government shuts down.
KINGSTON: There is a bipartisan bill. It just passed the House. It keeps the government funded till February.
SANDERS: My friend, that's not bipartisan.
SANDERS: -- they're not going to vote for that bill. There are five Republicans on record, Republican senators on record. Let me hold up --
CUOMO: All right, hold on one second. Hold on one second.
KINGSTON: -- no to children's health care --
CUOMO: Just to bring people up to speed, there will be no more votes in the Senate tonight. All right? Now, that means something good and something bad. One, that means that you're not going to have any progress tonight. However, that means there's time for deliberation.
KINGSTON: And there will be that short-term CR --
CUOMO: And we'll see if what Jack is hearing -- he's got good contacts in Congress. But we'll see if that winds up being what the Democrats put forward, which is basically just buying time to continue this negotiation. Now, that is good. Ish. Ish, Symone. Because I have to tell you, I think it is fair criticism that the leverage, the real leverage the Democrats have -- I get your argument that the Republicans don't have the vote. But look, the Democrats are in play here. They have leverage. How they're using that leverage is unclear. What they really want in a DACA deal, what they really would agree to has not been their focus as much as flexing their muscle and the leverage.
So now if Schumer does do what Jack says and he buys himself some time, they have to move, they have to ask for real things. They have to come to the table. Do you think they're ready?
SANDERS: I absolutely think Democrats are ready to come to the table. And I would push back on the notion that they have not been clear on what they want. It is the Republicans that have jumped around and not being clear.
CUOMO: Trump has jumped around. But there's been a lot of haggling with Republicans and Democrats. And the Democrats have been saying we won't vote unless DACA's in it but now they have to put meat on the bones of exactly what they want.
SANDERS: They absolutely do. And I think with time that will come. I am happy to hear that we might have some time to get this thing done. But be clear. Democrats want to fund the government. There are bipartisan solutions to support for all of these things. So let's get it done --
CUOMO: I've got you. Let me report some news. Symone, Jack. Jack, thank you for that tip. Next drink's on me. Appreciate it.
KINGSTON: It's a rumor. We don't know. But that's what I --
CUOMO: Well, you put it out there, now it's on you, my friend, and I'll come right back to you when it's not true.
[21:55:02] All right, let's take a break right now. Thanks to both of you. We have two breaking stories on Capitol Hill, and three major interviews. And you have -- you have a lot to say, by the way. I'm @chriscuomo, keep tweeting with your questions, with your comments, with your feelings about it. I'll respond as I can in the break, and we'll talk about some of them at the end. You can also use the hashtag -- what is it? "Cuomo Prime Time". I was going to say "New Day". Nope. That's in the morning. Social Status, next. When you don't sleep, it doesn't matter.
CUOMO: I've been answering some of these tweets online but let's check our Social Status here. I don't pick these, so hopefully there are no shockers. New York Fitzgerald tweets, "Republicans blaming Democrats for shutdown is like a mortgage applicant with bad credit blaming the seller of a house for not giving the applicant a mortgage. Logical fallacy." Too long, complicated, but we'll end on that because you know what? The situation is taking too long and it's very complicated but that's the way D.C. works right now.
Thank you for being with us, watching this in realtime. Don't forget, I will be there with Alisyn tomorrow morning on "New Day" starting at 6:00 A.M.