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White House Urgent Scrambles to Avert Shutdown; Trying to Sway Senators Votes; President Trump: "Dems want a shutdown in order to help diminish the great success of the tax cuts;"GOP Senator Cornyn: No Deal. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired January 19, 2018 - 21:00   ET



[21:00:22] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: We are three hours from a government shutdown and one hour from an initial Senate vote on legislation to stop it. All day and night we've seen the arm twisting, the finger pointing, all the other political fancy dancing that most people have so little patience for. We've seen the Senate's leading Democrat go to the White House and the President stayed home instead of leaving for Mar-a-Lago. There's a lot to get to in the hour ahead, a lot we're learning, but a lot still in flux. I want to start off with our Phil Mattingly who is at the Capitol Hill where Senate Democrats are meeting right now. So this meeting has begun?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right, Anderson. Look, this is a very crucial moment. Obviously, we know where Senate Democrats have been on this issue in large part over the course of the last 24 hours. They've made very clear they have significant problems with how the Republicans have drafted this short- term bill. They have significant problems and significant deficits of trust in terms of how Republicans will deal with the DACA resolution if there is one even on the table at all. Does that mean they will eventually vote no against a short-term funding bill?

Up to this point, it has looked like, yes, throughout this day, Anderson, even when Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer went over to the White House, it looked very much like Senate Democrats, would stay unified and a shutdown was almost certainly going to happen.

Here is what's shifted over the course of the last 30 to 45 minutes. There have been a handful of Democrats, some of whom have already said they are welling to vote yes with Republicans on this bill would have been openly asking their members to reconsider, maybe consider other options, maybe potentially a shorter term C.R. would be an option here.

That is something that I'm told would be coming up in the closed door meeting that's going on right now. The big question is, Anderson, given the litany of problems the Democrats have laid out here, given the significants concerns particularly on the DACA issue that exists right now, is that any kind of resolution that Democrats are looking for is that a compromise? Is that a deal? All I can say right now is given the numbers issue right now, given the fact that the Senate vote will be in an hour, it's very clear that if something doesn't shift during this closed door meeting, the vote will fail, and the next steps are still very unclear.

Again, a large portion of the Democratic caucus has made very clear they are fed up with the process. They do not trust where Republicans are right now. The big question is are they willing to essentially join with a handful of Republicans and lead to, at this point, what looks like it will be a government shutdown? Or are they willing to step back from it? Right now, it's still an open question, Anderson.

COOPER: But Phil, if this vote fails at 10:00 o'clock, if the Republicans don't have the vote on this, is there time in the next two hours before midnight when officially the shutdown would begin for them to try to push through a, you know, a smaller C.R.?

MATTINGLY: The beauty of the U.S. Senate is when you want to do something quickly, you can. All you need is unanimous consent to actually move forward. Things can move fast in the Senate. I know it seems like it's not remotely possible. Thinks can move quickly if something is there. I think the big question right now is, is there anything there? Is all by shortening, say, the funding bill from four weeks to three weeks, does that do anything to address the very real concerns the Democrats have had up to this point?

And that's just a hypothetical at this point right now. If they need or want to move fast, if there is a potential deal on the table, they can move quickly. But right now, if that vote fails, they would, as you point out, Anderson, need to move very quickly.

Again, when you talk to Democrats that are involved in this process right now, a lot of them are pointing to the fact that there's not a lot of time. There's very little time, and things are almost certainly going to end up in a shutdown at midnight. But talks are still ongoing. Options are still being put on the table. Right now it's just a matter of where Democrats end up after that closed door meeting, Anderson.

COOPER: All right, Phil Mattingly. Phil, thanks.

I want to check in now with CNN's Jim Acosta who is at the White House. Jim, the President's teem working behind the scenes in negotiations today. Do they feel they've made any progress?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: At this point, not really, Anderson. I will say one of his top deputies, Mark Short, the head of Legislative Affairs over at the White House he's been up on Capitol Hill talking to senators. He just came out and spoke to reporters a few moments ago and said he still feels like there's a chance they could get a vote on this C.R. tonight. But as you heard from Phil Mattingly, it is becoming exceedingly unlikely that they're going to have the votes to get that House C.R. passed. And so then it becomes let's make a deal. Can they find some other alternative that is going to reach 60 votes? And it's just unclear at this point where whether they do that.

We should caution our viewers even though there's a clock at the bottom of the screen ticking down to midnight, you know, balloons are not going to fall from the sky, what have you, at midnight if this deal is not reached. They could go into the wee hours of the night and try to fashion together some sort of compromise or come back tomorrow.

In the view of this administration is that, nothing dramatic is going to happen. However, I should point out, Anderson, in the last several minutes, the White House has posted its own shutdown plan. This is interesting, Anderson, 1,056 members of the President's executive office staff would be furloughed in the event of a shutdown. That would leave only 659 employees here at the White House who would continue to work. And they, under federal law, are only allowed to come to work on Monday for four hours, and that is to basically plan for a shutdown, to sort of wrap things up and get out of dodge for a little while until this thing is resolved.

[21:05:21] And so they are making contingency plans over here, Anderson, for a government shutdown even though they're trying their -- they say they're trying their best at this point to avoid one. It just doesn't sound like there's a plan in sight.

COOPER: In the meeting with Chuck Schumer today with the President at the White House, which was at the President's request, do we know much about what was talked about in the meeting or what went on?

ACOSTA: Well, there appear to be indications that the President essentially said to Chuck Schumer, listen, we have a C.R. that passed the House. Can you get the number --

COOPER: Hey, Jim, I got interrupt you right now. Senator Lindsey Graham is speaking right now. I just want to play that.


LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SENATOR OF SOUTH CAROLINA: It's a bad day for the military according to General Mattis. I think the real world needs to deal with the 800,000 DACA recipients and the overwhelming need to rebuild our military and increase funding that's going to get us there within a month.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is first time that you're feeling optimistic? The first time today? First --

GRAHAM: No, this is the first time I've felt like, OK, enough is enough from everybody. The President is going to get -- Graham/Durbin is not going to be made law. It was a good proposal. I think it can be made better. We're going to get hopefully more things for the President, and there will be more relief coming on the other side. The idea of letting this continue to fester is unacceptable to most Americans, and I think now to the Congress as a whole.

March 5th is the drop-dead date for 800,000 people who voluntarily came out of the shadows and passed a criminal background check. I don't think anybody wants to ruin their lives. And if you don't understand how desperate the military needs help, then you're not listening to any of our commanders. So young men and women are on jungle mountain tops throughout the entire world right now fighting a vicious enemy, and we're letting them down. I think that's about to change.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're potentially short-term to P.R.


COOPER: Senator Lindsey Graham speaking right now. I want to go back to Jim Acosta at the White House tonight. Jim, you heard what Senator Graham was talking about, and we were just talking before about Chuck Schumer meeting earlier with the President earlier today.

ACOSTA: That's right, and Lindsey Graham speaking there is a perfect segue, Anderson, because apparently he was telling reporters and talking about this rather openly, that there may be some conversations around having a C.R. that is tied to the state of the union address, that they don't a four-week C.R. They don't do a four or five day C.R. They do something in the middle. That apparently is one of these alternatives that people are talking about at this point.

I think the question becomes, Anderson, when they get to 10:00 tonight and they fail to reach 60 votes, is there an appetite, is there a desire left for these senators to go back to the drawing board and say, OK, is there something that we can get to?

And as Phil Mattingly was saying earlier, and this may have been mar part of the conversation over at White House earlier today with Chuck Schumer, at that point do they say, OK, we didn't get what was passed out of the House. Let's try something else.

And Mark Short was indicating this earlier tonight when he was talking to reporters just in the last hour or so. He was saying -- well, you know, the question was asked of him, well, do you think you'll go for something else if you can't get this House C.R. passed? And he said, well, I don't want to negotiate -- we don't want to negotiate against ourselves at this point. That's an indication that they would still very much like to see a vote on that first House C.R. before they move on to something else, and that may be the next step, Anderson.

COOPER: Jim Acosta, no doubt we'll be checking you throughout this hour. Plenty to talk about as the vote approaches or doesn't as the case may be.

Joining us right now is Maggie Haberman, Rich Lowry, Bakari Sellers, Mike Shields, and CNN Presidential Historian Doug Brinkley.

Maggie, I understand you've been reporting about what's been playing out at the White House and how impromptu the meeting between the Schumer and the President was?

MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: The President made this phone call to Chuck Schumer as I understand it without giving any of his staff, or almost any of his staff a heads up that he was going to do it. People found out about it early mid-morning when what has become clear the executive time window that the President spends before he gets to the Oval Office is taking place.

And my understanding is not much happened out of the meeting. Schumer responded to the invitation. There were only four people in the room. You know, they kibitzed. They talked. It was described to me as "cordial" but not a whole a lot of substance came out of it. And I don't think that's a huge surprise. I think that the President is aware that he is going to take blame if there is a shutdown no matter how short it is. And it's hard to predict. I mean, in 2013 that shutdown happened under a Democratic President Republican Congress.

COOPER: And President Trump was critical of the presidential --

HABERMAN: And President Trump was --

COOPER: Then citizen Trump.

HABERMAN: Right. I mean, it's a little hard to sell yourself as the person who comes and is a great deal maker and have just sort of one after the other of these situations. I'm not sure how much voters are paying attention right now. I also don't know how long a shutdown will last if it happens. But the expectation from most people I talked with the White House is that there will be one.

COOPER: Rich, what are you expecting tonight?

[21:10:07] RICH LOWRY, EDITOR, NATIONAL REVIEW: Well, for most of the day, I though, you had Schumer talking about a five-day C.R. You had the House passed a four-week C.R. So there should be something there in the middle. Two weeks, three weeks, whatever it is. But that at least is not going to happen tonight, it seems pretty obvious. And there's been some erosion of red state Democrats who are saying they're going to vote for this C.R., but it's not a jail break. And you need a real jail break. Unless something comes through in this meeting that Phil was talking about, it seems like we'll at least going to have a technical shutdown this week.

COOPER: You don't think there will be a rush between the 10:00 hour and midnight to try to do something a three to five day thing?

LOWRY: Anything is possible.

COOPER: Right.

LOWRY: But, I doubt it. And I don't think Republicans want to go all the way to five days.

COOPER: You know, Bakari, I mean, some of the Republicans are saying, well, look, they want a five-day extension because they don't want to lose -- the Democrats don't want to lose what they perceive as momentum. They don't want to let -- I think what Dana said, the air out of the balloon.

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I don't think if has much to do with momentum as it has to do with real people. I mean, Democrats have an amazing opportunity right now to get some certainty when it comes to DREAMers in 24 country, 800,000 Americans who have a level of uncertainty before them because we do know that there's an expiration date, I believe it's March 6th when this issue has to be dealt with. And we also don't have any faith in the Republican Party. Why would you believe Donald Trump? Why would you believe anyone who told you if we put together a committee to deal with DREAMers. You bring forth something in a bipartisan passion. I will agree with. That is what you had with Durbin/Graham and then he pooh-poohed it away. He did with the window. So why would you have any faith in that process? The fact is, I really don't believe, although there are real lives in the balance. I do not believe that this has much effect when it comes to November elections. I mean, it's January. I mean Michael Wolff's book, that seemed like a year ago.


