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Trump on CHIP Program; Proposed Legislation on Election Meddling; GOP Scrambles in Pennsylvania; Apple Pledges to Create U.S. Jobs. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired January 18, 2018 - 09:30   ET



[09:33:48] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: We are just hours to go before a high-stakes vote to avert a government shutdown, as you see the clock right there. The president, this morning, throwing another wrench into the entire thing.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, he says the Children's Health Insurance funding should be part of a long-term solution, not a 30-day or short- term extension. Republicans have put this extension into the deal right now. So it is part of what the House will vote on today, we think.

Joining us to talk about this whole situation right now is Senator Chris van Hollen, Democratic from Maryland.

Senator, thanks so much for being with us.


BERMAN: Just right now, senator, are you a yes or no vote for this temporary extension of government funding?

VAN HOLLEN: Well, we don't even know what the proposal is right now, John. As you just indicated, the president of the United States has now said that the long-term fix to the Children's Health Insurance Program should not be part of this agreement.

BERMAN: But -- but can I say --

HARLOW: Assuming it's there.

BERMAN: Can I say -- if it -- if it was there, right? What we do know is that in this version dreamers, any protections for dreamers is not part of the bill.

HARLOW: Right.

BERMAN: So the question, I guess, the first question is, without protections for dreamers, could you vote for an extension of government funding?

VAN HOLLEN: I cannot support a bill, a continuing resolution, that does not deal with funding for community health centers, that does not deal with the opioid crisis by providing real resources, that doesn't help our veterans and that doesn't deal with the DACA issue.



[09:35:14] VAN HOLLEN: Right now, as I see it, the president of the United States, whether by design or shear incompetence, is taking this country into a government shutdown. That's my best prediction at this point in time.

We saw what happened at the White House the other day. The president had invited people to come up with a bipartisan solution on DACA. You had a bipartisan solution, which, by the way, as of today, has seven Democratic senators on board, and yet the president now is all over the place. His own chief of staff is saying that he really didn't know what he was talking about in some aspect of the wall, for example.

So I'm very nervous that this president, who has previously tweeted out about a, quote, good government shutdown, is taking us in that direction.

HARLOW: OK, so you're a no on this without a DACA deal. But there are some of your fellow Democrats in the Senate who have --

VAN HOLLEN: No, I'm a no on this unless we resolve all the issues I talked about, community health centers, veterans, opioid crisis.

HARLOW: I hear -- I hear --

VAN HOLLEN: Lots of issues that should have been decided last September.

HARLOW: OK. You're very much a no on this, including if it doesn't include DACA. But here was my point.

Some of your fellow Democrats in the Senate, like Joe Manchin in West Virginia, up for re-election in 2018. In, you know, a state like West Virginia, he did say earlier this week that he could support this without a DACA deal right now.

With the president this morning saying that the CHIP funding extension, THE six-year funding of CHIP should be taken out of this short-term deal, do you think that makes it even less likely that Democrats like Joe Manchin could stomach this?

VAN HOLLEN: So, Poppy, I really -- I can't speak to any particular senator and how he or she will vote.

But what I can say is this, as with the case of Joe Manchin, all of our senators are going to look at this proposal, whatever it ends up being. And hopefully we'll have some input into this proposal, which we've not had really to date. They'll look at it and they'll decide whether or not it is in the best interest of the people of their states. And if they think it is, they'll vote for it. If they don't think it is, then they'll vote against it. We have lots of members who don't like the fact that this proposal

looks like it will underfund veterans. It does not adequately deal with the opioid epidemic. And, frankly, running a government two weeks by two weeks on a CR hurts our military readiness and hurts all the federal agencies that are trying to work for the American people.

So, again, until you see a proposal, it's impossible to say how people will vote. But the way things are headed, the way the president is taking this right now, is in a very bad direction toward a government shutdown.

BERMAN: You brought up the military, because one of the things the president and some Republicans say is that amnesty, as they say it, or funding for dreamers, or protections for dreamers are more important to Democrats than protecting the military. That if you shut down this government over this issues, or the issues that you brought up right there, you're hurting the military. How do you respond?

VAN HOLLEN: Well, what's hurting the military is this two-week by two- week continuing resolution approach because they can't do any planning, which is why you have people like Senator Lindsey Graham saying that they're going to oppose a continuing resolution.

