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House to Vote on Spending Bill; Food As Fuel; California's Resistance to Trump Intensifies; Government Shutdown Cost; Trumps' Threat to Democracy. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired January 18, 2018 - 08:30   ET



[08:30:53] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: The House preparing to vote tonight on a short-term spending bill to avert a government shutdown. So, are members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus on board?

Let's ask Republican Congressman Warren Davidson of Ohio. He is one of those members of the Freedom Caucus.

Good morning, congressman.


CAMEROTA: Are you going to vote yes or no or this temporary short-time spending bill?

DAVIDSON: Probably no. I mean when you look at the challenge we've -- we've -- in the House, we've been at a framework that funds our defense at a higher level since September. And we've been waiting on the Senate. And, of course, the Senate is waiting on 60 votes to be able to move forward. So it's not really clear what funding levels the Senate would actually support because they've held up their commitment on funding for -- over DACA.

CAMEROTA: Yes, but just explain to us why your -- you would vote no. Why -- what's your beef? Why won't you vote for this? I know it's temporary, but why not keep the government running?

DAVIDSON: Well, I don't want to shut the government down and I don't know anyone that does, frankly. But, you know, the Senate's had, since September, our troops are waiting. We had more combat fatalities -- or fewer combat fatalities last year than we had training fatalities. Under President Obama and the way he applied the sequester, which is across-the-board cuts, very -- not selective --


DAVIDSON: Funding things like $300 a gallon jet fuel, our fighter pilots are getting --

CAMEROTA: Yes, but what does that have to do with your vote today?

DAVIDSON: Our -- our troops are waiting for funding. This does not get the funding to our troops. Our troops are in need of more funds for combat readiness.


DAVIDSON: They're in need of more flying time. They're in more need of spare parts.


DAVIDSON: When you look at the kinds of things that have gone on in our military, we agreed to do this back in the summer.


DAVIDSON: We took the votes in September. And we want to string this out. And the whole purpose of stringing it out isn't to resolve things for our troops, it's to do a DACA deal. So what I want to vote on --


DAVIDSON: Is a clean vote for the full year of funding for the military and not some half measure that really just does a deal that prioritizes 800,000 people whose parents brought them here illegally over getting the funds to our troops. If we agree on funding our troops, why can't we fund our troops right now and then continue to work on the things we don't agree on, which is non-defense spending and DACA.

CAMEROTA: Yes, but, I mean, Democrats could say, why can't you agree to protections for the dreamers?

DAVIDSON: Well, because they haven't worked out an agreement that people could agree. Bob Goodlatte has a bill that has brought some interest because you've got Martha McSally, a more moderate Republican, agreeing with Raul Labrador, a Freedom Caucus Republican. Maybe that could be a compromise.

So we're looking at that. That's got its own path. It's its own bill. Why can't you have a clean vote on DACA --

CAMEROTA: Well, yes.

DAVIDSON: Because we haven't had an agreement yet.

CAMEROTA: I understand.

DAVIDSON: We allegedly have an agreement on defense spending. So why can't we have a clean vote on defense spending for the full year?

CAMEROTA: Yes, I mean, listen, you're -- you're stating your case of what you want. I understand. But as of midnight tomorrow night, the government shuts down. So the very people that you're trying to protect, I mean in terms of soldiers, at some point, they don't get paid.

DAVIDSON: Well, they're -- it's up to the administration to determine how -- what is essential. And I have confidence that Mick Mulvaney at OMB and President Trump would prioritize funding our troops --


DAVIDSON: Unlike the previous administration. He spent extra money to block World War II Vets from going to the World War II Museum (ph).

CAMEROTA: But, I mean, look, at some point --

DAVIDSON: You won't see any of that nonsense under this administration.

CAMEROTA: Look, you're comfortable that the troops will be paid. You're hoping that they would make the right decision. But, obviously, hundreds of thousands of people will lose their paycheck tomorrow night at midnight. So why are you gambling with all of this?

DAVIDSON: Well, payday isn't tomorrow night, frankly. Payday's January 30th. So my confidence is we'll get a better range of options by saying no to the current bad option.

CAMEROTA: Some of your fellow Republicans believe that you are being obstructionists. Here is Adam Kinzinger of Illinois.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Do you have the votes?

REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R), ILLINOIS: I don't know. We're just -- you know, we're kind of figuring out what we're doing as of last night. We're hearing the plan. I guess our friends over at the freedom club decided they wanted to oppose it.

[08:35:03] The freedom club, our friends over there, they're -- I don't know what their reasoning is because they're not the ones that have been advocating for robust military spending. In fact, many of them over in the Freedom Caucus were actually fans of sequester, which I am not.


CAMEROTA: You heard what he said, that he just believes that you're sort of hanging you hat on this, but it's not genuine because in the past the Freedom Caucus wanted the sequester, which also cut spending.

DAVIDSON: Well, I wasn't here for that. And, you know, Adam's a good guy. He's definitely a strong military guy. He's pushing for the same kinds of funding.

But, in some of the folks' case, they would spend more money on defense no matter how much more money we spend. And that would be great if we had the money, but we're effectively going to borrow more than the defense budget again. So we're really borrowing money from our enemies to defend our country, which is not a sustainable path.

And under the sequester, President Obama could have chosen to allocate the money to pick winners and losers on projects, but instead he did half measure after half measure, which has crippled our military readiness.

CAMEROTA: OK. So, at this moment, we only have 10 seconds left, all of the Freedom Caucus will vote no on this bill?

DAVIDSON: Well, I can't speak -- I can't speak for everyone in the Freedom Caucus. And, you know, my voting card belongs to the people of the Ohio's eighth district. And I think this is not the deal that we should be voting on. So I plan to vote no.

CAMEROTA: Congressman Warren Davidson, thank you for sharing your perspective with us.

DAVIDSON: Thank you.


CUOMO: All right, the state of California standing up to President Trump with no sign of backing down. Activists describe the growing resistance, coming up.

CAMEROTA: But if you're about to have breakfast, listen up. CNN's Lisa Drayer has some options that will help you eat less throughout the day in "Food as Fuel."


LISA DRAYER, CNN NUTRITIONIST: If you start your day with avocado, it could help you eat less later. Avocados contain a unique combo of heart healthy fats and fiber. One study found that when people ate the green fruit in the morning, they felt more satisfied and less hungry over the next six hours.

For a true power breakfast, try avocado on whole grain rye crisp bread. One study found that participants fed whole grain rye were less hungry and ate fewer calories at lunch compared to those who ate refined bread. The high amount of fiber in rye helps you feel fuller, longer.

And if you need a mid-morning snack, keep almonds at your desk. Research suggests these nuts can help curb your appetite and keep your weight in check despite being high in calories. It's believed that fat and fiber in almonds contribute to lower blood sugar levels after meals, which help decrease cravings.



[08:41:56] CUOMO: As we approach the one-year mark of Donald Trump's presidency, the battles between the White House and California are intensifying. Both sides clashing over immigration, recreational pot, taxes, the environment.

CNN's Miguel Marquez on why the divide is only deepening.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) CROWD: Not my president. Not my president.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The California Republic versus President Trump.

CHERYL CONTEE, DIGITAL ACTIVIST: The resistance is legion.

MARQUEZ: One year into his administration --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trump is a wake-up call.

MARQUEZ: The world's sixth largest economy fighting Trump administration policies on everything from legal marijuana to taxes to the environment.

GOV. JERRY BROWN (D), CALIFORNIA: California is not waiting for Trump. We're not waiting for all the deniers.

MARQUEZ: And the escalating fight over immigration.

LYDIA AVILA, COMMUNITY ORGANIZER, CALIFORNIA CALLS: We're going to fight and we're going to win.

MARQUEZ: California now an immigrant sanctuary state. A new law limiting cooperation between local, state and federal law enforcement. Prank road signs welcomed drivers to seemingly another country, the land of illegals.

THOMAS HOMAN, ACTING DIRECTOR, U.S. IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT: If the politicians in California don't want to protect their communities, then ICE will.

MARQUEZ: The acting head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Fox News said California politicians who made the law should be held personally accountable. Politicos here aren't worried.

MARQUEZ (on camera): Have you ever seen the enmity between California and D.C. like it is today?

BROWN: I wouldn't call it enmity. There's certain policies that are radical departures from the norm. And California will fight those.

MARQUEZ (voice over): The immigrant community finding its voice in the era of Trump.

AVILA: We're actually working harder and galvanizing more people.

MARQUEZ: A daughter of Mexican immigrants, east L.A. activist Lydia Avila, says the president, his rhetoric and policies have only emboldened her community.