SELLERS: That was just last week, OK? OK, so --

LOWRY: Presidency in dog years has been like --

COOPER: When I realized it's only been a year I was like --

SELLERS: I thought it was up for reelection but --

COOPER: I had brown hair at the start of this.

SELLERS: So I don't think it's going to have much effect in November. That's why I hope Democrats show some border to. We have a propensity to wet the bed all the time, and I hope that Chuck Schumer and the Democratic Party, Democratic caucus have some fortitude and stand up for DREAMers now because they may not have another opportunity to.

COOPER: Right.

MIKE SHIELDS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, I mean, that's what I said before. This entire fight is within the Democratic Party. I mean, the Republican House passed this. You need 60 votes in the Senate. That's the math. If we're going to go to 50 votes in the Senate, that's fine with me. We'll pass the balance budget amendment. We'll get a bunch of things passed, but that's not the rules. So you have to have Democrats. And what's happening is the left wing of the Democrat Party is holding them hostage the same way that our right wing has in the past and we better shutdown in saying we want a fight on this.

I mean, I don't know -- I haven't seen a Democrat describe -- maybe Bakari can tell me, what's in the C.R. they don't like. They voted for everything that's in this bill they've actually voted for before, and there are -- yes, there are 900,000 lives with the DREAMers. There's 8 million children on the children health insurance program, and that deadline is tonight.

So they voted for this many times, and I haven't heard anyone say, well, we don't like the C.R. because of what's in it. They don't like what's not in it because that's a political fight within their own caucus.

SELLERS: That's not a political fight with in our caucus. And just to clarify the math here. The fact is they don't even have 50 votes for this bill in their own caucus. I think they have between 46 and 48. So to think that if the number would down to 50 they would going to passed something is not true. That's first. Second, it is about what's not in the bill. It is about DREAMers. And I'd love --

SHIELDS: There's nothing in the bill --

SELLERS: I love the fact that Republicans today want to take credit for chip. Republicans let chip expire. They can actually vote right now, minus the C.R., on chip today. They could have voted yesterday or the day before, or they could have -- and for anyone, any Republican to shift the blame when there has never been in modern history one party that's had the White House and both Houses of Congress and there's been a government shutdown, with all due respect --


COOPER: If only we had a Presidential historian here. Oh, we do, look.


COOPER: This would be the first time you have a President and the Congress all in one party and there be a shutdown.

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Yes, it would be the first time. And you know, we had a shutdown in 1995 and '96 and 2013 in the last 25 years. But most Americans don't really remember them. And they remember there was a shutdown. They get the years mixed up. We had on CNN a clip of Jimmy Carter's shutdown. How many Americans really are focused on Jimmy Carter's shutdown?

LOWRY: Another Jimmy Carter failure, that shutdown.

BRINKLEY: No, but I think what's going on here is kind of what everybody is saying. I think there's a difference between a short- term shutdown and a long-term. Short term, if something's figure the out before the stock market kicks in on Monday, the Democrats will look good. They're standing up for the DREAMers, and they were able to uphold the President's feet to the fire. But if it drags on for weeks, it will be Donald Trump's melt down. It will be that he couldn't run the government.

[21:15:00] The deal maker couldn't make a deal and what's sticking in everybody's craw is Haiti, Africa, you know, the language, the S-hole moment, which is big in American history, on the racism that surrounded all of that. It gives the Democrats, I think, right now a chance to say, I'm with the DREAMers. The Republicans are for deporting 800,000 people.

COOPER: We got to take a quick break. We'll come back to this.

Coming up next, another late development, one leading Republican revel just said about the possibility of a deal. Also, Donald Trump on government shutdowns and who's to blame, then in the past, what he said in the past and what he's saying now. And later, how the reporting came to be on a story featuring candidate Trump, a porn star, parent shell companies in Delaware and allegedly a payoff following the money and the heat ahead on 360.


COOPER: A moment ago you heard Lindsey Graham sound optimistic about reaching some sort of a deal on funding the government and more including immigration. He also sounded utterly exhausted not hard to see why. Sunlen Serfaty, who just spoken with another GOP, Senator Jeff Flake. She joins us. What's he telling you, Sunlen?

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There are some confidence from both Senator Flake and Senator Graham, both of whom I spoke with just moments ago. Senator Flake saying that there are ideas up here on Capitol Hill percolating that give him confidence that a shutdown can be avoided. Of course the who, what, when, where, why of this so important. The details of these plans as they potentially change, as they still push toward a 10:00 p.m. vote tonight, those would be important to hammer out. He would not give us anymore details about what exactly is percolating.

[21:20:05] Moments after that, I spoke with Senator Lindsey Graham, who indicated that, yes, he would be onboard for a potential three- week continuing resolution. Now, that's important because as we know the plan on the table, the plan that the House passes a four weeks C.R. previous to this, Senator Graham was not onboard with any sort of short-term four week C.R. So he is indicating that he has some wiggle room here. That's something that he would and could get behind. The question is would he be able to bring others? Is this actually a legitimate on the table? And I asked him as he walked away, have you talked to the White House about this? What do they think because just a few hours ago, the White House Legislative Director Mark Short was very firm saying they would only agree to a four-week continuing resolution while Lindsey Graham kind of smiled and he said, stay tuned.

So clearly these ideas of Jeff Flake's are percolating up here on Capitol Hill, and we know that Senator Lindsey Graham headed straight from where he talked to us right here to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's office where he is right now. Anderson.

COOPER: All right, Sunlen, thanks for check back in with you. We've got 40 minutes away from this first vote, the first vote.

Back now with the panel, we also have Gloria Borger and Dana Bash standing by with us as well.

Maggie, is there any reason to believe that the President or anybody in the White House has any regrets about this past week in White House history? You know, the President's comments that do they take -- is there any belief there or acknowledgment that may have had something to do with what's happen something.

