Return to Transcripts main page


Graham's Potential Shutdown Solution; Democrats Meeting Is Schumer's Office; Women's March in Las Vegas; Trump Past Relationship With A Porn Star. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired January 21, 2018 - 15:00   ET



[00:00:24] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Happening now in the NEWSROOM.

MARC SHORT, LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS DIRECTOR, WHITE HOUSE: I might be naive optimist on this, but I actually think we're making significant progress and we will get a deal.

MICK MULVANEY, DIRECTOR, OMB: We cannot open the government without Senate Democrat support. We don't have that Senate Democrat support which is why we are where we are.

SEN. DICK DURBIN (D), ILLINOIS: There's a need for bipartisanship. That's all we've asked for.

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: The DACA issue has been held hostage to people on the left who want their perfect immigration bill or nothing, and people on the right who want nothing. And so really, I'd say let's vote on it

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: These 800,000 people, young people, are subjected to deportation. This will be one of the ugliest stains in history of the United States.

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: We are still in shutdown. We're waiting for the Senate Democrats to open the government back up. This is solely done by the Senate Democrats. It's absolutely meaningless.

WHITFIELD (voice-over): CNN NEWSROOM starts now.


WHITFIELD (on-camera): Hello, everyone. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. Thanks so much for being with us this Sunday. Right now, lawmakers meeting on the Hill trying to figure out how to get U.S. government working again, let's listen in right to Murkowski of Alaska.


SEN. LISA MURKOWSKI (R), ALASKA: And o we recognize that as a group of 20 plus bipartisan legislators, we need to be working with our respective leadership teams to have them come to a level of consensus. We want to be able to provide support for that consensus.

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: Let me just add one point. When was the last time you saw 22 senators meeting day after day, and the number of senators keeps growing with each meeting that we have? And each one of them is committed to getting to a solution. And that to me is very encouraging and we haven't seen that around here for quite some time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator, do you think you have buy-in from your leadership? The tone on the between Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer has been very different from what we're hearing up here from you guys. Are they on board with what you guys are working on up here?

COLLINS: They're certainly very much aware of our meeting efforts. There will be members who will be going to talk to them to discuss possible options. We recognize that ultimately it is the decision of Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer as to how to proceed, and we're not trying to preempt that, but we are trying to be helpful in showing them that there is a path forward and that a substantial number of senators from both parties are eager to find that path.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On immigration, can you give us any details?

COLLINS: Well, we're not going to give you details because that is still in flux, and it seems to me that the leaders should have a conversation before we're negotiating.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you feel that this compromise is enough that a vote could happen today and the government should be back open on Monday morning?

MURKOWSKI: I think that there are discussions that need to take place this afternoon. I think it is of the highest priority that our leadership, Senator McConnell, Senator Schumer engaged in a level of discussion. We want to be able to provide that support a base of conversation, but ultimately the determination will be up to the two of them. That's the way the process works in the United States Senate.

COLLINS: One of the things that that I think that we learned from -- no, no that's a case (inaudible). But I want to point out -- mean, one of these mean people. One of the thing we learned from the last shutdown was that as time goes on, positions are -- it is absolutely our goal to make sure that there are discussions today with opportunities for compromise yet tonight. And so that is absolutely critical that we not continue this, number one, on behalf of the country but I think also resolution gets more difficult the longer we wait.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What about President Trump? Do you need President Trump to be involved in this process, Senator?

COLLINS: You know, the Senate is an institution of its own, and I think we should proceed on what we believe is the best route forward.

(END VIDEOTAPE) WHITFIELD: All right. You're listening to Maine's Susan Collins there talking about how they are trying to work together.

[15:05:03] She says, we're trying to be helpful and help get this process to move forward. Ryan Nobles was there asking the questions to Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins among the ladies there.

So, Ryan, there is some hope. However, Susan Collins says she doesn't want to get into the details of what they were talking about, but she said it is the institution of the Senate who has to bring matters together, come up with some sort of measures in which to move forward on. So did it seem as though they were very hopeful about potentially coming up with something so that government can be up and running again very soon?

RYAN NOBLES, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: You know, Fred, I have to say having been tracking these senators for the last couple days, this is the most hopeful that we've seen them. But as you saw in that conversation with Senators Collins and Murkowski, even though they do feel progress is being made, they don't have a deal yet. Now, they still feel that more negotiations need to take place, that they still need to talk with their fellow senators.

And then, the other big part of this is that, they have to get buy-in from their leadership, from Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer. You heard both Senators Collins and Murkowski essentially say that we are going to come to leadership with 22 different senators from both parties and say, "This is the deal that we have, can we get you to buy in?" And by extension, bring in both of your caucuses.