AVILA: This is a movement that's not going to be stopped. The president cannot win. He may be there now, but he's not going to be there forever. We're going to win.

MARQUEZ: Equally galvanized, the entertainment industry with its deep pockets and powerful voice.

JEREMY ZIMMER, CEO, UNITED TALENT AGENCY: The power of an idea to change the way people think and change the way people feel is really what's important. That's really what we're fighting for.

MARQUEZ: Jeremy Zimmer, CEO of United Talent Agency, one of the world's largest, says Trump represents a threat to the idea of America.

ZIMMER: We all see that the freedoms and the life we assume we have, the incredible privileges we have to be, you know, raised in this country, to live in this country, we all see that -- you know, how fragile it can be.

CONTEE: Alisyn (ph), hi.

MARQUEZ: Cheryl Contee, an activist in the tech community, says it is a fight over principles.

CONTEE: I think that you're going to find Californians be completely unapologetic about, you know, fighting for what we see as California values.

[08:45:06] MARQUEZ: Working from home on her pedal desk, one-foot soldier among millions across the golden state countering, resisting Trump.

Miguel Marquez, CNN, in the California Republic.


CAMEROTA: All right. It's time now for "CNN Money Now."

A government shutdown is looming. What could that cost the U.S. economy?

Chief business correspondent Christine Romans is here to tell us about that.

You've crunched the numbers, Christine.


Well, you know, the last shutdown cost the U.S. economy $24 billion. If negotiations collapse, most federal agencies would close, hundreds of thousands of workers -- federal workers would be furloughed. That means they'd take leave without pay.

But that's not all federal workers. Those deemed essential will work, like air traffic controllers, law enforcement, federal court staff, and they won't be paid until after the shutdown ends.

What about the U.S. military, the biggest loser according to the president? The good news, the troops have already been paid for January, so it won't be a problem until February 1st. And you will still get your Social Security check. That program is mandatory, Social Security is. You can also get a new passport. But I say you should act quickly. If you think there's going to be a government shutdown, there could be some delays in passports. You're out of luck if you planned a vacation to a national park, a museum or a monument. Taxpayer funded sites would be closed.

So who does get paid during a shutdown? Those who have constitutional duties. The president, Supreme Court and, you guys, members of Congress. You know, it is their job, Chris, to keep the government running. That is pretty much their core meaning, right? They would still get paid if they don't do their job.

CUOMO: Ah, the irony.

Christine, thank you very much.

Outgoing Republican Senator Jeff Flake rebuking President Trump's attacks on the press, saying America's democracy is at risk. Is that true? Are these fake news claims more than just ramblings? Let's discuss, next.


[08:50:45] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JEFF FLAKE (R), ARIZONA: For without truth and a principled fidelity to truth and the shared facts, Mr. President, our democracy will not last.


CUOMO: That's Republican Senator Jeff Flake rebuking President Trump on the Senate floor, accusing the president of echoing Joseph Stalin's attacks on his enemies. And he said America, under his leadership, is charting a dangerous path.

Joining us now are professors of government at Harvard who know about the dangerous path. They are authors of the new book "How Democracies Die," Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt.

It is good to have you both here, professors.


CUOMO: So, there's a lot in this book for people to look at contextually about what's happening around the world, what's happened over history and what elements you can distil to check the demise of a democracy. Good.

But specific to us here, let's start, Steven, with why you think that the American democracy may be in any real trouble.

STEVEN LEVITSKY, AUTHOR, "HOW DEMOCRACIES DIE": Well, we're hopeful that it's not. We're not -- we don't think American democracy is dying, but there are warning signs. And the first one is that we elected a demagogue and we elected somebody who has demonstrably weak commitment to democratic norms and to constitutional norms. It's really the first time in a century that a major party candidate has shown really authoritarian instincts. So that's one thing.

CAMEROTA: Look, you know that his supporters would say that he has tapped into something that was already there. That he's not a demagogue, he's just channeling what they felt about wanting to break the mold.

ZIBLATT: Yes, you know, and that -- it's a -- that's certainly a paradox of democracy at some level. But what happens with electoral authoritarians we've seen around the world is they go after the media, they accuse their political rivals of being criminals, they threaten to lock up their political rivals. These are warning signs that we've seen in other elected authoritarians coming to office (ph).