HABERMAN: Well, there's a massive distinction between the President and the White House, right? I mean, you have to put the President to a different category. He was thrilled with the response among his base, which he said repeatedly to friends, to guests to Mar-a-Lago over the ensuing days, and it put him squarely back in the news, which for whatever reason he still has a tremendous need for. And he was very pleased with it. His staff was not. Most of his staff, not all, but most of his staff recognized that this was enormously problematic. A bunch of people felt incredibly demoralized and they realized it made it very hard for senators whose help he needs to go along with him, to see him as a leader of the party, to be nudged in a certain direction. It was incredibly counterproductive. I mean the number of banana peels that Donald Trump kind of puts on the ground and steps on and then falls over is large.

COOPER: I just got to go back on something you said. A year after he's been President, he's still gets word if he's not in the news?

HABERMAN: He has a constant need, and Glenn Thrush and Peter Baker and I wrote about this last two months ago, in a story about his first year in the White House and his days. And his senior adviser said to us if he goes a few days without seeing him sort of dominating coverage, he does something to make sure that he does. Now, I don't actually think that he was planning to have this get out the way it ways. I think that he was careless. I think he is not guarded about what he says. He didn't think about his -- hardly, the first president to say something of that nature in the Oval Office, but it is the first time that we've had leak out this way and it's probably the first person who said it in front of a political opponent and critic in Dick Durbin.

LOWRY: This is one of the unusual things about this President is he views his presidency in part as a gigantic TV show where he is the producer and the viewer because if nothing is going on, he'll stir the pot and then he'll see everyone's heads blow up and he'll enjoy watching it -- enjoy hate-watching it.

And it's definitely true that those comments have emboldened Democrats. We wouldn't be where we are tonight without those comments. I do, though, think this is a big risk for Chuck Schumer.

You know, you have the tide is running in your direction clearly for the midterms. Why risk disturbing that when actually your caucus is, if you look at it, objectively forcing a shutdown of the government? And codifying DACA is definitely very popular. Shutting down the government to try to force the codification of DACA, as a CNN poll showed today, is not necessarily very popular. And people are almost always irritated by shutdowns, and you know, starting tonight if nothing gets done, the blame game will begin.

SHIELDS: To piggyback on that comment, I mean look, as a Republican campaign operative, I don't want the government to shutdown, but I actually like they we're having a policy fight because these are policy fights that we win. We're talking about taxes, if we're talking about immigration, in fact, in these Senate states, we're not talking about tweets and we're not talking about a book and we're not talking about those sorts of things. This is the zone. What Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer will bring to Congress is exactly what Republicans want to talk about for the next 11 months. And so Democrats are walking right into a punch here that a lot of Republican operatives today were telling me, and I agree with them, this is exactly the kind of fight that we want to have with them.

SELLERS: We don't mind this fight. And I think that part of the reason is because of the simple fact that this is going to sound really strange, but sometimes there are things that actually matter. And I think that in 2013, you were having a debate that was led by Ted Cruz. Ted Cruz was withholding votes, his little bastion of right wing militants. They were withholding votes because they wanted to defund Obamacare, right? That's why we were here.

[21:24:58] Right now we're actually having a debate over an issue that the majority of the country agrees with. DACA is a popular issue. This isn't something in which there is a divided spectrum in the United States. People agree with this. And, look, if we lose a seat or we don't regain the majority because of the simple fact that 800,000 people now have citizenship, I mean that's probably not something we want to talk about.


SELLERS: And just one more briefly point to Maggie's point as well, this also shows the impact that one man in the White House has. Stephen Miller. We can talk about all the people that are in the White House. We would not be here but for Stephen Miller. I believe that Stephen Miller and many people believe that Stephen Miller is the reason that the President backed away from that immigration decision.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN'S CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: John Kelly has much more influential than I think people want to acknowledge --


COOPER: Dana, do you wanted to get in or Gloria?

BASH: No, I just -- I'm sorry. I didn't mean to interrupt you. I was just part of the Maggie Haberman me too chorus. I mean, I totally agree with her on John Kelly. I too have heard that, in fact, that Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill, when they heard John Kelly was going to kind of be the point man for the immigration talks, that they were excited and very quickly realized that he is maybe not that far -- at least they decided listening to him, not that far from Stephen Miller on a lot of these issues. So I agree.

The other thing I wanted to just quickly say about what Rich was talking about and Mike, about the question about whether Democrats are going abridge too far or whether they're doing what their base wants them to do, which is resist and stand up for what they believe in I think it's really an open question. If you just look at our new poll out tonight, just among Democrats, Anderson, the question was asked, what is more important? Shutting down the government or keeping these DREAMers, you know, in this country? And just among Democrats, it was pretty much split. And that tells you that it's a bit more risky than maybe Democrats realize to do what they're doing right now.

BORGER: You know, I do think, though, that in a way, maybe Chuck Schumer's calculation right now is that the risk is worth taking because Congress has become a crisis-activated institution. It doesn't legislate any other way anymore. I mean, it just -- there has to be some kind of a deadline, has to be some kind of a crisis. And I was listening to Lindsey Graham earlier, I'm no sports fan, but he said, I think we're inside the 10 yard line on immigration. And to me --

BASH: That's football, Gloria.

BORGER: I know. I've heard. And to me, that means pretty close. And if Lindsey Graham is saying that and he's talking to other Republicans about it -- now, you know, I know it hasn't always worked out for Lindsey Graham in the past. And if he's willing to say, OK, I'll go three weeks for us to get this done, and if there is some trust because of this crisis, and the President doesn't want to shut down the government on February 8th, then maybe they can get something done. I mean, far be it from me to be a Pollyanna here, but this is the way they have to legislate now. It's the only way.

