Return to Transcripts main page


House Away from Shutdown; Fusion GPS Testimony; California Couple Charged; Stocks Flat Amid Looming Shutdown; Trump's First Year. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired January 19, 2018 - 09:30   ET


[09:30:00] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: A Democrat who sits on the Judiciary and the Intel Committee. Nice to have you here. Thank you very much. So, look --


HARLOW: Good morning. You voted against the continuing resolution yesterday. You want to see, among other things, a deal for dreamers, a DACA deal. Here's what the polling tells us, though, about how Americans feel right now. A new CBS poll out this week, is it worth risking a government shutdown it was asked to these American voters over DACA? Forty-six percent said yes, 48 percent said no. So they're not all in line with you. It's very split down the middle.

As you know, the Republican argument against you guys on this is, oh, you're willing to fight to protect these 800,000 dreamers at the cost of CHIP, Children's Health Insurance for 9 million kids in this country, and at the cost of more funding and stable funding for our military. Is there risk here for your party?

SWALWELL: Well, first, Poppy, I'd say it's not the false choice of dreamers versus keeping the government open. There's a host of issues with this partisan budget that Republicans put together, whether it's the increase in defense spending, spending more on defense than we would spend on education or the environment or building roads to keep people out of traffic at home. That's one problem.

But also, as an Intelligence Committee member, this is the first time -- first continuing resolution I've ever seen us take away the authority to control intelligence activities in the United States and allows the administration to spend without any oversight. That was snuck in there this week. I don't trust this administration when it comes to that considering what I see every day.

But, you're right, the Dream Act is a part of it. And when I look at a young man in my district, recently at Cal State Hayward, who's a dreamer and on his way to becoming a police officer in our community, and then for him to go through the anxiety of not knowing whether he can stay here, yes, we owe him some certainty. So we should do be things rather than working incrementally and living two to three weeks at a time. That's no way to run a government and that's no way for people who work for the federal government to live. JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: So this is now in the Senate, congressman,

and senators will get to vote on this, Democratic senators, including some Democratic senators in tough states for re-election. What's your message to them, to these Democrats? And what would you think about a Democrat who does vote for this continuing resolution?

SWALWELL: Well, it's certainly a personal decision to reflect, you know, what you believe is best for your constituents.

But, John, I will also say, you know, a shutdown does not have to happen. You know, the Republicans control the White House, the Senate and the House. They took a shot at their budget. They couldn't even get their own members fully on board. So that means you should go and now just negotiate with the Democrats.

So we're ready and I don't think we should just assume a shutdown's coming. We're ready to negotiate. And if you don't have all your members on board, and now it's time to walk across the aisle and find Democrats. So, I'm ready. I'm not saying I'm going to vote no if we have another vote today.

HARLOW: You're not -- you're saying you're not going to vote -- what has to change for you not --

SWALWELL: No, I'm saying that I'm not -- I'm not going to vote no across the board. If they put something that's negotiated forward, I'm open to pass it.


Let me ask you about this because Glenn Simpson testified for a long time in front of your committee, the House Intel Committee, a while ago. And he, of course, is the founder of Fusion GPS that commissioned this dossier by Christopher Steele on the president and Russia ties. So it's all out there now and it raises questions. Questions about potential money laundering between, you know, potentially Trump associates, et cetera, and the Russians. No answers, though. No clear answers to that. And we're wondering, have you seen, in your position on the House Intel Committee, any direct evidence of that? Any direct evidence of money laundering involving anyone in the Trump orbit?

SWALWELL: What I've seen is a lot of evidence, Poppy, of money laundering, but it can't be tested or compared without subpoena power and third party validation. So as you're -- as you said, as Glenn Simpson testified about leads he had about money laundering, one of my favorite parts of my committee, I think it shows all the flaws that this committee has had by the way the Republicans have been leading it, is, at one point a Republican asked Glenn Simpson, well, how would we find out what has been alleged on money laundering? And Simpson curiously looked at the Republican and said, well, you would have to subpoena that. And the Republican was acting as if they don't have subpoena power. We do have subpoena power.


SWALWELL: The problem is, they're not willing to use it. So you subpoena bank records, you subpoena travel records, you subpoena telecommunication records, text message logs. We can find out whether these witnesses are telling the truth and cohobate it or contradict it.