So even though that is progress and they're moving in the right direction, they are far from, you know, getting the ball over the finish line.

WHITFIELD: Few for a moment. Ryan, if I can interrupt you again? Senator Lindsey Graham now commenting on all of this. Let's listen in.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: We got 90 percent of the public supporting a path (inaudible) and we have at least 80 percent for the 800,000. So March 5th, what does the Republican Party do? We're going to find a solution because we have to.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator Graham, what do you say to Democrats who just feel like they cannot trust the president anymore on this? That's what Chuck Schumer is essentially been saying on the floor.

GRAHAM: Well, he's still president, and a lot of people on our side don't trust Chuck. And I'm not asking anybody to trust anybody, I'm asking people to grow up and realize that we are in charge of the House and the Senate. And that we have an obligation to work across the aisle. So what I say to Senator Schumer?

"I voted no with you, 30 days was too long." I'm going to vote yes when Mitch says February the 8th, which is shorter, with a promise that if we don't get immigration resolved, we'll take it up as a body. That's enough for me. No, I think I'm OK with putting it in a mix of things to consider. If the majority leader went one step further and said, if we don't resolve it as part of a group of issues, then we're not going to ignore their immigration issue. The Senate will begin to work as well on immigration. I think that would be enough for a lot of people.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Senator, have you had any conversations with the president at this point?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What can you do on immigration right now?

GRAHAM: I think it's not just about immigration. It's about other things, too. The people in there told they didn't shut the government down, the Democrats, just for DACA. I believe them. You know, I voted no, wanted, I vote no. I want to be at military funding. I want a process or result in a conclusion to these issues. The reason I voted no is 30 days is too long, and I'm looking for will and determination and commitment to actually get a result not just on DACA but all of the issues. I think Mitch McConnell has provided a pathway forward that makes sense to me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So what exactly had McConnell promised to the group that he would do?

GRAHAM: He said on the floor about ten times that February the 8th is enough time for us to do our business, and that business now includes immigration. So what does that mean?

Mitch before has said, we can deal with immigration separately, we have the March 5th. There is an emergency on some things but the immigration is not one of those emergencies. But now he's saying immigration would be part of the package that will work toward concluding, that we're close even on immigration.

If you're not listening -- you got to be listening. This is a statement by the majority leader that, OK, we will include immigration a list of things that made to be done by February the 8th. And my suggestion is, that if he makes a further commitment, that if we don't resolve the immigration issue, including Board of Security by the 8th, the Senate will turn its attention to that issue. That will go a lot of votes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Senator, have you had any discussion with the White House at this point about what your bipartisan group has been discussing?

GRAHAM: No, I'm not talking to them about solution. I've really -- the president was really good Tuesday a week ago. We got to do compassion and security. All I can say about the White House, their staff has been unreliable to work with on the issue, two examples.

[15:10:03] In the meeting, Tuesday where the president did a wonderful job, I thought, he chastised the administration for handing out a list of border demands that can only be concluded at the end, not the beginning. When he was told that it's $18 billion for the walls he said that's too much. I think he was right. Then, what does the White House staff do offered the Congress $33 billion for border security. So needs to stop.

We need a reliable partner. I think the president is in a good spot in terms of understanding what deal will work, you just got to commit to it. So the Senate is going to do -- somebody has got to lead. The White House staff has been pretty unreliable. The House is locked down.

So I think the Senate is the best body to lead the country to a result. We need the president's support eventually, but I agree with Rand Paul. If you had an open debate on the floor of the Senate and the House, we would get the necessary votes in both chambers and the president would sign it. So when does that debate begin? It needs to begin around February the 8th.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator Graham, are you going to take this proposal directly to Senator McConnell in the coming hour?

GRAHAM: I think Senator McConnell -- I'm ready to vote based on what I've heard already, a commitment to include immigration in the package of things to be considered. I'm making a suggestion that there are a lot of Democrats and others that need to know that if we can't resolve immigration, we're going to turn to it before March the 5th. And if the majority leader said I'm committing the body to do that, February the 8th, we're going to turn to immigration. I think you would get well more than 60 votes for C.R.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Senator, have you spoken to anyone on the House side?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Senator McConnel said that the shutdown is going to be worse tomorrow. If you guys don't make a deal tonight, will they get worse tomorrow?

GRAHAM: Oh the idea that Mitch is right. Mitch has got a proposal. We should rally around it. We can change it a bit and get there. I talked to the speaker last night. He's got to run the House.

He said, "One thing I don't want you to do is do anything that binds me, you know, in any deal that I'll be bound. I said, "You're right". "Paul, you run the house. It's tough over there. You do what you think. It's time for the Senate. We've always led on immigration. I'm begging the White House to find a way to work with us and get to yes on a proposal that is reasonable".