We should have dealt with all of these issues back in September. This fiscal year began on October 1st. Here we are, well into the year, and it is simply irresponsible to continue to go week to week. That hurts the military.

So if the president really wants to bring people together, he should accept the bipartisan agreements and proposals that have been brought to him, which, by the way, would pass the Senate with a big vote and we could just move on, on that issue and these other important issues as well.

HARLOW: Let's talk about legislation that you proposed, bipartisan legislation, a rarity these days on Capitol Hill, with Marco Rubio earlier this week. It's called the Deter Act and it would slap really big sanctions on any country, Russia, China, others, that interfered in the U.S. election process.

So you've put this forward. And we're wondering, at this point in time, do you have any support from leadership in the Senate, any word from the White House on whether they can get behind this?

VAN HOLLEN: So, Poppy, I think in the Senate we have strong support. As you said, this is a bipartisan bill. I introduced it with Senator Rubio. There's been lots of focus on what happened in the last election and Russian interference in the last election. This bill is something that should bring everybody together because it's designed to make sure that we don't see foreign interference in the 2018 elections and beyond.

And, as you say, it will deter those that are trying to disrupt our elections because it requires the director of national intelligence to report within 30 days of an election as to whether or not there's been interference. And if there is, there are automatic, tough sanctions in place, especially with respect to Russia. So if you're Putin and you're thinking about whether or not you want to interfere again in our intelligence, you have to know that if we determine that you did mess around, there will be these automatic, very harsh penalties hitting your banks, your oil sector and other key areas of the Russian economy.

[09:40:21] HARLOW: But, quickly, yes or no, no word from the White House on this or leadership yet directly?

VAN HOLLEN: We have not heard from the White House, but we think we have support in -- among the senators.

HARLOW: We appreciate your time. Senator Chris Van Hollen, thank you.

VAN HOLLEN: Thank you. Good to be here.

HARLOW: Thank you so much.

Republicans scrambling, well, you know, to prevent another special election debacle. The president heads to western Pennsylvania today, an area he won big in the election. So the news here this morning is, why is it so close in this race? Stay with us.


HARLOW: In hours, the president heads to western Pennsylvania. He will soon face a popularity contest there around a special election. This morning he tweeted his support for the Republican candidate in what should be a really safe race for him saying, we need more Republicans to continue our already successful agenda.

[09:45:14] BERMAN: Yes, the real news here is that this race is even close. This is a seat Republicans have held for years and easily. This is an area the president won by 20 points. And Democrats are looking at this as a possible sign and hoping that it's a possible sign of a coming wave.

CNN's Jason Carroll takes us there.


JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Meet Rick Saccone, often referred to in these parts as Trump 2.0.

RICK SACCONE (R), PENNSYLVANIA CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: I think it's an honor. I think people will respect that.

CARROLL: Saccone is a five-term representative in the Pennsylvania house and a staunch Trump supporter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you be more likely to support the Republican Rick Saccone or the Democrat Conor Lamb?

CARROLL: Saccone faces Democratic challenger Conor Lamb in a special election in the 18th district, the seat vacated by Tim Murphy, an anti-abortion GOP congressman who resigned after it was revealed he allegedly asked a woman he was having an affair with to have an abortion.

The 18 spreads across four counts and includes industrial towns and suburban communities. It's primarily white and working class.

SACCONE: I don't know if you realize it, Jason, but you're in Trump country, brother. And it's -- this is -- this is -- you know, Trump won this area by 20 points. And I think maybe today he may be even more popular than he was when he was elected.

CARROLL: A loss in so-called Trump country could have national repercussions. Saccone's opponent, Conor Lamb, is a 33-year-old retired Marine and former U.S. attorney.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will you support Conor Lamb for Congress in the special election being held on March 13th?

CARROLL: His supporters say Lamb is not your typical Democrat. They say he's more moderate and not afraid to take on his own party. He raised eyebrows when he said he would not support Nancy Pelosi as Democratic leader.

CONOR LAMB (D), PENNSYLVANIA CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: I think that Congress, as a whole, has failed to achieve the results that people want. And it's not a personal thing. But when that happens, it's time for new leadership.

