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Mcconnell And Schumer Discussed In Their Private Meeting That Occurred Right After Senate Floor; President Trump Has Been Unable To Lock Down A Deal To End The Shutdown; New York's Governor Wants To Reopen The Statue Of Liberty; Vice President Mike Pence Keeps An International Trip Intact; An Adult Film Star, Alleged Sexual Encounter With Donald Trump; Bombshell Development Now In The Las Vegas Shooting Investigation; Aired 7-8p ET

Aired January 21, 2018 - 19:00   ET


[19:00:00] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: -- the Houses of Congress are full of activity tonight. Our senior congressional correspondent Manu Raju is on Capitol Hill right now. Our White House correspondent Boris Sanchez is at the White House.

Manu, to you first, do you have new information about what McConnell and Schumer discussed? Fill us in.

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes, that's right. They did meet, try to come up with a deal to avert this government shutdown and try reopen the government by tomorrow morning. But I'm told that there is just no deal yet. There is negotiation and discussions that are ongoing. And there is still some optimism in the Senate that have could presumably be a deal.

Now this comes after a bipartisan meeting of senators earlier today in which they discussed pathway to reopen the government. That pathway being a three-week deal to reopen the government as well as some commitment to move on. Other issues namely what to do about the issue of DACA, those people came to the country illegally at the young age or legal status expiring in March. How do deal with that and when to deal with that.

Democrats are pushing to get this resolved immediately. Get this resolved before this next funding deadline would be enacted if that were to pass before February 8th to be precise.

Republicans are saying that is much too soon. They are saying that we need to more time to deal with it. We do not want to tie it to a must-pass government funding bill. Therein lies a key sticking point.

Now this is all what McConnell and Schumer discussed in their private meeting that occurred right after Senate floor. We are told that there are probably going to be more discussions going forward before the crucial 1:00 a.m. vote about whether or not there will be 60 to overcome a filibuster to keep the government open for roughly three more weeks.

Now Ana, this comes as tension is growing. Even on the Republican side with the White House, some Republicans flatly frustrated that the White House staff is not serving the President well in this key moment. This senator Lindsey Graham earlier saying this about the White House senior adviser, Stephen Miller.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I have talked with the President. His heart is right on this issue. I think he has 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 Stephen Miller is in charge of negotiating immigration, we are going nowhere. He has been an outlier for years. There's a deal to be had.


RAJU: And Ana, therein lies the challenge. Even if there is a bipartisan group that reaches some sort of consensus on what to do. They still need to get the deal from the Senate majority leader. He still need the White House to sign off on it and he still need the House to get over the finish line as well.

One key Republican Senator John Cornyn, very pessimistic tonight, telling reporters that he believes the government will still be shutdown tomorrow. And the idea of having a vote on DACA by February 8th, as Democrats want, he said was quote "ridiculous." A sign of just a lot more work to be done before reopening the government and the likelihood that it could still be shut down tomorrow, in day three of the shutdown, Ana.

CABRERA: Manu, at this point, do Republicans know what kind of a deal the President would also be willing to go along with?

RAJU: It is very not clear, particularly on the issue of immigration. The - what the White House has said is that they don't even want to talk about those issues until the government is reopened. The question is what will the President ultimately sign and when the fixing this DACA issue. And that's what Democrats want some commitment that the President will ultimately sign a bill that lands on his desk. But what is that bill, what will the President agree to? Those are all questions that are unanswered on the President's own party still unclear about that as well. Just shows, just a hurdle that remains and ultimately getting a deal here Ana.

CABRERA: All right. Manu Raju at Capitol Hill, thank you.

Boris Sanchez joining us from the White House.