If it's true that the president -- that Senator Schumer agreed to a number offered by the president a couple days ago on border security, we should be 99 percent there if that's true.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you said the president have been badly served by the staff are you talking --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What really did general -- what word had General Kelly said?

GRAHAM: I'm talking about -- I like General Kelly. I think he's a wonderful man.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you saying Steve Miller?

GRAHAM: I'm saying that I think the reason we yanked these things back is because of Mr. Miller, I've known him for a long time and I know his past and I know he's an early support of the president. I'll say stay in his view of immigration, he has never been in the mainstream or the Senate. And I think we're never going to get there as long as we embrace concepts that can't possibly get 60 votes.

One of the concepts that I just completely reject is that we have too much legal immigration. You know, Mr. Miller wants to restrict legal immigration at a time we have worker shortage or a declining population and need more legal immigration. So Mr. Miller has evolved on a path way to citizenship, but to -- for every green card, you give a DACA recipient and he wants to take one out of the system.

And I don't want green just for computer engineers. If you're out there working in the fields, if you're a construction worker, I want some of those people to have a way to stay here because if you running a business and you have a guess worker who is really good, that would add value to our country I want them to have a change to get a green card. I just don't want to be a country in the future of just computers engineers and high-tech people.


GRAHAM: Well, I think General Kelly has brought, ordered the chaos in the White House. I don't know what medal you give him, but he has really created a process at the White House that is far more orderly. On immigration, he's got a tough position, but he's always said he wanted to be fair over the DACA population.

I think he has a realistic view of what the market will bear. And the president has got -- what he said Tuesday, "I want comprehensive immigration. I want it done with love and security, and let's get on with it. Don't stop till we get a solution." The Tuesday Trump, if he comes back, then we'll get a deal. If they keep pulling him back, it's going to be hard to get this issue over.

And I would say this from the Republican Party's point of view. We've evolved in all the right ways. It used to be amnesty was anything short of deporting 11 million people.

[15:15:02] Now, let's take it on a different view. For some demagogue out there on the right, that if we listen them, they made a living. Demagogues in this issue, I have lone sense, let them go. There are some people on the left who just want Trump to lose, the resistance movement. If Democrats listen to them, we go nowhere.

So, after meeting with the 25 senators, I think we're going to get there sooner rather than later.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do those senators think to be done? What proposals are they changing?

GRAHAM: I'm not going to talk about proposals. I think the senators in that room believe we're all losing when it comes to government shutdown. The consensus in that room is now time to deal with immigration. It is best to do it together as part of overall effort to solve other problems.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But they are taking something, are they not, to leaders?

GRAHAM: I don't know what they are going to do, but I can say this, that Republicans are willing I think in large numbers to move the immigration on a date certain if we can cannot find a solution before that date. February the 8th gets us three weeks to work on all these issues, I'm going to vote the proposal my leader, Mitch McConnell, these includes immigration in the mix for the first time, less enough for me.

If there's any more willingness about the leader to say, we will move immigration, I'll guarantee you will if we don't find a resolution. Then, that should be enough for almost everybody.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Senator, do you think that --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator, we are not talking some new piece of legislation that's going to come out at noon, we're talking about --


GRAHAM: The worst thing that could happen is for 25 senators to cook up an idea that they don't bet with their colleagues. I did Graham- Durbin to start the process. I know it was not what was going to become law. I thought it was a reasonable proposal in the four categories we agreed on in the Tuesday meeting. It's going to get better. It's going to move to the right some. It's going to give some things that the Democrats want they didn't get. It's not that viable.

Mr. Cotton, Senator Cotton and Perdue have an idea. I'm not excluding any idea, the rationale DREAM Act, all I'm asking for is the Senate to go back in business and do what the Senate has been known for for a couple hundred years, been the world's most significant body. Having the debate, where do the Senate living everybody voices be heard. My goal is not 60 votes. My goal was 75 votes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Senator, do you think your Democratic colleagues are feeling the pressure after this weekend of the government shutdown? What have you been hearing from them?

GRAHAM: If they don't, they're not good listeners and I've been there. And listen, it's not a win for us. First prize in a government shutdown is you get to be dumb, not dumber. That's the best you can hope for is to be look is dumb, not the dumbest guy in the room, (inaudible).

So the point is and I don't think they -- Lamar made a good point and as many consistently. Government shutdown should not be use as leverages to get legislative outcomes. When we did it, did not work well. If they do it, it will not work well.

