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Government Shutdown Looms Friday Night; Kelly: Trump Was Uninformed; Steve Bannon's House Intel Committee Slip-Up; Trump Slams Russia on North Korea; Tom Brady Suffers Injury to Throwing Hand. Aired 5-5:30a ET
Aired January 18, 2018 - 05:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Dave a little bit under the weather. But we're glad to have you as co-pilot today.
[05:00:03] I'm Christine Romans. It is Thursday, January 18th. It is 5:00 a.m. in the East.
You can see, there's going to be a countdown clock any second here. The federal government runs out of money tomorrow night. That's right, 48 hours.
Two groups of lawmakers to watch today: House conservatives and Senate Democrats. House is expected to vote on a continuing to fund the government through February 16th. But GOP defense hawks in the House say the party's short-term bill does not meet their campaign promises.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Are you in a position right now to vote yes on what's out there for a budget resolution on Friday?
REP. JIM JORDAN (R), OHIO: No. Here's what I want -- I want us to do what we told the American people we were going to do. What they elected us to do. Fund defense. Hold the line on non-defense. And do what the election was about on immigration.
If the Democrats want to shutdown the government because they want to give amnesty to people who came here illegally, then you can have them on your show and they can explain why that's the appropriate thing to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARQUARDT: Senate Democrats are under heavy pressure from immigration activists. They want renewed protections for Dreamers, who were brought here illegally as children. Many of those Democrats leaning against the stop-gap bill.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D), CONNECTICUT: I don't know how my colleagues can look the Dreamers in the eye and say, we're going to engage in breaking America's promise and violating our trust. At some point, standing on moral principle is why we're here. And we made a promise to the Dreamers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: Senate Democrats have at least one Republican ally, Senator Lindsey Graham. He says putting off of a deal on DACA will hurt Dreamers and Americans.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Those who think that we are going to get away as Republicans, we're getting all we want on the fence now and we'll deal with the kids later, the DREAM Act population, closer to March 5th when their backs are against the wall, that is -- that is nuts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARQUARDT: And Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell trying to now corral Democratic votes. McConnell says the president's waffling on immigration isn't helping.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: I'm looking for something that president Trump supports. And he's not yet indicated what measure he's willing to sign. As soon as we figure out what he is for, then I would be convinced that we would not just spinning our wheels.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARQUARDT: As soon as they figure out what he is for. But the White House spokesperson says he is unambiguous of what he wants.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAJ SHAH, DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Our priorities are very clear. We cannot get into a situation where we have -- where we have a temporary stop-gap fix and then a few years down the road, we have hundreds of thousands of new illegal immigrants in this country. That is not a fix. And that's inhumane and that is not a bill of love.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: President Trump in an interview with "Reuters" telling the news agency a government shutdown could happen. He insists the Democrats will take the blame.
So, 48 hours from the possible shutdown, what is the state of Capitol Hill?
Here is CNN's Phil Mattingly.
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Christine and Alex, for the state of the government shutdown or potential government shutdown, there's no question about it. Thursday is going to be a very big day. You are going to get the first concrete evidence whether or not things are heading on a good pathway in terms of whether or not there actually be a government shutdown, or whether or not there are significant problems.
Here's why: this is a multistep process. First, the House needs to pass a short-term spending bill to be kicked to the Senate. There are major issues in both of those chambers.
When you look at the House, House Republicans basically have to pass the short term funding bill on their own.
Democrats have already made very clear, they are opposed to it. Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi whipping against the bill entirely. That means Speaker Paul Ryan needs to find 216 of his own votes to ensure this moves to the Senate.
And that has been problematic, there's no question about it. Conservatives are very frustrated with the process, not necessarily happy with the content of the bill, are threatening to hold out. Defense hawks are also uneasy about the fact that they are moving forward and just kicking the can down the road.
Can they actually get there? Well, top Republican aides say that they feel like they are on a good path. They've been whipping the bill hard. They feel they can eventually get there.
There's no question about it. It's not been an easy task. If Republicans are able to get the bill through the House, it kicks it over to the Senate. And the spotlight shines directly on Democrats.