Tell us more about this back and forth now between what we heard from Lindsey Graham about Stephen Miller, which of course a member of the President's inner circle and on the team regarding the immigration negotiations and know I understand the White House is responding.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Ana. Yes. We have seen quite a shift in just the past few days from Senator Lindsey Graham on his take on how the White House is responding to the divide over the issue of immigration, specifically, how that plays into a bill that would fund the government. Just a few days ago, Graham was praising the President saying that he

was compassionate during Tuesday bipartisan meeting here at the White House. Today, you saw Graham essentially say that Stephen Miller is in-charge of negotiating the White House's immigration position on that issue. The White House taking exception to that. Press secretary Hogan giving and putting out a statement that almost word for word copies what Graham said about Miller.

But speaking about Senator Graham, here is that statement now, Gidley writing quote "as long as Senator Graham chooses to support legislation, that sides with people in this country illegally and unlawfully instead of our own American citizens, we are going nowhere. He has been an outlier for years."

The White House not only taking exception to Graham's comments about the role that the White House staff is playing in these negotiations. But also the idea that it isn't the President in charge and that the President is absent from these negotiations.

Earlier today, Sarah Sanders put out a statement confirming that President Trump for the second consecutive day was on the phone with lawmakers including majority leader Kevin McCarthy as well as Senate majority whip John Cornyn.

Also on the phone with the secretaries of very important departments, whether it be, forgive me, David Shulkin at veteran's affairs or Kirsten Neelsen at the department of homeland security. Beyond that they are also arguing that chief of staff John Kelly has been involved as well as the director of legislative affairs Marc Short.

A Senior White House official a few hours ago telling CNN that they were confident in this idea of passing a three-week continuing resolution and including some kind of pledge that they would address immigration within that. But really, it is kind of odd because all that we have seen directly from President Trump today is the tweet that he sent out early this morning talking about the nuclear option and potentially shifting senate rules to bill from 60-vote requirement to pass any kind of budget to simple 51-vote majority. Something that Senator Mitch McConnell and Senator John Thune both said likely said wouldn't be necessary.

It is telling that we haven't heard from the President directly yet today. It seems like he is sticking by what he said during the bipartisan meeting and just waiting until lawmakers come to a conclusion. He said that he would take the heat for it and then ultimately sign whatever they bring him. We will see if that ultimately happens. Because as I heard from White House official on background just a short while ago, part of the reason the Graham- Durbin proposal that was brought to the White House was dismissed, was because it didn't do enough in the President's eyes to limit legal immigration and bolster border security.

So it is unclear exactly what the President's position is. Something that senate majority leader Mitch McConnell said yesterday. But I'm sure as the hours pass, we will likely get more clarity and perhaps some more tweets from President Trump. [19:07:14] CABRERA: We will see. Boris Sanchez at the White House,


Now earlier I talked with Senator Martin Heinrich about this upcoming vote in the next few hours. He is among the Democrats who voted on the initial plan to extend funding.

On Friday night, I asked him about that decision and how he plans to vote tonight at 1:00 a.m. eastern.


CABRERA: Five of your Democratic colleagues we know voted yes on Friday night to extend the government funding until February 16th and give a little bit more time for negotiations. You voted no. Any regrets?

SEN. MARTIN HEINRICH (D), NEW MEXICO: Not at all. I think if we give them so much space, so many weeks, what we have seen in the past is when we have done a CR that's been months or weeks, the Republican leadership squandered the first 98 percent of it then come back to the table at very end and said give us another CR.

We need to resolve these issues. We need a full year appropriation for the military. We need to resolve the DACA situation for the DREAMers. We need some focus on this right now. And I'm not for a CR that would be so long that it takes the American people's focus on us getting across the finish line.

CABRERA: Is there anything in that bill that you actually disagree with when it comes to policy other than the duration of funding?

HEINRICH: The primary thing is what was left out of the bill. So many of the things that we have been working on to deal with the opioid crisis, to deal with western wildfires, to have budget cap numbers for the military and the department of energy and other key agencies, none of that gets resolved in a CR. So it is time to start governing and not just run things on auto pilot three weeks at a time.

CABRERA: Senator Lindsey Graham is pushing for this deal that would reopen government first and foremost and keep it funded until February 8th. Fellow Republicans on John Cornyn says a vote on that is scheduled though for 1:00 a.m. is that something you could vote yes on?