They've got plenty of leverage in terms of making sure the doctor recipients are dealt with. They got budget caps, they don't have to agree to. We're going to get there. March 5th is a deadline impose by the president which gives us a lot of urgency. So we're going to get there and if we don't tonight, I am really worried about where this thing goes, because it's going to get nastier in terms of rhetoric.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator Cotton said that the difference between you and Steven King, that Steve King can get elected in Iowa.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What world does Senator Cotton have in this (inaudible)?

GRAHAM: Well, Senator -- you know, number one, I was -- I like Steve King. I didn't mean it as a slam, I just disagree with Steve King. You know, Steve King set our position on immigration, that this is district in Iowa but I think is unaligned with the country but he is a nice guy.

So Senator Cotton has jumped into the immigration debate, good for him. He is willing I think to have a pathway to citizenship, good for him. But he's got some proposals that have been out there for months and nobody is jumping onto. I mean, the Perdue-Cotton proposal was endorsed by the president, I don't think he has five cosponsors.

All I'm asking is that, Senator Cotton be heard. He deserves to be heard. He deserves to be heard. He deserves to have a say. And I appreciate the fact that he's involved in immigration issue.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Senator, have you clarify? You spoke -- you said you said to Speaker Ryan last night, and is he only House member who you spoken with?

GRAHAM: No, I've spoken to a lot of other House members. The bottom line is that, their CRs is not going to pass. The reason I didn't vote for the 30 day extension, it just kills the military. It's not so much about the time, this is a commitment that we're going to get a result. So the February 8th proposal makes sense to me. Sara McConnell is saying that we're going to deal with all the issues, including immigration which is a major breakthrough.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, Senator.



[15:20:00] WHITFIELD: All right. You're listening to South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham there, who said some really interesting things there. Also, underscoring quoting him now, "I'm really worried of where this goes if this fight is not resolved tonight." At the same time, he expresses lot of optimism does, perhaps even encouragement after meeting with more than 20 members of the Senate, bipartisan.

And he says, he likes a proposal to keep the government running and then, later on a commitment to address immigration. So Ryan Nobles tell us more about this. He reiterated a lot of what he said earlier, but perhaps he gave a little bit more detail after Susan Collins and others were a little bit more reticent about giving more encouragement.

NOBLES: Yes. We really don't know the substance of what they're talking about in there. We don't know exactly what their long-term plan is. It seems to be built on this framework of a shorter continuing resolution. But then, we don't know if that includes some sort of promise that they'll bring up immigration in between now and when this next CR were to passed were to come up.

But I think what you're seeing here, Fred, is not necessarily huge progress but incremental progress to get this deal done. Yes, there were 22 senators, both Republican and Democrat in this room, but they only represent, you know, a pretty small slice of the 100 senators that are going to have to vote in this. And this the group of senators that are willing to cut deals.

For the most part, these are all moderate senators. None of the hard- liners were involved in this conversation, the type of senators that could blow up a deal like this. But here's what's going to happen next. We know now that comparers (ph) in this room who had this lengthy discussion amongst themselves, are now going to go to their leaders, are going to go to Mitch McConnell on the Republican side and Chuck Schumer of the Democratic side, and tell them a lot more than they're telling us about what they talked about, and the progress that they made in the areas of agreement that they have.

Then both McConnell and Schumer are expected to talk to each other (inaudible) to discuss whether or not they agree with what the contraries (ph) came up with, and then the process continues. Every senator that left the room said that they certainly haven't agreed on a final proposal here that there's going to have to be more conversations throughout the afternoon.

And you even heard it, Fred, when we are talking to Susan Collins and I specifically asked her, do you think that you've made enough progress that you feel confident that the federal government will be back open tomorrow and she certainly heads their bets (ph). And she that there still long way to go.

So progress to a certain extent, Fred, but as we said before, long way to go. And the other point that I'll make is, you know, we've asked a lot of these senators about President Trump's role in all of this, and most of the Republicans have kind of pushed that off and said, "You know what, this isn't about the president anymore, the Senate is an institutional body of its own that has an important role in this process. It's out job to get this done with or without the president's help.". Fred? WHITFIELD: Right. In some cases, just avoiding answering that

question altogether, which also spoke volumes, didn't that? All right, Ryan Nobles, thank you so much. We'll check back with you on the Hill.

In the meantime, let's go to the White House and that's refine CNN White House Correspondent Boris Sanchez there.

So, you know, Boris, we know the president is watching a lot of this live coverage all of the time. He got to hear directly, if not, you know, by talking on the phone with some of this Republican, you know, leadership or at least leadership on the Hill. He got to hear from them.