BERMAN: But just to be clear -- but just to be clear -- just to be clear, right now when you say you've seen evidence of money laundering having to do with the Trump Organization here --


BERMAN: We're not talking about Paul Manafort, the Trump Organization --


BERMAN: You know, and the Russians right now. Have you seen evidence, direct evidence, beyond what Glenn Simpson said?

SWALWELL: Right. So, no, beyond Glenn Simpson, yes. Evidence -- again, John, evidence is not a conclusion. Somebody is saying that I know that, you know, they were using, you know, real estate to have the Russians invest in real estate and that was bringing influence. You know, that is what something -- that's something that somebody has seen. But that is not strong evidence. That's evidence that is worth testing and finding in other ways.


[09:35:01] SWALWELL: And we haven't been able to do that because we don't have -- we don't have Republicans willing to use subpoenas.


SWALWELL: We have that power.

HARLOW: I mean it's an important point. It may raise questions, but it's not direct evidence of money laundering just because Russia invested in a golf course or in a property.

We also want to get you on Hope Hicks. Your committee was going to hear from Hope Hicks, someone incredibly close to the president, an important adviser of his, you know, leading the communications effort. And now she's not. You have no date for when she's going to come before your committee. You guys delayed it. This is after Corey Lewandowski didn't answer those questions guys had. Steve Bannon didn't answer a number of questions you guys had.

I mean is the White House sort of winning on this, the fact that they've gotten it apparently to the point where you guys are saying, don't even come before us yet?

SWALWELL: The White House is certainly working with House Republicans on this investigation hand in hand. I can't confirm Ms. Hicks. I can tell you that we had a senior administration official who was supposed to testify today and who did not. But what's most interesting is, Steve Bannon came in earlier in the

week and had the White House assert executive privilege or at least tell him he could not answer. The very next day, Corey Lewandowski said he talked to the president the day before and that he wasn't going to tell us anything that he has done since he left the campaign.

At the same time we were talking to Corey Lewandowski, ten paces across in another room we were talking to an administration official who worked on the campaign, worked on the transition and still works in the White House today. That person said, you can ask anything. I'm under no limitations. They are selecting choosing who can and can't answer questions. And I think that's because it's an effort to protect the president from the people who know what happened.

BERMAN: Congressman Eric Swalwell, we'll let you get back to work --

SWALWELL: Lots to do.

BERMAN: And hopefully that work is trying to figure out if there's some kind of deal over the next few days.


SWALWELL: That's right.

BERMAN: Thanks so much for being with us.

SWALWELL: My pleasure. See you guys.

BERMAN: Prosecutors say they were starved, shackle and never allowed to see the sun. We're talking about horrifying details about what 13 California siblings endured from just one meal a day to no access to a bathroom. All of it allegedly at the hand of their parents.


[09:41:04] HARLOW: One meal a day, one shower a year, zero trips to the doctor or the dentist. Horrifying details this morning have emerged out of California where police say these 13 siblings faced severe, pervasive and prolonged child abuse at the hands of those people, their parents.

BERMAN: Yes, and they pleaded not guilty, the parents have, to more than three dozen charges of torture and neglect. Police have released new details, gruesome details, about the, you know, the condition of these kids.

CNN's Stephanie Elam following every detail of this case.

You know, Stephanie, officials call this depraved behavior.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I don't know how else you can put it. Listening to the litany of charges against this couple from the district attorney yesterday, as we listened to what the things that these people were putting up -- putting their children through is just -- it's horrendous. And I want to give you an idea of what we're talking about here. First

of all, 12 counts of torture, 12 counts of false imprisonment, seven counts of abuse on dependent adults. We know seven of the children are adults. Six counts of child abuse and one count of a lewd act on a child under the age of 14. That is only for David Turpin.

But, if you look at what they're saying was happening. They say that they were tying up the children as punishment. And it started out in ropes. And then even hogtying the child. And then it progressed to chains and padlocks over time. And it got worse.

They would even leave them in the chains, the district attorney said, when they needed to relieve themselves. They wouldn't even let them out of the chains for that.

They're also going on to say that if they washed their hands above their wrist, that was considered playing in the water and they were punished. That could put them in the chains.

They are also saying that for two years -- two years the 17-year-old was planning this escape. And when she did leave, she actually took one of her younger siblings with her. That sibling got scared and ran back to the house. But the 17-year-old stayed on her plan and talked to police officers.