CARROLL: Is that enough to gain points in a district that has not elected a Democrat since 2000, despite having an edge in party registration?

Paul Berginc is one of those Democrats here who switched parties during the president election and is now behind Saccone.

PAUL BERGINC, SACCONE SUPPORTER: People in Westmoreland County don't want another obstructionist Democrat in Washington. And that would be Conor Lamb.

CARROLL: Across the district, at a hardware store, more voters standing behind Saccone.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I think we need a supporter of Trump. And Rick Saccone is a supporter of him.

CARROLL (on camera): Democrats hope the president's popularity has waned here and that in turn could help them with white, working class voters who they need in order to pull out a win here. Still, Democrats say they have an uphill battle.

And who's this guy with him, a young looking -- a young looking you, yes?

CARROLL (voice over): Lifelong Democratic Michael Flynn says Saccone's support for Trump has turned off some voters.

MICHAEL FLYNN, LAMB SUPPORTER: Well, from what I've seen in the past year with Donald Trump, and having Mr. Saccone say he's more Trump than Trump, that settled my -- that made my decision there.

CARROLL (on camera): That settled it for you?

FLYNN: That was it.

MICHAEL SIEGEL, LAMB SUPPORTER: I would hope there'd be a backlash against what we've seen from Trump. But I don't know.

CARROLL (voice over): Voters het to the polls here March 13th.

Jason Carroll, CNN, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.


HARLOW: Jason, thank you very much.

Again, the president headed there in just a few hours.

Coming up for us, Apple's big promise to create thousands of American jobs. Guess who's taking credit? The president. But does he deserve it? We have that ahead.


[09:53:14] BERMAN: All right, Apple making some big promises and investments in the U.S. economy. The company says it plans to create 20,000 jobs and invest some $30 billion in the U.S. over the next five years.

HARLOW: Our chief business correspondent Christine Romans is here with more details.

Look, the headlines are really great for Apple. This certainly gives it a halo effect. I just wonder, is it all -- is it all warranted?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, they can afford it because they got a big tax cut.


ROMANS: And that's, I think, the bottom line here is that they got such a gift from the tax cuts that they are able to package it up and present it like this as a big investment in the American economy.

Let me first detail these numbers for you. They're going to bring foreign profits back home. WE think about $215 billion worth of money. Remember, Apple is making so much money with its overseas production model that they literally had more money than they know what to do with. They could just sit it -- it could just sit in bank accounts overseas. They're going to pay $38 billion to the Treasury on that overseas cash. They say it's going to create 20,000 U.S. jobs. They're going to invest an extra $30 billion in U.S. facilities over the next five years. We're talking about a data center, a new corporate campus and they're going to give $2,500 employee bonuses, but not for the really highly paid employees. Tim Cook said the tax cut is the real driver here. It's one of the

reasons why they're able to, you know, ramp up their investment in the U.S. We have a deep sense of responsibility to give back to our country and the people who helped make our success possible, is what he said in a statement here.

You know, they already said they were going to be ramping up advanced manufacturing in the United States, making investments in domestic manufacturers and the like. And some analysts have said they were already on track to spend almost all of this, but not quite.


BERMAN: Right.

ROMANS: I mean this is because of, you know, they're getting a gift from the tax cuts. The president taking credit for this. He says, I promise that my policies would allow companies like Apple to bring massive amounts of money back to the United States. Great to see Apple follow through as a result of tax cuts. A huge win for American worker and the USA.

[09:55:04] You know, and on the point of, he promised they'd be able to bring a ton of money back, they're bringing a ton of money back.

HARLOW: A ton of money back.

BERMAN: They're bringing money back. Part of it's semantics. I mean money in a bank account overseas isn't all that different than money in a bank account here.

ROMANS: Right.

BERMAN: It's how they use it. We will see. That remains to be seen.


BERMAN: Christine Romans, great to have you here with us.

HARLOW: Thank you.

BERMAN: Thank you very, very much.

All right, the breaking news that makes it a oh so very interesting. We are told the president is fuming after the interview that Chief of Staff John Kelly did, saying the president was uninformed about his border wall. He's hating what the president said. What are the ramifications this morning? Stick around.


[10:00:12] BERMAN: All right, good morning, everyone, I'm John Berman.

HARLOW: And I'm Poppy Harlow.