And we also heard kind of a resounding sentiment that members of the Senate say it is up to them to lead. There is also direct criticism about the White House staff, that perhaps that is also promoting mixed messaging coming from the White House. So is there any expectation that we will be hearing from the White House on criticism that was coming from Capitol Hill?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Not yet, Fred. We actually reached out earlier today when Lindsey Graham made some comments specifically about Senior Policy Adviser Stephen Miller and talked about the potential for a breakthrough on a budget deal coming later tonight. They have yet to reach back to us.

However, Graham made some really eyebrow-raising remarks. I want to quote him here. He said that he is begging the White House to help us get to yes, saying that someone has to lead, and really, as you noted, kind of dismissing the White House's role in trying to get something done and saying the Senate should be the one to lead the way.

It's really telling and it kind of corresponds to something that we've heard from other lawmakers in recent days that Graham praised the president for his position on Tuesday when he talked about compassionate kind of immigration law, and then criticized him for the way he had kind of changed his opinions afterward. Graham specifically talking about White House staff limiting the progress that's being made on any kind of deal, making the case that perhaps the president's views are a bit more flexible, echoing what Senate Majority Mitch McConnell said recently that he didn't know President Trump's position on the issue of immigration.

[15:25:03] And also kind of giving validity to what Senator Chuck Schumer said after that meeting at the White House on Friday, that he was close to a deal with the president and then, later on that deal was yanked, according to Lindsey Graham, because of White House staff. And specifically, Stephen Miller whom he said, doesn't hold mainstream views when it comes to immigration. He has ideas, Lindsey Graham said, that wouldn't ever get 60 votes in the Senate.

Again, we've reached out to the White House on previous comments that Graham made. We have not heard back. There's no confirmation today that the president is making phone calls to lawmakers, whether Democrats or Republicans, as he was yesterday or chatting with staff at the White House about the details of any kind of budget deal.

We did see that tweet earlier in which the president discussed the potential for some kind of nuclear option. That is the Senate changing rules so as to require instead of the usual 60 votes to approve a budget deal, 51 simple vote majority.

We have heard from some Republican senators, including Mitch McConnell and John Thune saying that likely would not be necessary and they don't think they have to go that route, Fred. But so far, all we've seen from the president today has that tweet. We will continue to follow any developments here from the White House and bring you any information to see if the president weighs in on these comments or if the White House staff weighs in on some of the optimism and criticism that we heard from Lindsey Graham this afternoon.

WHITFIELD: Yes. On that criticism of the, you know, White House, you know, advisers Stephen Miller and Lindsey Graham, even going as far as saying, with his involvement, Stephen miller, he says, you know, we will never get there. Meaning some progress on these proposals better being entertained, all right. Thank you so much, Bori Sanchez, appreciate it from the White House.

All right. Let's discuss the latest development on this government shutdown, where members of Congress are on all of this right now? Joining me right now, Dave Jacobson, a CNN political commentator and Democratic Strategist, also with me is John Thomas, a Republican Strategist, good to see both, all right.

So, Dave, your sentiments on what we heard from these leaders of the Senate, from Lindsey Graham to Susan Collins, and Lisa Murkowski, you know, talking about they need to -- is actually take a range here. I mean, it's going as far as saying there is a lack of leadership, the inference to the White House, and that is up to the Senate now to do something. Your reaction.

DAVE JACOBSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think that's right. I mean, it reminds me of a quote that Congressman Ted Lieu put out earlier today, where he reference the president. He said, look, a stable genius whose leader of the party that controls both houses of Congress and the White House wouldn't put us in this position.

Let's not forget, this is the first time in modern history where one party rules all branches of government and yet they led to a shutdown. Moreover, it's not just Democrats that voted against the funding bill yesterday the other day. Republicans including Mike Lee, Rand Paul, Lindsey Graham, voted against this as well.

So it's not just Democrats who want to get a deal done. And the other thing I'll mention is, the other they see in as CBS put out a poll that said, 92 percent of Americans want more cooperation and consensus building in Washington. And I think that's what the senators alluded to today.

WHITFIELD: OK. And, you know, this was Lindsey Graham a bit earlier, particularly talking about almost interference, you know, coming from White House advisor Steven Miller. Listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GRAHAM: I've talked with the president, his heart is right on this issue. I think he's got a good understanding of what will sell, and every time we have a proposal, it is only yanked back by staff members. As long as Steve Miller is in-charge negotiating immigration, we're going to nowhere. He's been an outlier for years. There's a deal to be had.


WHITFIELD: All right. So, John, I mean, that's a pretty direct, you know, challenge to the White House staff, even though Lindsey Graham did praise the president saying, he was really good a week ago. He also underscored that the staff in a recording now is unreliable and that's largely why we may be at this juncture.

JOHN THOMAS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I think Senator Graham is making a huge mistake to litigate this issue on television. He's not going to do anything good by throwing shade at White House staff.