But to give you an idea of the kind of abuse that they were dealing with, the 17-year-old, the district attorney said, didn't know what medicine was. And when they did finally get to talk to the rest of the children, they said several of them did not know what a police officer is.

Going through to take a look at how they've been treated. They said they're suffering from cognitive impairment. They also say they have nerve damage from the extreme and prolonged abuse they were getting, beatings and strangulation, all charges by the -- both of the Turpins. They have said that they are not guilty. But if they are found guilty in this case, they are looking at 94 years to life in prison. They are being held right now on $12 million each.

John and Poppy.

HARLOW: You just think, what happens to those kids now? I mean -- Stephanie, thank you for the reporting. We appreciate it.

Ahead, investors on Wall Street bracing for a shutdown. This morning, the Dow is flat. But what happens if the clock strikes midnight tonight with no details? Christine Romans has that ahead.


[09:48:12] HARLOW: All right, just hours away from a potential government shutdown. Wall Street kind of slugging it off this morning. Stocks opening a little bit higher ahead of all this uncertainty.

BERMAN: All right, our chief business correspondent Christine Romans here, star of "Early Start." What are the markets making right now of this what could be imminent


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: It's so interesting. So the big debate is whether the markets just aren't factoring it in --


ROMANS: Or whether they don't believe it's going to happen. But mostly the tax cuts are so good for these companies, that it's so good for their bottom line, and that's what is reflected on Wall Street, that really it is still the tax cuts that's the story on Wall Street, not necessarily the shutdown.

A government shutdown is stupid, but it wouldn't be the end of the world, at least that's what the stock market is telling us.

HARLOW: And what would it mean, though -- I mean, yes, it's not the end of the world for the stock market, but it's a pain --

ROMANS: It is.

HARLOW: And debilitating for a lot of people who work for the federal government.

ROMANS: Sure. And it's -- let's be honest, it's congressional malpractice is what it is.

HARLOW: Yes. Yes.

ROMANS: A government shutdown by definition is congressional malpractice.

Look, the last time -- if history is a guide, the last time it was 16 days, it was 850,000 workers furloughed. There's no reason to think it wouldn't be similar this time in terms of those numbers. And the total cost was $24 billion.

So back of the envelope, Oxford Economics is saying you -- the cost to the American economy you consider about $6 billion a week. Why is that? Well, you have all these folks who are going to be out of work, but you do have essential federal workers who stay on, right? So air traffic controllers. The planes are still going to land. Law enforcement, the investigations will continue. Military and national security, that stays. The federal court staff, so there will be, you know, the trials and the like, and postal workers.

What is closed are the national parks and the monuments, although we're hearing that the White House is trying to figure out ways to keep those open. The NIH, it's experimental treatments enrollment. You know, if you're at the end of the line and you want to get in one of these important plans, you would not be able to do that. Passport and visa processing, at least in the near term because it's partially funded by fees, that stays open. But if there were a long shutdown, that eventually would close too. HARLOW: Yes, it would close.

[09:50:05] ROMANS: Trash pickup in D.C. and some other things.

You know, last time around -- we've been talking about this terrible flu season. Last time around, in 2013, there were some flu programs, flu awareness programs, and some CDC flu tracking that was -- that was halted. We don't know. I mean each agency will be able to make those decisions as they happen.

So those are the real world implications of a government shutdown. Again, not the end of the world if it's short, but it is really disruptive and stupid in the world's largest economy.

BERMAN: And the executive, by the way, the executive branch does have a lot of discretion about how to handle it and where to allocate the resources available to them during a shutdown.

ROMANS: That's right. That's right. That's right.

BERMAN: We may be asking the questions to them tomorrow about this.

Christine Romans, thank you very, very much.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

HARLOW: We appreciate it.

All right, coming up, commander in tweet as we approach the one-year mark of the president's presidency. A look at how Twitter has changed the world's most powerful office.


[09:55:18] HARLOW: We are closing in on one year for President Trump, one year since his inauguration. His approval ratings still at an historic low.

BERMAN: Yes. And, by the way, as an anniversary present, he could get a government shutdown. You can see how his approval rating compares to the three previous presidents.

But let's talk about this first year. Joining us now to make sense of it all, Douglas Brinkley, CNN presidential historian.