COOPER: Yes. Doug Brinkley, and then we've got to take a break.

BRINKLEY: Well, I think the idea that people are going to market this as the Schumer shutdown. People don't even know who Chuck Schumer is around the United States. If you do those man on the street questions and show the picture of Schumer -- they know who Donald Trump is. And if this drags on for week after week, the stock market could start tumbling, and Trump's big calling card is, I made the stock market great. Now, government's not running. Everything is broken.

SELLERS: -- today. And the market was fine.

BRINKLEY: Today. But that's one day. Who knows if it goes up for two weeks?

COOPER: We'll going to continue this conversation just a moment. I got to get a break in. We're a little over half an hour until a Senate vote, a key step to avert a government shutdown. Urgent negotiations under way right now. Stay with us.


[21:31:54] COOPER: We touched on the question of blame before the break, and we should gently underscore it's not a game. It's a question of accountability. The President just tweeted, saying, "Not looking good for our military or safety and security on the very dangerous southern border. Demes want a shutdown in order to help diminish the great success of the tax cuts and what they are doing a booming economy."

Back now with the panel. Mike.

SHIELDS: Something smart that Gloria was talking about, which is sort of what Chuck Schumer's analysis of how far he has to go on this, but that's supposing he has a choice in the matter. And so speaking as a Republican that has lived through -- with Speaker Boehner and Speaker Ryan and Majority Leader McConnell, they don't have a choice sometimes. When their base is pulling them in a direction, and that's one of the underlying really big stories of what we're watching right now. The Democratic left wing of their base is rising up and demanding that they do things to fight. And a source said in the newspaper today, we're worried about dousing that. So we've got to have this fight and shut the government down because we don't want to lose that momentum. And so Chuck Schumer sort of may not be in control of this as much as he may think.

COOPER: Maggie.

HABERMAN: I think Schumer generally, at least Democrats think he does a decent job of keeping his caucus together. But I do think that there was a tactical error that Schumer and Pelosi made when they announced that there was a DACA deal. I understand that they were months ago, I understand they trying to pin the President in. And the President had done the thing he does where he tells different people what they want to hear at a dinner at the White House about DACA. But there wasn't a DACA deal. And what has ended up happening is you have had people who want a DACA deal and people who are impacted by DACA get very angry and a feeling that this actually wasn't being treated like a priority.

So anger has grown at Schumer greatly over the last couple of weeks. I think that he has been caught off guard by it, and so he is a bit boxed in right now.

COOPER: Dana, I can't remember if it was you or it's Gloria in the last hour was talking about Chuck Schumer perhaps wanting a three to five-day extension because of concern over --

BASH: I think both of us.

COOPER: Yes, concern over kind of air coming out of the bloom. Can you just explain that?

BASH: So what the Democrats are pushing for -- and I have to say, just this will help answer your question. I just was communicating with a Democratic senator who helped to frame it the following way. First of all, this person said that he really sees this as going down to a shutdown in just a few hours. But the framing is as follows. That Democrats just want to do a three to four -- a few-day C.R. because they want to keep the momentum going to have the talks about the substantive issues we've all been talking about. They don't want to take the foot off the gas.

On the Republican side, you heard Lindsey Graham apparently now is speaking for a lot of other Republicans, saying let's do a three to four-week C.R. or, you know, funding bill in order to give more time for those substantive issues. And that is at this snapshot in time where the two parties are right now, scrambling behind many, many closed doors on Capitol Hill. And it's unclear if they do even get maybe halfway in between there, maybe not before midnight, but maybe in the wee hours tomorrow morning.

BORGER: But, Anderson, I think the other issue is and why Chuck Schumer wants to do this in a short amount of time is that he doesn't want to lose any of those red state Democrats.

COOPER: Right.

[21:35:10] BORGER: You know, right now he's got three of them saying they're not with him. And he can't afford to lose that many. And so they could peel off if they -- if there are three weeks, they go back home and they get a lot of pressure in their states or from their opponents, who say, you know, you're responsible for shutting the government, you know, down, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. He could lose those Democrats and then Mitch McConnell would be back --

LOWRY: One follow-up on that meeting that Maggie mentioned. My understanding is Trump shortly after that meeting in the report said he was going to work with Chuck and Nancy on a DACA deal, he went to a Senate Republican lunch and said that was the first time I felt my base shaking a little bit underneath me. So I don't know how this whole shutdown is going to turn out. One thing I'm confident of, he will not be cornered into what he considers a surrender on DACA.

SELLERS: Look, I love this beat up on the Democrats, maybe they don't have a message, they're fighting and they don't know what they're doing because in November they're going to lose all their enthusiasm. That simply isn't the case. The fact is we have a President who was elected and sworn in on 1/20/17. On 1/20/18, the federal government shuts down. One year, your deal maker you can't get a deal done. The fact is you control the House and the Senate and the White House, and you cannot get a deal done.

So Democrats if we want to just whisper in the wind and say all of a sudden November elections for red state Democrats are going to be decided in January, that's not the case either. We have an amazing opportunity right now for 800,000 Americans to come out of the shadows and get some certainty because who are we going to believe in?

COOPER: So Mike, I mean to Bakari's point, you know, when Donald Trump was a developer, I think it was back in 2013, he was very critical of President Obama for the shutdown. He said it's a shutdown is the President's fault. You got to get people in the room, you got to make a deal. That's what I do. In fact, let's just play the sound of what he said.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The stock market is at an all-time high. Our stock market --


COOPER: That's obviously not the correct thing.

SHIELDS: He used to lie there.


BASH: Play it again.

COOPER: I'm sorry. I'm told we have it again. Let's take a look.