Let's now forget, Senator Graham is soft of immigration. He was part of that "Gang of Eight" that is dramatically out of touch, with what most Republicans want. So, of course, he wants the president to cave on immigration. But let me remind my friend of me, Dave Jacobsen, a little mass equation Dave, as much as you say there were -- it's Trump's fault, it's not because without Democrat votes in the Senate, there is no path to 60 votes.

And it's so disappointing to see Chuck Schumer and other Democrats willing to throw our military under the bus, children under the bus.

[15:30:02] WHITFIELD: Except there wasn't a majority though with the Republicans. So --

THOMAS: But, Fredricka, there is no path to 60 without Democrat votes.

WHITFIELD: But there were five Republicans who refrain from being in supportive that proposal.

THOMAS: Correct. And I think they would -- first of all 90 percent of Republicans voted for, 90 percent. I think only 10 percent of Democrats. But I suspect that Republican leadership could whip those couple votes on a Republican side. If they knew there was a path to 60, but Democrats are willing to shutdown our government over a policy proposal that doesn't even expire until weeks from now.

WHITFIELD: OK. So let's talk about moving forward because we did hear that there were some momentum, Dave, by way of Lindsey Graham's comments, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, that they are working on something, 20, you know, senators bipartisan were, you know, behind close doors working on something and now we understand that, you know, moderate Democrats who are taken part in the meeting right now. They've gone into Minority Leader Chuck Schumer's office. Do you believe that this is momentum in the right direction? JACOBSON: It's promising. We'll see what happens. We don't know all the details, obviously. It looks like they're still being hammered out.

But look, Fredricka, at the end of the day, the Democrats are lock step with the American people. CBS' poll the other day said nine and ten -- nine out of ten Americans overwhelmingly support a pathway to citizenship for the DACA recipients. And as far as Democrats --

WHITFEILD: Not at the risk of shutting down the government.

JACOBSON: Yes. That's right. 57 percent of Democrats think that they should. But going back Republicans overwhelmingly support cutting a deal for the DACA recipients. In that same poll, it showed that 80 percent of Republicans want to get a deal done on this issue. So the Democrats have the American people on their side. It's up to Republicans to cut a deal.

WHITFIELD: So John had said they didn't want to kick the, you know, can down the road any further on immigration and that's why they wanted, you know, this proposal to be inclusive, keeping the government running, keeping the funding going and at the same time addressing immigration.

So if this latest proposal that Lindsey Graham was describing would mean keeping the government running until February 8 and then a promise to deliver or, you know, on addressing immigration before the March deadline, will Democrats come to the table on that, Dave?

JACOBSON: I think you might be able to peel off some Democrats. They ultimately its going to come down on what the details are. And there's other issues lets not forget that Democrats care about beyond just the DACA issue.

There's CHIP, the Children's Health Insurance Program which is vitally important to our most vulnerable in our society. Democrats want a permanent funding solution. The House bill put forward a six-bill -- six-year extension for funding.

Democrats want a more longer term solution to the bill. So it's not just the DACA issue that's the holdup. I think there was a number of other elements that Democrats care about.

WHITFIELD: So, John, it's pretty remarkable, is it not, that you would hear members of Congress who essentially have said they're not getting direction from the president on this. They were now taking matters in their own hand. We have not heard a statement coming from the president except by way of tweet when he was, you know, proposing nuclear option, you know, on a simple majority. But then there was these add that has been released by the White House as a result of the shutdown. Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Trump is right, build the wall, deport criminals. Stop illegal immigration now. Democrats who stand in our way will be complicit in every murder committed by illegal immigrants.


WHITFIELD: So how is that helpful, John?

THOMAS: Well, I mean that's largely what the president ran on, is building the wall. And, look, I think the president and the White House are doing exactly the right thing by not blinking. One thing I saw, when Senator Murkowski and Collins came on screen. You saw Senator Heitkamp from North Dakota who's very vulnerable for real like jumping to the screen in last second. I think I saw actually --

WHITFIELD: But they not want to answer about whether the president should be involved.

THOMAS: Right, because I think I saw beads of sweat coming on her forehead. Democrats are beginning to crack because they know that they're responsible for the shutdown if they don't come to the table that's open up the government again. That will cost senators like Heitkamp for re-elect.


JACOBSON: That add was absolute abhorrent and deplorable and disgusting. It is just further evidence of Donald Trump sawing the seeds of discord across this country. It's why people call him the divider-in-chief. This is not a president who's out to unify the country. He's out to escort cheap political deploy -- appoints in a very disgusting abhorrent way.

WHITFIELD: And at the same time, Dave, is there a feeling, you know, among Democrats that perhaps they may be paying a hefty price for the government being shutdown?