Obviously, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell can't pass any without short term government funding bill without Democratic support. They need 60 votes. Republicans only had 51 seats.
If you want to know where Democrats stand on this, stand on this short-term funding bill -- well, take a listen to Senator Chuck Schumer.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), MINORITY LEADER: The overwhelming number in our caucus have said they don't like this deal and they believe if we kick the can down the road this time, we'll be back where we started from next time. So, there is very, very strong support not to go along with their deal.
MATTINGLY: Now, obviously, Democrats very unhappy about the current direction of things. Democrats making very clear they don't want to vote on any government funding bill if there is no DACA resolution attached to it or at least close to a deal.
But will they actually withhold their votes? Will they push the government to, you know, the brink of or right into a shutdown?
[05:05:02] As of now, most Democrats and top Democratic aides are telling me they're keeping their powder dry. They want to see what House Republicans are going to do first before they commit any one way. But it's worth noting, they are very frustrated.
They are hearing a lot from their advocates, from their base, saying that this is the moment to fight and this is the issue to fight on. Will they? Well, we're at least going to start getting some answers today -- Christine and Alex.
MARQUARDT: All right. Thank you, Phil.
Now, let's bring in political reporter Tal Kopan to make sense of it all.
Good morning, Tal.
ROMANS: Hi, Tal.
TAL KOPAN, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Good morning.
MARQUARDT: Now, do you think, Tal, that the Freedom House has blinked? And even if the Republicans do pass this funding bill, is there any chance that the Democrats get on board?
KOPAN: Well, it's very difficult for Senate Democrats if -- you know, as Phil described, getting through the House is the hard part for Republicans. We don't know if they will do that. But if they can, if they do enough armed twisting and send this over to the Senate, for a lot of Senate Democrats, it is an easy no.
But there are just enough Senate Democrats for whom this is a difficult vote, trying to maneuver that is what you will see over the next couple days. Republicans are going to say over and over, Democrats are shutting down the government over DACA, and over an amnesty or appeals to their base. Democrats are going to have to find a way to justify rejecting this bill that goes beyond just that and say send us something better for the American people. That's going to be their messaging strategy.
ROMANS: The last time we had a shutdown was 2013. I remember in D.C. and covering that and so many people were all of a sudden saying, oh, a shutdown is not a big deal. It just shuts down the parks.
But it is a big deal, because it is a job of Congress to fund the government and a shutdown by its definition means Congress is not doing its job. "The Wall Street Journal" has an op-ed talking about sort of like shutdown politics, the rule of shutdown politics. I want to read this. Democrats think the shutdown will improve their chances of retaking the House and Senate in November.
Everything they do, every decision they make is a political calculation with that in mind. Thus supposedly grave moral choices like, you know, children's health care and legal status for immigrants are more important as political battering rams than as a policy and accomplishments. Dysfunction is desirable because Republicans are normally in charge and they will get the blame.
Is it clear, Tal, who will get the blame if there's a shutdown here?
KOPAN: That's a lot of what lawmakers are trying to figure out, Christine. They are trying to shape who's going to get the blame. But at some level, Republicans know that at the end of the day, they control all three branches of government. And they can blame, you know, nine Senate Democrats all they want and keep in mind that I believe John McCain has missed votes this week. That margin could narrower now for Republicans.
So, they can blame those Democrats all they want. The truth is the American people recognize that Trump and Republicans are in the driver's seat. It goes beyond a little bit what "The Wall Street Journal" is saying. For Democrats, they understand that if they're going to have leverage to shape any policy and if they are going able to be sure to get one of their most important policy priorities this year, it has to be done with leverage. That is why the mechanics of this government funding fight are so dicey, because they are trying to use that leverage to get as much off the priority list.
MARQUARDT: Tal, Chief of Staff John Kelly is now saying that the president's attitude towards immigration and the wall have evolved. Let's take a quick listen to that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KELLY, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: He's a very definitely changed his attitudes toward DACA issue and even the wall. He has evolved in the way he's looked at things. Campaign to governing are two different things. This president is very, very flexible in terms of what is within the realm of the possible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARQUARDT: Now, one of the oldest adages in politics is campaigning in poetry and governing is prose. But, Tal, what happens if the president backs down from this promise to build this wall?