TRUMP: And the President in all fairness, he is the leader. He is the one that has to get everybody in a room and get it done. They're not going to be talking about Boehner and Reid and all. They're going to be talking about President Obama and what a disaster the administration was. So he does have a lot of pressure to get this problem solved. He's got a big problem.



SHIELDS: Look, I mean if we play tapes of what people have said about shutdowns, you should see what Chuck Schumer said about, how dare we shut the government down over what these Republicans are talking about.

COOPER: Do you have any concern he starts to take blame in people's eyes?

SHIELDS: Look, we were just talking about this a little bit. I mean, the longest shutdown in history is 17 days. So if you get to that point, sure. Are we going to get to that point? No, we're not. And so eventually by the way, he could get some credit if we finally get a deal done, if you're going to hold him to that account. And he is going to -- and I do believe he will eventually get an immigration deal. There will be a DACA deal of some kind. So all of this is pointing to him, but the real fight is amongst the Democrats and their base. That's where this fight is, and Republicans are wise to kind of sit back a little bit and watch them fight this out.

SELLERS: That's not a fight. That is fiction. I need to report to the American public that's not a fight.

SHIELDS: Tell that to Joe Donnelly. Tell that to Joe Manchin, tell that to the people and the Democrats who are coming over to vote for this because they're worried about.

SELLERS: You can say the same thing about the open seats you have in Arizona. You can say the same thing about Nevada, but we're not even talking about that. We are literally talking about immigration right now and the fact that the Republican Party -- they don't have any credit with the American people. They don't have --

SHIELDS: Bakari, what's in the C.R. you disagree with?

SELLERS: There is nothing in the C.R. I disagree with. What I do disagree with is what's not in the C.R.


SELLERS: You can ask what's in the bill you disagree with.

COOPER: OK. SELLERS: What do you disagree with government plan?

COOPER: Doug, I want to hear from you, and then we'll take a break.

BRINKLEY: I think the problem that President Trump has is when he called it a bill of love and it seemed like he was going to get this done. And then suddenly he abandoned that because Ann Coulter was mean to him and Sean Hannity was mean to him.

COOPER: It did seem like he didn't know the detail. I mean, he was agreeing with Senator Feinstein and then --

BRINKLEY: He realizes don't break with the alt-right movement on immigration.

COOPER: We'll talk more about this right after break.

We got new word on a potential way out of this, a possible compromise. That's next.


[21:42:04] COOPER: There's more breaking news right now in the effort to head off a government shutdown on the Democratic meeting as well as a compromise emerging. Phil Mattingly has the new reporting. Phil, what do you learned?

MATTINGLY: Well, Anderson, just a short while ago we received a statement from Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican, obviously a key player in the immigration efforts, the DACA resolution efforts. He was going to be a no on the short term funding bill that the House passed and sent over. Senator Graham sent out a statement that said what he would support would be a three-week continuing resolution, keeping the government open, funding the government for three weeks.

What I'm told right now is that is being considered a live option on the Republican side of things. Now, it doesn't seem like much, just reducing it by one week. But it is an opportunity if Democrats are willing to take it, at least according to Republican sources I'm talking to, that they would be willing to consider.

Here's the issue, and I think this is an important one at that. Democrats have, as we've discussed throughout this night, Anderson, raised a litany of concerns about the process, about the DACA issue, about the trust issues they have with the White House. The idea that they would back off where they've currently walked themselves into at this point because of a one-week reduction in the C.R., right now I'm told from Democratic sources, people are skeptical.

But here's the issue. Republicans don't need all 49 Democrats here. They need what I'm told, they think about 12 or 13 at this point. They already have a handful. We talked about them earlier. Those red state Democrats, already three our four are out publicly saying they would be yes on the four-week C.R. Potentially, the assumption is they would all be there on a three-week C.R. as well. You add a few more to that who haven't necessarily decided publicly yet and you start getting into the territory.

The big question right now, and we just a short while ago, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer walked out of that Democratic meeting that you were talking about. The meeting is still ongoing right now. The big question now is, are they looking for some kind of way out basically? Do they want some time of resolution? If they do, what Senator Graham has put on the table is something that would be amenable to Republicans. At least I'm told at this point.

The big question, though, Anderson is given the stakes here, given the fact the Democrats have made very clear that they want to fight on this issue, given the fact the Democrats don't trust the White House or Republicans on any type of longer term agreement on DACA right now, is that enough?

Right now Democrats are telling me they're very skeptical, but, Anderson, it is something on the table. It is some type of movement, something we've waited all day for. The big question is will it even matter now that we're under an hour until that procedural vote?

COOPER: Yes. Phil Mattingly, 15 minutes or so away, thanks very much. Whatever else happens we are still expecting a vote tonight. And to expand on what Doug Brinkley said before the break, this item is not included in a deal.


TRUMP: This should be a bipartisan bill. This should be a bill of love. Truly it should be a bill of love.


COOPER: You think back to during those debates. I think it was candidate Trump who was deriding Jeb Bush for talking about this being an act of love.

HABERMAN: The President has been all over the place on those comments. I know that he may have said that was the first time that he had felt his base shifting. That's not true. And so, I mean he has vaulted back and forth between very strong on the wall to -- well, the wall partly exists already, and you can see through some of it. He got very upset as we know that John Kelly, you know, spoke about him as evolving and perhaps not being fully informed on the wall in an interview with Fox News and to Congress members on Capitol Hill.

[21:45:26] And the President doesn't like that, but he has not been consistent at all. And he has repeatedly indicated to people privately on his staff that he is concerned about what happens to DACA recipients, that he really does want to get out of this situation that he is in. They are not only guaranteeing possibly not a deal on DACA, but at the rate they're going, you heard Lindsey Graham say before that March 5th is the cutoff date in terms of people losing status and beginning deportations. They're running out of time to have anything in effect so that there isn't mass confusion even if they do reach a deal. And I think that's a big problem for him as well. BASH: You know, Anderson, even if they get a DACA -- say they were to get a DACA deal because the President does care about it. He's said that publicly many times. 90 percent of the American public agrees on some kind of a DACA deal. I think what Lindsey Graham is talking about and what the President was talking about at the session that you just showed was a more comprehensive immigration reform.