JACOBSON: I don't think so, because at the end of the day, Republicans control all arms of the federal bureaucracy and the government. They control the White House, United States Senate and the House of Representatives. So Americans are going to be looking to the 2018 elections --

[15:35:00] WHITFIELD: OK.

JACOBSON: -- and they're going to saying, which party is empowered and they're going to vote as a referendum against Donald Trump. It's why we saw victories for Democrats in Virginia --

WHITFIELD: All right.

JACOBSON: -- and then New Jersey and of course in Alabama.

WHITFIELD: All right. We'll have to leave it right there. Dave Jacobson, John Thomas, always good to see you. Thank you so much.


WHITFIELD: Appreciate. JACOBSON: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right. Still to come, a second day of nationwide protest advocating the women's march. and we take you live to this march taking place in Las Vegas right after this.


WHITFIELD: All right. Today thousands of activists across the U.S. and the world are in two -- in day two rather of women's marches, making their voices and their messages heard.

[15:40:06] Right now from coast to coast, people of all ages working to spark political change amid the ongoing government shutdown.

Joining me right now live at a women's march taking place in Las Vegas, CNN Correspondent Sara Sidner and Miguel Marquez. Let's begin with you, Sara. You spoke with organizers at least one organizer. What's being said?

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. We're listening right now to Melissa Harris Perry. There has been a lot of different speakers. We heard a lot from some representatives of Congress who could be here today of course because of the shutdown. I'll give you a look at the crowd here that is watching all of this go down.

I do want to talk a little bit about what this is all about, because last year without moving your feet and getting the attention of the world. This year is really about strategy, it's about power to the polls, and that has been the mantra over and over and over again.

They are trying to flip. They have chosen Nevada for a reason. That reason is still is considered a battleground state. And they're hoping to flip some sits here. But they are also very concerned about the shutdown and here who one of the organizers had to say about the shutdown in sort of who they feel like is to blame.


SIDNER: Shutdown, anything you have to say about has happened with the government right now?

NANTASHA WILLIAMS, WOMEN'S MARCH ORGANIZER: So this is the first time in history when you have a unified House and unified White House that we've seen a government shutdown, and I think this clearly demonstrates the catastrophic leadership that we have in place right now and why it's so very important that we win in 2018.


SIDNER: And some of the other people that you will hear from today, and you will hear a performance by (INAUDIBLE) Cheryl (ph) will be here as well. That the organizers of women's march have been in full force here when the (inaudible) talking earlier to the crowd and getting them all riled up. This is a rally not a march here in Las Vegas that it is a big one. WHITFIELD: All right. And Miguel is not far from you right there in the same stadium. What are you hearing from people there, Miguel?

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Look, if yesterday was about getting people out on the streets in energy, this is about turning in to votes. The people that we're seeing here are very, very focused not only in Nevada but surrounding states, Utah, California, those specific sits in the Congress and in the Senate. Nevada is the place they have started this.

This is the official event for the national women's march organization. They've come to Nevada because as a governor's race, and perhaps more importantly for them, there's a Senate race. Dean Heller, who is going to be the very competitive situation here in Nevada, that's the one that they want to turn out.

They are focusing on votes of women not only just the women in general, but minority women and people who they say have a tough time getting their vote or they are claims of them not being able to vote. So this is very much the opening salvo in the 2018 midterms for this organization. Fredricka?

WHITFIEL: All right, some pretty powerful messaging out there. All right. Thank you so much, Miguel Marquez and Sara Sidner.

All right. Still ahead, new details being reported about an adult film star's alleged sexual encounter with Donald Trump, and the lengths his lawyers reportedly went in order to keep it all secret.


[15:47:51] WHITFIELD: All right. Welcome back in the midst of our reporting about the U.S. government shutdown, the president's involvement or lack thereof. Now, they're reporting on allegations of an affair between President Trump and a porn star. "The Wall Street Journal" reports Trump attorney, Michael Cohen, set up a private company in hopes of keeping the alleged relationship secret, just a month before the election.

CNN Correspondent Dianne Gallagher joins me now with more on this. So, Diane, the actress in question, Stormy Daniels seems to be now capitalizing on I guess all this latest reporting and publicity?

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. She's definitely capitalizing on it Fred. And in fact we got a chance to see that up close and personal last night in South Carolina. The funny thing is though, after all of this -- she's even on this tour that's going to different places called the Make America Horny Again Tour. She's denying apparently that the affair ever even happened.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stormy Daniels brings her "Make America Horny Again Tour" to the Trophy Club for a one night performance this Saturday.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Cashing in on controversy.