HEINRICH: Once again, I think if we give them three weeks they will waste the first 19 days and then come back to the table and ask for another. So if we can get an outline of a deal and use three weeks to put that together, a deal that addresses the immigration time bomb that the President has created, that addresses the budget levels for the DOD and department of energy and others, then that could be a constructive path forward. But right now, that's a road to nowhere.

CABRERA: So you are willing for the government to be shut down as long as it takes to get them to agree to some of those items you just listed? HEINRICH: I have repeatedly supported a one-day or three-day CR

because that keeps everyone at the table. It keeps the pressure on. It keeps the focus of the American people on us doing our jobs. But I think if we support a three-week CR, we are not going to get any closer to actually resolving any of the underlying budget issues or the other things that are coming due right now.


[19:10:14] CABRERA: So the government shut down continues. And when that happens, a lot of other things shut down like national parks, the statue of Liberty is among those closures. There are some parks and public lands like Arizona's Grand Canyon, however, staying open to guests. Meantime, Ford's Theater in Washington is closed. So is Philadelphia's independence hall.

Polo Sandoval is joining us now from Manhattan. New York's governor wants to reopen the statue of Liberty.

Polo, how does he plan to do that?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: In short, Ana, Andrew Cuomo, governor of New York, say that he would like the state to foot the bill to open up the landmarks like Ellis Island and of course statue of Liberty. That's been closed now for the last couple of days.

Let me explain a bit here. Both of these landmarks, and I'll say property, whether it be New York or in New Jersey, except the employees who run them, the museums at those locations are employees with the national park service.

Federal employees who have been subject to this shut down. So these locations have been closed for the last couple of days. That certainly has been a disappointment for tourists who come from all over the world to be close to those landmarks, to see those museums firsthand.

I spoke to family today who traveled all the way from Australia. And they had hopes that tomorrow when they supposedly reopened again then they will be able to take a look.

Now the solution here according to a governor Andrew Cuomo, it happened it tourism dollars that way they can cover the tab, which is extensive, about $65,000 and the idea as you are about to hear is to have some of these stores pay some of those admission fee and try help offset that cost.


GOV. MARIO CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: I know the statue of Liberty is a federally controlled memorial. But it is a major income generator for New York state. And we don't want to use the income. And symbolically you can shut down the government but you can't shut down the statue of liberty.


SANDOVAL: This certainly is not the first time that we see something like this, Ana. I will point you back to 2013 when governors from across the country were implementing these kind of policies. Tapping into some of these emergency funds to trying to get these parks open. Obviously, it is important to have that income. But more than anything else statue of Liberty, it is a symbol of independence. Of course, a symbol of immigration as well. And so it is very important for officials here in New York to get those back up and running. And again, that last check that is expected to happen again tomorrow.

CABRERA: All right. Well, silver lining in all this.

Thank you, Polo.

A year after millions took to the streets to protest President Trump's inauguration, large crowd gathered. How women's marched in cities all across the U.S. and around the world.


CABRERA: In Jacksonville, Florida, demonstrators staged what they called a rally for liberation, focus on expanding voter access. Another community issues. Public safety officials estimate a crowd of 20,000 turned out for this march in Phoenix. The organizer there says while last year's event was more of a protest, this was a movement. Encouraging people to make a difference by voting in the midterm election.

Today's flag ship event was not a march, but a rally in Las Vegas. The focus, encouraging women to use their power at the polls to make change.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is the women's march really also about trying to remove the President? President Donald Trump.

NATASHA WILLIAMS, VEGAS RALLY ORGANIZER: So from the beginning, we have always said it is not about President Trump. It is, you know, President Trump is only a symptom of the disease, right. And so, our goal is to really change that culture and the power structure as a whole.


CABRERA: Organizers say Nevada was chosen to host this event because it is a swing state that could help shape the Senate in 2018.