CAMEROTA: That you're seeing happen again.


LEVITSKY: Also, this is not the first time that a large number of Americans have supported a demagogue. It's just the -- Henry Ford had a lot of support back in the 1920s. George Wallace had a lot of support. McCarthy, for a while, had a lot of support.

CUOMO: Right.

LEVITSKY: This is the first time that one of these demagogues actually became the nominee of a major party.

CUOMO: Right. And also, look, I mean, if it is true that the Trump base says, well, we felt this way already, that doesn't make Trump not a demagogue. It actually could make him by definition a demagogue because a demagogue uses existing prejudices to advance their own cause.

But the check on it would be, he's not serious. He's not taken seriously. He doesn't have serious sway over a significant portion of the country. He's consistently seen as talking but not believing. Does that help democracy survive someone who says the things that he says?

LEVITSKY: It helps that he's pretty inept, that he's not very popular, that he's pretty weak. Were he more experienced, were he more serious, were he more popular, I think he'd be more dangerous.

But our experience, looking at other countries around the world suggest that most of these guys who talk in authoritarian talk during the campaign, who use a lot of bully and bluster, actually end up throwing punches as well. They end up -- they end up doing stuff. It's rarely just talk.

CAMEROTA: And you've been looking at this for years. So is there an apt comparison? Is there a historical time that you think that can be used as a comparison for what we're seeing right now?

ZIBLATT: Well, the U.S. is unique in that it's the oldest democracy in the world. And it's rare for old democracies to breakdown. Two exceptions, though, from Latin America. Chile was a very stable democracy throughout its history. In the 1970s, of course, it collapsed as a democracy. Uruguay as well. So there is -- there's a history of some countries with strong democratic norms breaking down. And this usually comes in the form of -- through polarization, a kind of spiraling conflict between the two sides. And so in that sense we see something very similar happening.

CUOMO: Proletariat revolt is essential though in those examples. And that would be an open question for us about whether or not what the president says mobilizes some type of civil, you know, action on his behalf. Do you see signs of that?

ZIBLATT: Well, you know, polarization has different roots in different countries. And in the United States we have a very dangerous level of polarization. It's not about, you know, the Cold War polarization that brought down Chile's regime. We have different sources of polarization in American politics today.

[08:55:04] But, you know, a recent Gallup poll in -- I think from 2017 showed that, you know, a significant portion of Republicans actually have a more favorable view of Vladimir Putin than Hillary Clinton, you know, and so this is a remarkable level of polarization. It's unprecedented in the 20th century and into the 21st century. And so this is a very -- this is a kind of -- a source of real concern.

LEVITSKY: Democrats and Republicans really despise one another to a degree that we've not seen in any of our lifetimes.

CAMEROTA: So what keeps you up at night? Having studied all of this for decades, as you both have, what are you looking for? What worries you when you see it?

ZIBLATT: Yes, you know, I think one major worry is the prospect of a crisis. Often electoral authoritarians who kind of incrementally chip away at a democracy in a moment of crisis can use that crisis to really take control of the system in a not very undemocratic way (ph).

CUOMO: You think there's a chance that Trump would reintroduce sedition laws? 1798, obviously, was that period in history. It made John Adams a one-term president in a lot of ways. Of course, he was up against Thomas Jefferson. The election of 1800 was a huge referendum on that. It does seem like we're in a similar time right now.

LEVITSKY: Look, there's every -- I don't know if we're in a similar time, but there's every indication that Trump would be willing -- he's never shown -- he's never shown an attachment to the kind of constitutional norms that would lead you to think, no, he would never do that.

So the key is whether the Republican Party would go along. And that's what we worry about. That's what keeps me up at night is normally we expect, OK, we elect a demagogue, but the Republican Party will check him, the Congress will check him. And it's not because Jeff Flake is alone and Jeff Flake is retiring. The Republicans in Congress, Republicans in the Senate are rolling

over, and it's not clear what they would do, for example, if Trump were to fire Mueller. It's not clear what they would do if he were to begin to trample on civil liberties.


LEVITSKY: And that's terrifying.

CAMEROTA: Professors, the book again is "How Democracies Die."

Thank you for sharing all of your studies with us.

ZIBLATT: Thanks for having us.

LEVITSKY: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Great to have you.

CNN "NEWSROOM" with Poppy Harlow and John Berman picks up after this break. We'll see you tomorrow.