KOPAN: Well, if you ask his base, they'd be furious. Now, you know, to some extent, Kelly is describing what we have seen happen before our own eyes. I mean, the president for months now has not talked about the border wall as some sort of 2,000-mile long, you know, concrete barrier. He has listened to the Department of Homeland Security when they say it is not feasible and not really advisable.
And so, you heard him shift his descriptors a little bit. But, you know, the wall became a powerful symbol for his campaign. He refuses to stop using the notion of some wall specifically.
But when he actually is pressed on what the details mean, it is a lot more what John Kelly said as Department of Homeland Security Secretary and now says as chief of staff, of a shorter wall design to sort of match the need of the border at various places. Now, that is still 700 miles. It's not that short. But, you know, it is an evolution, as John Kelly was saying.
[05:10:01] ROMANS: You know, the wall is a symbol of why so many people elected Donald Trump for, you know, restrictionist immigration policies. But we are seeing the levers of government, Tal, being used to right away, right now, being used to implement those policies. I mean, you are writing about DHS and Haiti.
KOPAN: That's right. So, you know, on top of the decision to revoke temporary protected status for Haitians, which about almost 60,000 Haitians who have been living in the U.S. legally and working now have to figure out how to stay or go back home. There is another type of visa.
It's not a lot of Haitians. It's only a few hundred. But still, it was a type of temporary visa that allowed Haitians to come work here, and contribute to the economy and send money back home as well. It allowed them to stay here legally and work.
And DHS with some input from the State Department has decided to remove Haiti from the list of nations that are eligible. And so, you know, while they say it's related to overstays and fraud, certainly, it sort of comes across as a bit of a pile-on especially in this moment, especially light of the president's recent comments.
You know, this is not a country that is doing that great. It could be a blow to their economy. And perhaps even drive people to try to come here illegally now searching for something to send back home.
ROMANS: Meanwhile, the American economy is a big story in the labor market. It's so strong. We need more workers, you know? Where is the conversation on immigration circles about new visa programs or work programs?
All right. Tal Kopan, come back in a few minutes. We'll talk some more about the news of the day.
The looming government shutdown could cost the nation big time. The economy lost $24 billion during the 2013 shutdown. If negotiations collapse, now, most federal agencies will close. That forces hundreds of thousands of workers to be furloughed or take leave without pay. That's not all federal workers though.
Those deemed essential will continue to work like air traffic controllers, those in law enforcement, national security, the federal courts. Their paychecks, though, will be delayed until the shutdown ends. So, that is a personal budget problem for people who work for the government.
What about the U.S. military? The biggest loser, according to President Trump. Well, the troops have already been paid for January. So, it won't be a problem until February 1st.
Who does get paid during a shutdown? Those who have constitutional duties, like members of Congress. Doesn't that make you feel good? The Supreme Court and president.
What does it mean for you? Good news. You still get Social Security checks. That program is mandatory. You can also still get a new passport. That service is partly funded by fees. But bad news if you plan to vacation to a national park or museum or
monument. Taxpayer-funded sites will be closed.
MARQUARDT: The president heads to the Pentagon today with a new U.S. nuclear strategy on the way. Now, he's accusing Russia of helping North Korea. We're live in Moscow, next.
[05:17:12] MARQUARDT: President Trump using his score on the cognitive test, part of that mandatory medical exam he takes every year to take a swipe at his Oval Office predecessors over North Korea. In an interview with "Reuters", he blamed Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton for their approaches to the rogue regime, and the growing nuclear threat.
ROMANS: He said, quote, I guess they all realize they're going to have to leave it to a president that scored the highest on the tests. The White House physician says Mr. Trump scored 30 out of 30 on the cognitive test he requested.
MARQUARDT: Today, the president meets with senior leaders at the Pentagon with a new U.S. nuclear strategy on the table. Officials say the Pentagon is discussing the possibility of a nuclear strike if the U.S. targeted in a non-nuclear attack.