Straight ahead in the NEWSROOM, as Washington comes to a halt in this government shutdown, vice President Mike Pence keeps an international trip intact. His scathing words for Democrats next, live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [19:18:15] CABRERA: Vice President Mike Pence is in Israel tonight, done his first committee's tour. But he is not scathing the shutdown controversy at home. Here is what he today say while speaking to troops in Cairo.


MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are going to demand that they reopen the government. In fact we are not going to reopen negotiations on illegal immigration until they reopen the government and give you, our soldiers and your families, the benefits and wages you have earned.


CABRERA: Pence also blamed Democrats for impeding progress on funding the government.

Now a similar message is coming straight from the White House. Listen to the automated message you get when you call the main line.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you for calling the White House. Unfortunately, we cannot answer your call today because congressional Democrats are holding government funding including funding for our troops and other national security priorities. Hostage to unrelated immigration debate. Due to this destruction, the government is shut down.


CABRERA: With us now, editor of the "Weekly Standard" Bill Kristol.

Bill, good to see you. Two-part question here as we kick things off in the segment. Are Republicans doing a good job of painting Democrats as obstructionists who care more about undocumented immigrants than our service members? And secondly, at the same time, are Republicans using the troops as pawns?

BILL KRISTOL, EDITOR, WEEKLY STANDARD: I think Republicans can say what they want about Democrats and Democrats about Republicans. And it looks (INAUDIBLE) politically so far.

But the White House is not a Republican White House. The White House is the White House of the United States if America. And the vice President was traveling abroad is vice President of the United States of America. He is not vice president of the Republican Party. And I just -- maybe I'm old-fashioned. I served the government 25 years ago. There is a real difference between the national committee and republican senators and Trump -- President Trump himself if he wants to saying the Democrats are doing a, b, or c And White House as kind of its official corning when you call it. Not to make too big a deal about. But still, it is the White House, right. And they are attacking one of our two major political parties. And the vice President's statements I find really appalling. The troop standing behind and I mean, I worked for vice President Quail and we spoke to many, many troops at home and abroad. And you are allowed to advance your administration's agenda and say why it is important for pursue policy a, b or c. But attacking the other party an unrelated issue of immigration, really, using this as an occasion to try to get some publicity back home. That didn't happen.

I don't believe -- when I was is in the White House, I don't think it happened to the (INAUDIBLE) couple of White Houses. Some of these norms that have been sliding for a while, obviously. But the Trump administration has really taken it to a new low. They seem to think there is no distinction between the United States of America, the Trump administration, the Trump family, Trump's own personal political views and the spats and fights they are in. I think it is damaging to the country, honestly.

[19:21:01] CABRERA: We heard the President's son, Eric Trump, say something along the lines of this shutdown being a good thing for the White House. Do you think they actually are seeing that they are scoring political points through this? And so they are embracing the shutdown in some way?

KRISTOL: Hard to know. Hard to know whether they are just putting the best face on it. I don't think that is someone joke on twitter that, you know, the Trump administration is very committed to ending chain migration except for the Trump family where we all elected Donald Trump and we ended up with his son-in-law and his daughter, with senior positions in the White House and the other two Trump's sons who were just allegedly are just running the businesses popping up all over the place to give opinions about politics.

So again, the whole family character of this White House is a little creepy. The way in which very senior officials are supposed to defer to. Where you had some reporting earlier on CNN about Jared Kushner meeting one on one with the Chinese ambassador.

I mean, again, the whole thing is a little, if I can put it this way, Banana Republic-like to me, you know. What characterizes the U.S., the rule of law, the people get appointed to positions and confirmed by the United States Senate. We distinguish between government and politics. We distinguish carefully in the law of what you can do for, you have to go out of the White House to do political events. You can't do them in the White House. Fund-raising, that was a big issue with Clinton and Gore and all that.

These things are fuzzy and they get broken a little bit obviously on the edges. But (INAUDIBLE), we totally seem to have lost the distinction between national interest and a party's interest and a personal interest of a President. I think that's bad for the country, as I said.