And, you know, the question is now whether they can ever get there because the President is being tugged by people like Stephen Miller in the White House, perhaps people like Chief of Staff Kelly, who don't like what Lindsey Graham and Dick Durbin are talking about and ambushed them at another meeting at the White House if you'll recall. So what the Democrats want is some assurance that they're going to get beyond DACA in a way. And I don't know that they can get that from the White House or even other Republicans at this point.

SHIELDS: Or the President does want to get a deal on DACA. Keep in mind the reason this happened was because President Obama did something that was unconstitutional, and the Trump administration was not going to defend something they didn't believe was constitutional. So he had to be put in this position. But he said, I want to fix it. He said that many, many times. Now they've laid out the pillars of what they want. We can have a DACA deal if we'll also do border security. As long as we get rid of chain migration or have some kind of deal on that. He as the great negotiator we're talking about, he has put a deal out there and is trying to work on it, right? That's what the President's position is.

SELLERS: They blame Barack Obama. The irony that, Barack Obama did an executive order to protect 8,000 --

SHIELDS: That's was unconstitutional.

SELLERS: So let's blame him because we ended DACA on our term. I think another thing that we're looking at and Democrats are looking at and in fact, Chuck Schumer's calculation into this is that the attention span of the American public is not very long, especially when you have things coming out of the White House -- I mean we're consuming news like we're drinking out of a fire hose. I mean, people talk about this will be an albatross on Democrats -- around Democrat's neck if we shut down government because we want to protect DACA.

I mean, if was just a few weeks ago or months ago, we were talking about bump stocks because of a mass shooter in Las Vegas. So don't even remember that debate. And you know what happen? Republicans did absolutely nothing. It's going to review right now.

And so we move so rapidly through these news cycles that what happens over the next 24 hours to two weeks, will it have an effect November? I highly doubt in will. But if we're able to get a deal on DACA today or before March 6th, how will that have an effect? Positively on election. I think that goes into the calculation.

LOWRY: Going back to this meeting last week, where he's saying, we want a bill of love and I'll sign anything, it's clear he was just playing to the room. And as soon as he got back to the White House people were going to pull him back. And this is why you see -- and this is a big dynamic of what goes on in the White House. I need to tell but this is why we see a lot of people on the other side of immigration debate working the ref in the form of Donald Trump.

COOPER: Correct.

LOWRY: Stephen Miller is this nasty guy. Don't listen to him. Don't -- Schumer is saying, don't have Tom Cotton in with the meetings because they figure if they can just get him alone, he'll come along --

COOPER: But is he playing to the room, or does he just not understand actually what the --


LOWRY: It's both.

COOPER: Because what was so fascinating to me about that meeting is, you know, Dianne Feinstein is sitting cross from him.

HABERMAN: That's right.

COOPER: He got Congressman McCarthy next to him he is playing to Diane Feinstein and then McCarthy --

HABERMAN: But then he turns around.

COOPER: Right. And McCarthy -- No, wait, I think you mean this -- you're right and then he goes back to the Democrats.

HABERMAN: One thing that has driven Stephen Miller crazy is that Trump frequently uses the phrase comprehensive immigration plan, and he doesn't know what that means historically. So, for instance when he was Aboard Air Force One in July on his way to France for Bastille Day and I asked him a question about DACA, and he said what I'd really like to do is get a comprehensive immigration plan. And there was a whole debate about what would become public from that exchange. The White House when they put out excerpts did not include that, and I was told later it was because Stephen Miller did not want it included because he doesn't want Trump saying that phrase.

COOPER: And he said that --

HABERMAN: Trump says it all the time.

COOPER: Right.

HABERMAN: Correct, but without understanding the connotation of it. I mean, he thinks it just means, you know, something substantial.

[21:50:06] COOPER: A deal.

HABERMAN: He doesn't know what it means about the pathway to citizenship. And all sort of this.

COOPER: Right.

BRINKLEY: It's the one year anniversary, right? Of Trump. That's the news story before the shutdown. And, you know, CNN has reign of chaos, Donald Trump's first year, anybody now looking at how are we one year later, when the government shut down, when all that media is on one year of Donald Trump doesn't look good for the President because it shows he's not a deal maker. If he can't make a deal to keep the government running, when you have Republicans running the Senate and Congress what kind of deal maker, so it's working against Donald Trump right now.

COOPER: Dana? And then we got to take a break.

BASH: David's right, I think that's true where we are right now, but all the talk about the Democrats and about what they're going to ask for, and Republicans on Capitol Hill, it is all frankly moot until we really hear whether the President is willing to give Republicans particularly in the House political cover if he goes anywhere near what many, many people in the Republican base that he really cherishes considers amnesty, that was part of the problem with the meeting last week, that he got a lot of push back, he got a lot of anger, I heard a lot of anger from the Republican based but still I talked to a House Republican tonight who's very involved in the 2018 elections, who said, that is the key question. How much political cover can the President give us, because he's the only one who can do it.

COOPER: I think both Dana and I have turned Douglas Brinkley into David Brinkley.

BASH: I'm sorry.

COOPER: I just notice that. I'm aware of that, I apologize for that. Our conversation continues --

BASH: We both know Doug, sorry, Doug.

COOPER: -- our conversation continues in a moment with David Brinkley and others. The first vote in the Senate to avoid a government shutdown now, minutes away, details on that.