GALLAGHER: On the hills of Stormy's national publicize the alleged affair --

GALLAGHER: That affair according to "The Wall Street Journal" between adult film star Stormy Daniels and the now-president of the United States reportedly happened back in 2006 after the two met at a golf tournament. Daniels who's real name is Stephanie Clifford. And the White House have denied their relationship, but that's not stopping this club from promoting it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the twitter storm sensation.

GALLAGHER: And on Friday "In Touch Magazine" published the full transcript of a 2011 interview with Daniels in which she eagerly dishes on the (inaudible) details of her alleged sexual encounter with Donald Trump. According to the Associated Press the tabloid never published it because Donald Trump's personal lawyer threatened to sue neither Trump nor his lawyer Michael Cohen have responded to CNN's request for comment.

Now journalists at several news outlets say just a few weeks before the 2016 election, Daniels told them she wanted to talk about her relationship with Trump, and then suddenly, she didn't.

[15:50:03] "The Wall Street Journal" also reports that's around the time Cohen formed the shale company to pay the porn star $130,000 in exchange for her silence.

CNN has obtained documents to show Cohen did setup at least two corporations in Delaware around that time, including one on September 30th, 2016, called Resolution Consultants, LLC. Those record show he dissolved on October 17th. That same day he incorporated Essential Consultants LLC. And that's the company the journalist says, Cohen used to pay Daniels hush money through a series of fake names and legal contracts. The White House avoiding answering questions about its Friday night on CNN.

RAJ SHAH, PRINCIPAL DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Of these matters we're asked about and answered pretty extensively during the campaign. And I certainly don't have anything to add.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But there was a denial of the affair. But there's never been any reporting about her being paid by the president until now.

SHAH: Sure. And you can contact the individuals who were involved with that.

GALLAGHER: CNN has not been able to independently contact Daniels, but in a statement attributed to her she calls the "Wall Street Journal" article absolutely false, and denies not only the affair, but ever receiving hush money from Donald Trump. That statement, however, was provided by Trump attorney, Michael Cohen.

(END VIDEO CLIP) GALLAGHER: And there is that denial from Stormy Daniels, but look we were there last night. She didn't actually mention him, and if she was asked about the president, she just sort of smiled and moved on without answering questions, but he was there at least in promotion. There were photos of the president all over the club on the inside. It was set up almost like a campaign headquarters with red, white and blue balloons and bunting everywhere. With the patriotic theme, if you will.

Again, she did not address the situation if she was asked about it. She simply moved on from the situation. But I can tell you, Fred, that there were a lot of people there in addition to reporters who simply came out because they either -- some people said they love the president, they wanted to be around somebody who they thought had been with him, and other people because they hated the president and thought that it was sort of a shameful incident and wanted to, you know, sort of relish in that. So it was a strange crowd there for it, but she's taking her act on tour, and is going to continue working underneath this slogan if you will.

WHITFIELD: Wow. Peculiar that's all I'm going to say. All right. Dianne Gallagher, thank you so much.

All right. Still ahead, we'll take you live to the red carpet of the Screen Actors Guild Awards right after this.


[15:55:28] WHITFIELD: All right. Another big night for Hollywood as stars gather for the Screen Actors Guild Awards tonight, the 24th annual ceremony honors the best performances and movies and television as chosen by their peers. And many of this year's top nominees feature stories by in about women. Tonight show comes as the #metoomovement is empowering women to speak out against sexual misconduct.

CNN's Stephanie Elam joins me now live from Los Angeles. And so, Stephanie, will there also be, you know, direct message by way of women wearing black again in Los Angeles tonight?

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It won't be a color this time, Fred, but you can expect that the show is going to be very female- centric. In fact, the host this is first time this Guild Awards have ever had a host and the host to see will be Kristen Bell, a lot of the presenters will be women as well. And there were a lot of female dominated stories that you see "Lady Bird" is nominated.

Also three billboards outside of Ebbing, Missouri and if you take a look at that movie alone, that is the one to watch because it has so many nominations, not just for the film, but also for Francis McDormand, also Sam Rockwell, and Woody Harrellson also nominated for that. And then on the T.V. side you have "Big Little Lies" which is the one that are people are going to be watching for simply because there was so much buzz when it first came out, and also because it did win big at the Golden Globes. So you can see Nicole Kidman is nominated for that, Reese Witherspoon and Alexander Skarsgard. So we'll be watching to see how that goes. The red carpet will be getting underway here soon, Fred. We'll be here. We'll comeback to you live when we have forward.

WHITFIELD: All right. Looking ravishing per usual, Stephanie Elam on the red carpet, thanks so much from Los Angeles.

All right. We've got so much more straight ahead in the news room and it all starts right after this.