CABRERA: When we talk about the White House ruled in these negotiations to get the government shutdown to end, earlier we heard from Lindsey Graham and he said there is not going to be a deal as long as Stephen Miller is involved. What do you make of that?

KRISTOL: The usual, as a senator of his own party who is trying to get along with the President and with the White House. I mean, again, we have a President who is not exactly have a firm grasp by I guess of these policy issues and therefore, it is, you know, what a sense of this particular person gets to him. It shapes his policy, his negotiating stance. And yet is also a little bit here in deflecting attention from the guy who is in-charge, you. If President Trump wants Steven Miller there. He is a grown-up. He is making his own decisions. So I think a little bit of a duck by Lindsey Graham or dodge, kind of, you know. He doesn't want to criticize President Trump so he makes it seem as if the whole problem is Steven Miller.

CABRERA: President Trump originally said he would accept whatever bipartisan deal is put in front of him. And then he walks that back, remember. And on Friday, he reportedly made some kind of outline of a deal with Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer. And he appeared to walk that back too, according to Schumer's account at least. Does the President know what he wants?

KRISTOL: Not with any great detail, I think, and that's OK. You know, you can let the congressional negotiated. We are again, Incidentally, I think there probably will be a deal tonight. Just looking what you all are reporting and others. If there is, Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell and some other senators and some members of the House are working out a deal.

What are the striking things? I'm not sure about this. But my sense is these meetings that are going on with the capital, and so with the President isn't involved and I'm not even sure senior White House negotiators are there. So goo for the members of Congress to step up.

One of the problems they have over the last year, I think this is especially true of Republican senators and members of Congress. But in general, it is just too much deference to the President. If they -- they are elected, senators are elected, representatives are elected. They should govern.

CABRERA: And well, and to pick up on that, if they were to come to the President with a deal that both sides agree on that they work out amongst themselves and leave the White House out of it, I mean, what kind of position does that put the President in if he were to say well, Congress has the bipartisan deal to keep open the government back up. But I'm going to t shut it down. That really would put pressure on him to make a decision for the good of the country, right?

KRISTOL: Yes. He will accept it and he will take credit for it and he will ask just the way he asked the leaders of South Korea to give him credit, Donald Trump credit for some minor progress, if it is progress, and the relations between the Koreans. They will ask Republicans at least on the hill to give him credit for something that he didn't have much to do, I suspect.

[19:25:13] CABRERA: Well, Bill Kristol, thank you for your analysis.

KRISTOL: My pleasure.

CABRERA: Coming up, he misses no opportunity to tout his deal-making skills. So far though President Trump has been unable to lock down a deal to end the shutdown. How one senator is using the President's own words against him?

You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[19:30:02] CABRERA: Well, word now, almost two full days into the government shutdown and we are being told Senate leaders both Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer have yet to reach a deal. President Trump has been involved in some negotiations.

We know on Friday he met with Chuck Schumer, the Democrat. And during that meeting, the two reportedly struck some sort of a deal. But the President is said to have walked away just hours later. Now today on the Senate floor Schumer blamed the President for the shutdown chaos. Listen.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), MINORITY LEADER: It all really stems from the President whose inability to clench a deal has created the Trump shut down. I agree with majority leader McConnell. The Trump shut down was totally avoidable. President Trump walked away from not one but two bipartisan deals. And that's after he walked away from an agreement in principle on DACA we reached way back in the fall of last year. If he had been willing to accept any one of these deals, he wouldn't be where we are today.


CABRERA: With me to weigh in on Trump's self-proclaimed deal-making prowess, is Trump biographer Michael D'Antonio.

So Michael, Schumer said this president is like Jell-O. He keeps changing the terms of the deal. Is this how Trump actually gets what he want? Has this worked well for him in the past?

MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S BIOGRAPHER: Well when I think about, there President as a deal-maker in his past, there are two models. One is, when he is really scurrying to try and salvage something that matters deeply to him, that's what occurred during his first gigantic bankruptcy in the early 1990s. And in that instance, he dealt with more than 100 banks. He was very actively engaged and he has succeeded because he was extremely motivated and he was doing something in private.

The other Trump negotiating style is more what senator Schumer describes as phantom negotiation where you think you have seen something or grasped something and it disappears. And that is something that he does when he is playing one side off of other. So in this instance, he is going to play Chuck Schumer and then he is going to listen to his advisors and then play to his base by turning his back on what he may have agreed to do with the senators.

So this is very consistent with the second Trump model and it is something he has done more of over the years. I also think the wow factor in all of this is that there is more public exposure for the President in these negotiations than he had to endure when he was a private businessman. These senators are going to go out and talk to the press. They are in the room with each other and they witness what's happened. So it is not something he is familiar with. And I think we are seeing the limits of his style of deal making in government.

CABRERA: And now we have Schumer criticizing Trump's ability to make deal. Now that cuts right to the core of the President's ego, right? He is always talking about what a great negotiator he is. Will Schumer's approach here actually earn him a phone call? Could it be what it takes to end the government shut down?

D'ANTONIO: Well, I think the senator is doing the only thing that all he can do, and that is push back hard. And I have to give the President credit. Throughout his life he has respected people who push back hard. I think what he resents, actually, is people fact- checking him. So if there is more that not one person in the room and they can prove that he is going back on a deal, he resents that very much.

But with Schumer being tough in the way that he is being, I think that is something that Trump could respect and could now reaching out to the senator one more time. I think those were saying that keeping Stephen Miller out of it are saying something wise. This is a man in President who does listen to the last person in the room. And so if the senators can get him alone and somehow strike a deal and then flee as fast as they can to report on what's been achieved, they would have a chance on containing that, you know. Getting that phantom of a negotiators to actually take form and make a deal.

So the President, he didn't make any public remarks this week. And "the New York Time" writes this about how he actually spent day one of the shut down yesterday irritated to have missed his big event in Florida. Mr. Trump spent much of his day watching old TV clips of him berating President Obama for a lack of leadership during the 2013 government shutdown. A White House aide said he seemed content to sit back and watch the show.

Michael, what is your take on that?

D'ANTONIO: Well, your observation that he is sitting back and watching the show is really apt. This is still a person who imagines life as a program. And he has told the people around him that he wants to get to the end of the day having won that episode of whatever program is being aired for the day. So if he is sitting at a truck and honking the horn, that's a good ending to the day for him. If he shows himself to be tough and especially the networks he favors are reporting that he is tough and standing firm, that's good day for him. The reality of what the country is experiencing, whether it is federal workers and their uncertainty, taxpayers who aren't getting services, or the DREAMers, who have been on (INAUDIBLE) now since the President himself killed DACA, those realities don't impinge on his thinking. It is really about his own image and his own sense of success at the end of the day.

CABRERA: Michael D'Antonio, thank you for the insight into the President's mind, hopefully.

D'ANTONIO: Thank you.

New details being reported now about an adult film star, alleged sexual encounter with Donald Trump and the length lawyers allegedly went to in order to keep it all secret. That's still ahead.


[19:40:22] CABRERA: New details on allegations of an affair between Donald Trump and a porn star. "The Wall Street Journal" reported earlier this week that Trump's attorney Michael Cohen set up a private company in hopes of keeping the alleged relationship secret just a month before the election.

Now as CNN's Diane Gallagher reports, Daniels, Stormy Daniels, the porn star's name, seems to be capitalizing on her newfound fame.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stormy Daniels brings her making America horny again tour to the trophy club for a one-time in performance this Saturday.

DIANE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Cashing in on controversy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On the heels of Stormy's national publicized alleged affair.