COOPER: Less than 10 minute from a possible vote in the Senate we got more evidence on how it might go a powerful voice, Republican Senator John Cornyn of Texas just now weighing in, I will show that, actually saying no deal. Back to the panel.

HABERMAN: Oh, that's pretty definitive, right? Where the votes begins. I mean, look, the White House had been pretty clear a few hours ago. They felt pretty pessimistic that anything was going to get done. It certainly does not look that look at that way. And so what will now be the question is whether anything can be salvaged I think into the weekend whether they can get something quickly done. The question will be, how long this shutdown lasts?

COOPER: Mike, basically how does this work? OK, so assuming this vote happens at 10:00, there's no deal, what then in terms of trying to get a deal?

SHIELDS: One other piece of news that Jonathan Martin, Maggie's colleague at the New York Times has reported, Doug Jones of Alabama is now a yes.


SHIELDS: So you now have four red state Democrats come over. That's going to keep happening, right? Because that is where the fight is and that's why reject the idea that this is all -- normally everything is Trump and we get that, this is one instance where Republicans of the House have passed this, there are Republicans in the Senate -- there's enough Democrats and you can't get to 60 votes because of the Democrats, I think that the blame game is something the Republicans are winning right now.

[21:55:15] COOPER: I want to go to our Phil Mattingly who's on Capitol Hill, so what are you hearing?

MATTINGLY: All right, I just walk-through what happened, what we just talked about 10 minutes ago that this three week option was on the table. It was considered a live option by Republican leaders and in fact, it was run by Democrats in the closed door meeting. The result of that meeting, well, you're looking at it on the screen right now/

Senate Republican Whip, second rank Republican in the U.S. Senate coming out, John Cornyn and saying, flat out, no deal, Mark Short, the legislative director of the White House saying very clearly, we think we need 13 or 14 Democrats, and at this moment we don't have them. That is a result of the Democratic meeting that is going on right now behind closed doors, that is a recognition that meeting that Senator Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader walked out of for a period of time and walked back into. It's a recognition that the one floated option, the only thing we've seen that actually changed the dynamic the entire day, however small it was, simply wasn't enough.

And, Anderson, I think it underscores the point right now that Democrats aren't looking for a reduction in time in the continuing resolution. They are looking for substantive policy commitments, changes or actual legislative text before they are willing to come on board with that, what this means is we are now three, four minutes away from this vote on the Senate floor, that vote is going to fail, what happens next, that's anybody's guess. Anderson.

COOPER: Just in terms of -- I'm not talking about the shutdown happening next, but just in terms of the political maneuvering on this, what is the next step for them?

MATTINGLY: Look, I actually think Mike makes a really good point about -- in terms of the calculations that are going on right now. Look, there's a recognition inside the Republican conference right now. Republican aids I've been talking to throughout the day, they're very comfortable with where they are. There's a reason why Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, except for his floor remarks this morning hasn't been seen all day. They know their position. They're not moving off that position. They've maintained that position and that is the bill that's going to be on the floor here in a couple minutes.

Democrats have made clear that politically they believe like this is the moment. Issue wise (ph), they believe that this is the moment to have the fight. Whether it's because of an extreme lack of trust with the Republicans, with the White House, particularly on the DACA issue, whether it's this frustration with the overall process in general, or whether or not it's the base making very clear to them that they want a fight on this issue, they have made the calculation at least as of now, a couple minutes before a vote that's certain to fail, that they are willing to take it not just to the brink, but over it, Anderson.

So I think the real question now, and this is what's going to be -- if everything happens the way it looks like it's going to over the course of the next couple of hours is, how is this going to play out over the next couple days?

One thing to keep in mind when it comes to shutdown politics, the way these things usually end is not because there's some big policy shift. The way these things end is because one side ends up getting bludgeoned in public opinion, that's what everyone's going to keep a close eye on. Both sides right now apparently are comfortable with where they are, how that shifts over the days ahead, if that's how long this takes, that's going to determine when this ends, Anderson.


SHIELDS: And I think what's important, when you're talking about base politics, they don't care what the parties indicate. We saw that with our base. When we shut the government down, we got saved by failing after we had -- if you look at the generic ballot, after the government shutdown in 15, we were saved because a week later was a disaster. But the base of the party doesn't care what the overall image of the whole party or how bulge or getting infect, they like that because that means if they think that they're proving their point, it's the left wing of the Democratic Party is going to keep pushing this as far as they possibly can.

SELLERS: This is -- one of the things that Phil just pointed out is they need 13 or 14 Democrats, and regardless of the math that Mike or any Republican wants to do, what did that tell you? They don't have all the Republicans on board. So you can't say that you have a unified caucus and this is what American wants.

Look, the fact is, Democrats know what we're fighting for, our message is very clear, and we never have a clear message. I'm telling you that as a Democrat. Our message is clear, we are fight for DACA, we are fighting for DREAMers, we are fighting for Americans, period.

LOWRY: The problem the Democrats are going to have is just there's a bill to keep the government open. And they oppose it. You had a Republican House vote handily to keep the government open. You had the Republican President helping in that effect, you have Republican president supports this bill that is in the Senate now that just has to be voted on to keep the government open. So we'll have a weekend here, we have a grace period, and maybe they can work out something new on the deadline, otherwise you get into Monday, and then it begins to feel more real and we have the big public relations battle and the polls become really important. And whoever is losing in the polls will probably over time battle.

SHIELDS: And where is Jimmy Kimmel on this? Because he cares about the children's health insurance program, he's going on television talking about it. This was brought up as a clean bill in November. It's been brought up four times now in this bill. The deadline is today, and if they vote no. If this is --

SELLERS: The Democrats win, trust me.

COOPER: All right, I want to thank everybody on the panel. The Senate vote expected just seconds from now, I want to hand things over to Don Lemon and CNN Tonight.