ROMANS: And the president is now accusing Russia of helping North Korea evade sanctions aimed at curbing their nuclear missile program. The president says progress being made with China's help is effectively being undone.
CNN's Paula Newton is live in Moscow with details.
And so, it sounds like the president is listening to his briefings now.
PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Yes, hey, Christine. Good to see you.
You know, this script is a little different, isn't it, in terms from what we had expected from 2017. 2018 is opening a little differently with him, actually calling out Russia and criticizing them. Russia now reacting -- again, Christine, it will come as no surprise to you that they deny this, saying these accusations made by the United States are absolutely unfounded. Russia is fulfilling the obligations under the corresponding U.N. Security Council resolutions in full. That there from the deputy foreign minister.
But you have to say, Christine, that look, this is sounding very familiar, especially to me. I first did this story in April with the fact the U.N. itself had pointed out exactly how Russia was violating those sanctions.
Here's the thing, though, Christine, this could be happening in a major way in the months to come. Trump -- Donald Trump had finally convinced China to try and really stymie those fuel exports to North Korea. No sooner did they do that, and there seems to be some evidence that perhaps Russia is trying to pick up that slack.
This will be a difficult one. You know, with China, Donald Trump does have some leverage. Right now, though, U.S. and Russia relations are at an all-time low. I mean, Christine, what do you hit Russia with at this point in time? They are talking about more sanctions here at the end of the month. It is going to be a tough one if Russia decides that they do want to in fact help that North Korea regime.
ROMANS: All right. Paula, thank you so much for that in Moscow for us this morning. Thanks.
MARQUARDT: Tom Brady suffering an injury with his throwing hand.
ROMANS: Uh-oh. Oh, my gosh. John Berman may not even come in to work today over this.
MARQUARDT: (INAUDIBLE) effect Sunday's conference game, the title game. Andy Scholes has this morning's "Bleacher Report", coming up next.
[04:24:10] ROMANS: All right. A scare for Patriots fans. Tom Brady was limited in practice after injuring his throwing hand.
MARQUARDT: This is a wrong time for this to be happening.
Andy Scholes, what's going?
ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you know, good morning, guys.
The last thing you want to hear about before the AFC championship game. According to ESPN, Brady hit his hand in a minor collusion during practice yesterday and he skipped speaking with the media to be treated for that injury. And Brady had x-rays that showed no structural damage, according to "The Boston Herald". A source telling ESPN that the injury could affect Brady on Sunday, but the belief is he will be OK.
Patriots play the Jaguars on Sunday at 3:00 Eastern with the trip to the Super Bowl on the line.
All right. Colin Kaepernick announcing that over the next 10 days, he will be donating $10,000 a day to organizations dedicated to social justice. It completes the pledge to donate $1 million to the cause.
Yesterday, Kaepernick announcing that the first 10K was going to De- Bug, a San Francisco area organization that advocates for criminal justice reform and police accountability. And Warriors star Kevin Durant matching Kaepernick's donation for a total of 20K to the organization.
Kaepernick posting this video to Twitter to thank Durant.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) COLIN KAEPERNICK, ACTIVIST: K.D., thank you so much brother for continuing to uplift and empower our communities. We love and appreciate you. Thank you again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHOLES: All right. In the NBA last night, Warriors and Bulls, Kris Dunn getting the steal here, he's going to take it all the way in for the dunk. But he holds on to the rim too long and lands right on his face. Ouch. Dunn chipped his two front teeth and evaluated for concussion.
Amazingly, he didn't lose any teeth in that fall. The Warriors beat the Bulls 119-112. But, guys, watching that, it makes me cringe. I don't like seeing people fall on their faces especially --
ROMANS: Oh, gosh.
MARQUARDT: He had a mouth guard --
SCHOLES: Yes, it probably saved him for sure.
ROMANS: Yes, awesome.
All right. Thanks, Andy. Nice to see you.
MARQUARDT: Thank you, Andy.
All right. The House is set to vote today on the short-term package to keep the government open. But hurdles remain in both chambers and neither side is giving any ground.
More from Capitol Hill, next.