GALLAGHER: The affair of, according to "the Wall Street Journal" between adult film star stormy Daniels and the now President of the United States reportedly have in back in 2006 after the two met at a golf tournament. Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, and the White House have denied the 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 on the 2011 interview with Daniels in which she eagerly dishes on the (INAUDIBLE) 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 journalistic several news outlets say just a few weeks before the 2016 election Daniels told them she wanted to talk about her relationship with Trump then suddenly she didn't. "The Wall Street Journal" also report that's around the time Cohen formed a shell company to pay the porn star $130,000 in exchange for her silence.

CNN has obtained documents that show Cohen did set up at least left two corporations in Delaware around that time, including one on September 30, 2016 called resolution consultants LLC. Those records show it is also on October 17th, that same day he incorporated essential Consultants LLC. And that's the company that the Journal says Cohen used to pay Daniels hush money through a series of fake names and legal contracts. The White House avoiding answering questions about it Friday night on CNN.

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

ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR, OUTFRONT: There was denial of the affair but there has never been a reporting about her being paid by the President.

SHAH: Sure and you can contact individuals involved with that.

GALLAGHER: CNN hasn't been able to independently contact Daniels but in 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.

In Ringo, South Carolina, Diane Gallagher, CNN.



[19:47:40] CABRERA: It is day two of the U.S. government shut down. No deal yet after Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, and minority leader, Chuck Schumer met earlier tonight. How does the shutdown crisis which began the night before Trump's one-year anniversary in office, reflect on the retired four star marine general brought in to restore order to a chaotic Trump White House. I'm talking about White House chief of staff John Kelly.

Let's talk more about this with Chris Whipple, the author of the "Gatekeepers, how the White House chiefs of staff define every presidency."

So Chris, here is what General Kelly said this well that reportedly left President Trump fuming.


JOHN KELLY, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: It has been an evolutionary process that this president has gone through as a campaign. And I pointed out to all of members that in the room that they all say things during the course of campaigns that may or may not be fully informed. He is a very definitely changed his attitude towards the DACA issue and even the wall, once we briefed him when I was at DHS.


CABRERA: The White House later came out and say that's not the case at all. The President hasn't changed positions at all. Did General Kelly fumble there do you think?

CHRIS WHIPPLE, AUTHOR, THE GATEKEEPERS: Well, you know, this is another indication that John Kelly unfortunately is just out of his depth politically. I mean, it is his job to try to explain the President's policies on Capitol Hill and negotiate. But you have to be more artful about it than that.

The fundamental problem is that, you know, this is a White House that is completely broken. I mean, it has taken incompetence and raised it to an art form. Some of that is Donald Trump but a lot of that is John Kelly. And you know, Donald Trump is not the first President to come along thinking full of hubris thinking he had all of the answers, thinking he was the smartest guy in the room.

Most Presidents get over there. Most Presidents learn something about governing. Donald Trump hasn't learned anything in the first year about governing. And unfortunately, John Kelly doesn't seem to have learned much either.

CABRERA: I was speaking with Paul Begala yesterday who was part of the Clinton administration, obviously no fan of the current administration, but he called this the Kelly shutdown what we are in right now.

Lindsey Graham earlier this week told CNN's Dana Bash, I don't think General Kelly is irrational, I think he has never closed a deal before.

Chris, what is the role of the chief of staff in this situation when it comes to a government shut down?

[19:50:00] WHIPPLE: You know, Kelly famously said on day one I was not put on this earth to manage Donald Trump. But the reality is that the White House chief is not enough. The easy part is making the trains run on time. The hard part is walking into the oval office, closing the door and telling the President what he does not want to hear and negotiating his agenda on at that point. So far Kelly doesn't seem to be able to do that.

And you know, this is a White House that is unable to get anyone on the same page. Trump will make a decision and ten minutes later Steven Miller will torpedo it. That's on Kelly. I mean that is just fundamental disarray. And that's his job to manage.

CABRERA: So what job should he be doing right now?

WHIPPLE: Well, you know, I think at this point that, you know, it was said of Reince Priebus way back that he might be Trump's longest serving chief of staff, which is kind of pathetic when you consider that he is the shortest serving chief in history. Kelly has now outlasted Priebus by a couple of days.