Doug, thanks so much for being here.

How do you think history will look at this presidency or the first year of this presidency?

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: It's an asterisks president. Nobody really has believed he really is president. And that's because of the FBI, Justice Department constantly investigating him. You're waiting any day for a shoe to drop. So he's been -- had a cloud hanging over him throughout the year. There have been some concrete accomplishments. Their -- the economy is

doing well, and that's a big thing for a politician to have going for him. But, alas, here we are, the one year anniversary, and we have a government shutdown going in.

When you have 35 or 7 percent approval rating, it's very hard to unite the country on anything. It's historic lows that you just put up on your screen.

HARLOW: You talk about the stock market. He said in jest yesterday, have you ever heard the phrase it's the economy, stupid? I mean, sure, this is really helping him, the jobs numbers and the stock market. Where has he succeeded?

BRINKLEY: Well, you know, Theodore Roosevelt once said about the Justice Department, the House of Morgan, JP Morgan was complaining, you know, about Wall Street and all, and TR said, my Justice Department, we know no ticker-tape. Administration's not judged on Wall Street. It's going to go up and down. You might see it go down because of this shutdown.

Where he really, I think, did well in his first year is border security. I think the idea that most Americans want a tougher border with Mexico, not the wall, but the idea of more apprehensions. I think in foreign affairs, the tough stance with Iran, perhaps the American embassy in Jerusalem, you know, making that bold move might play out well in history.

BERMAN: ISIS -- ISIS and Syria and Iraq?

BRINKLEY: ISIS, Syria and Iraq and the one surgical strike in Syria at the chemical plant was flawless. It was a pinpoint precision mission and it worked.

BERMAN: Now, when you're looking back, you mentioned the investigation as something that's been a drag on the administration. But there have been other things that people look at as low points, independent of Russia.

BRINKLEY: Number one for me, that history is going to look terribly on the first year of Trump is racism. The bigotry of Charlottesville. The bigotry of comments that he made about Haiti and Africa and El Salvador. This whole game of the national anthem and how he tried to orchestrate and enflame the country. Very low marks on race relations for this president.

And then infuriating our allies abroad. We're not liked anywhere in the world anymore. Who would have thought that Great Britain doesn't want our president to come make a visit, and that's because the tweets have been so insulting to them every time that they have a moment of national crisis.

HARLOW: Yes. And that begs the question, I mean what will -- what will take the lead in the narrative that is written about this president in the history books. Will it be those things you just mentioned, racism, et cetera, will it be -- will it be the other accomplishments. So Twitter cannot -- I cannot overstate how it has impacted the

highest office in the land. How do you see it?

BRINKLEY: It may be the opening line someday in his obituary, the president who couldn't stop using Twitter. I mean it's just dominant. Someday scholars are going to have multiple books of the -- following the history of the Twitter. You know, his tweets are like policy.

I don't think it's worked well for him. I understand why he uses it. But he puts himself in holes all the time. For example, using Twitter to say that Barack Obama created a felony wiretapping. Accusing a former president of a felony by -- in a cheap little Twitter sendoff, you know. How is that going to ever look good in history?

And as -- at the core of it, the first year of Trump is going to be seen as a revolutionary figure. That 35 percent sticks by him, and it's part of a kind of nationalist, in some ways xenophobic, anti- immigrant movement that's going on in the world. He's simply the kingpin of that global energy right now.

BERMAN: An absolutely significant first year I think history will say. Whether you look at that as a good or bad thing, that's up for interpretation.

Doug Brinkley, thanks so much for being with us. Appreciate it.

BRINKLEY: Thank you.

HARLOW: Have a good shutdown free weekend.

BERMAN: So much news. Let's go to it.

All right, good morning, everyone. I'm John Berman.

HARLOW: And I'm Poppy Harlow.

The wheels in motion this hour on Capitol Hill. But from all indications, they are just spinning and spinning and spinning while the clock keeps -- clock keeps ticking and ticking towards a potential government shutdown at midnight tonight, 14 hours away.

Senators from both parties meeting themselves, not together in a bipartisan way, before they meet again in session. Again, 14 hours before the government runs out of money.

[10:00:05] BERMAN: Yes, Republicans and Democrats are talking, but they're talking with themselves. They are not speaking to each other.