But, you know, there's no indication that he's figured out the second major lesson of the Trump presidency. The first lesson was you have to have an empowered chief. But the second lesson is that campaigning is completely different from governing. You know in campaigning you demonize, you divide, you disrupt as Trump famously did. In governing you have to build coalitions. You have to be able to get on Capitol Hill and make deals. And, you know, at this point nobody would ever mistake John Kelly for James A. Baker III under Reagan or Leon Panetta under Bill Clinton. Those were guys who knew how to do it.

CABRERA: Chris Whipple, thank you.

WHIPPLE: Thank you.

CABRERA: Major twist on the Las Vegas shooting investigation. The gunman may have had help. Police insist the feds are looking at a person of interest who could face charges.

You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[19:56:015] CABRERA: The death toll from the California mudslides is now up to 21 after search and rescue crews discovered the body of a missing mother. (INAUDIBLE) becomes the fourth member of the same family to have died in the mudslide. Her son, her niece and her sister-in-law were also killed. Two people are still missing.

Meantime the 101 freeway through mud ravaged Montecito, California reopened this afternoon. Both sides were shut down when torrential rain has last week's avalanche of heavy mud and debris.

A bombshell development now in the Las Vegas shooting investigation. The sheriff there says the feds are considering charges against a person of interest in the case. This as they release their preliminary report into the massacre that leaves one burning question though still unanswered. What prompted Stephen Paddock to open fire on a crowd of concert goers?

Sara Sidner is following the latest development - Sara.

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ana, the sheriff said unequivocally that, the mass shooters girlfriend Mary Lou Danli (ph) will not be charged in this case. But someone else may be.


SIDNER (voice-over): A stunning development. The Las Vegas sheriff revealing federal authorities are considering charging someone in connection with the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history.

SHERIFF JOE LOMBARDO, CLARK COUNTY, NEBRASKA: The FBI has an ongoing case against an individual of federal interest.

SIDNER: Is the person that's being looked at, is it for aiding or abetting? Is it for --?

LOMBARDO: I cannot. You know, I appreciate it. I understand. You are ask to get information to those questions but I cannot provide it because it's under federal grand jury disclosure rules.

SIDNER: In the meantime, Las Vegas metropolitan police release their preliminary investigative report.

LOMBARDO: Due to the size and scope of this case and the community's desire to know information related to the one October shooting, I am going against normal protocols and releasing this information now.

SIDNER: The report includes details and images the public has never seen before, including pictures inside the killer's hotel room at the Mandalay Bay. The room is littered with firearms. There are shell casings, broken glass, a sledgehammer, explosives and a note with what investigators say are bullet drop calculations written on it. More than 20 pages of images that reinforce Stephen Paddock meticulously planned the attack as if he were going to war.

Police say his Google history shows he researched things like biggest open air concert venues in the USA and how crowded does Santa Monica beach get, as well as swat weapons and do police use explosives.

The report reveals has its girlfriend Mary Lou Danli (ph) told investigators she stayed with Paddock at the Mandalay Bay a month before the attack in a room overlooking the concert site. She said Paddock would move from window to window looking at the site from different angles.

Authorities also saying the content on his computer revealed something else, child pornography. But in all 81 pages of the preliminary report, there's one question left unanswered. What was Paddock's motive?

You said he was a narcissist, he was status driven, and that may have been a determining fact on what he did. Do you still believe that that is part of the reason why Stephen Paddock --

LOMBARDO: I got put the same yes to your question. I put out in the public space that he had lost a significant amount of his monetary wealth in close proximity to one October, and that may have been a driving factor associated with it.

SIDNER: No matter why or how the number of victims is staggering. Many are still recovering.


SIDNER: Fifty-eight people were killed. We should be clear this is just a preliminary report that has been given out. The final report has yet to be seen. The FBI saying that report may take up a year after the incident - Ana.