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Congress Reconvenes as Shutdown Acrimony Deepens; Trump Tweets Using Nuclear Option to End Shutdown; Interview with Representative Carolyn Maloney; Global Women's Marches Enter Day Two Of Protests; Senator Graham: A Potential Shutdown "Breakthrough" Tonight; Screen Actors Guild Awards Tonight In Hollywood. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired January 21, 2018 - 14:00   ET


[14:00:00] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: -- Mitch McConnell was on the Senate floor attacking minority leader Chuck Schumer and Schumer using his speech to criticize the president of the United States.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), MAJORITY LEADER: On Friday the Democratic leader made the extraordinary and destructive choice to filibuster our bipartisan deal and guarantee the American people a shutdown of their federal government.

Now it's the second day of the Senate Democrat filibuster and the Senate Democrats shutdown of the federal government.

Because the president wouldn't resolve months of ongoing negotiations over massive issues in one brief meeting and give the Democratic leader everything he wants, my friend across the aisle has shut down the government for hundreds of millions of Americans.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), MINORITY LEADER: It all really stems from the president whose inability to clinch a deal has created the Trump shutdown. I agree with Majority Leader McConnell. The Trump shutdown 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, we wouldn't be where we are today.


WHITFIELD: All right, the president adding to the chaos with a tweet today suggesting it may be time for Republicans to invoke the rarely used nuclear option, allowing the Senate to change the voting rule to end this stalemate.

CNN's Ryan Nobles is on Capitol Hill for us.

So, Ryan, where are we after those speeches, after the president's tweet? We know McConnell's office has said, no, they don't want to change the voting rules for a simple majority, so where are we?

RYAN NOBLES, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, after listening to those leaders talk on the Senate floor about an hour ago, it certainly doesn't seem that things are heading in an encouraging direction. But we've moved to another part of Capitol Hill, Senate office building outside the office of Senator Susan Collins of Maine. She is of course a very prominent moderate Republican. She is hosting a group of some 20 different senators, both Republican and Democrat, and behind those closed doors, they are trying to hash out these differences and come up with some sort of an agreement that will get the ball moving as it relates to ending this government shutdown.

And as we talked about last hour, Fred, it seems that the leadership right now is in a bit of a stalemate, a staring contest, if you will, and both McConnell and Schumer seemed unwilling to blink. But behind these closed doors, these ranking file members of the U.S. Senate seem like they want to cut a deal. And will the solution today come from the bottom up as oppose to the top down, that's certainly what the folks that are meeting in this room are hoping.

Now we did catch Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. He's been one of the leaders of trying to find some sort of agreement between Republicans and Democrats as he walked in, and he had some pretty harsh words for the White House.

Our Lauren Fox, one of our congressional reporters, spoke to Senator Graham and he was very critical of the way that the White House has negotiated this deal, specifically Stephen Miller, one of President Trump's top aides. He's an immigration hawk, someone that does not want to see any changes made to the immigration plan that loosen restrictions for illegal immigrants, the Dreamers and others. And he believes that Miller has hijacked this process to a certain extent.

So that shows, Fred, that even though there are very stark differences between Democrats and Republicans as it relates to ending the stalemate, Republicans aren't necessarily all on the same page. So as we continue this process, they're going to try and have to iron out all these differences if there's any hope of a shutdown ending tonight. At this point there is no real definitive sign of progress -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: And then what about this potential 1:00 a.m. vote, you know, of keeping the filibuster, you know, option intact but then try to vote to keep the government, or at least get the government up and running tomorrow?

NOBLES: You know, Fred, I think it's pretty clear that if we get to the point that the first and only vote happens in the United States Senate at 1:00 Monday morning, that means that the federal government is going to be shut down come Monday morning. That is kind of the last-ditch effort, and essentially what Mitch McConnell is offering is all of this time between now and 1:00 a.m. for these negotiations to continue and for some sort of deal to come forward.

You know, it's important to also keep in mind, Fred, that if they change this bill at all, it's going to have to go back to the House for another vote. So if it ends up being instead of a four-week extension of a continuing resolution, maybe only a three-week extension, that might be something that's easily passed by the House. It can be done almost by unanimous consent, and then move forward.

But if there's some sort of significant deal that's broken, and if a deal with issues like immigration or something else, then it goes back to the House for a whole another round of debate and that could complicate the process. So a lot still has to happen here today before we have any hopes of the government reopening.

[14:05:12] WHITFIELD: All right. Ryan Nobles, thank you so much.

All right. So President Donald Trump blaming the Democrats for shutting down the U.S. government. And today he is hinting that it may be time for Republicans to change the filibuster rule to end the stalemate, tweeting this, "Great to see how hard Republicans are fighting for our military and safety at the border. The Dems just want illegal immigrants to pour into our nation unchecked. If stalemate continues, Republicans should go to 51 percent nuclear option and vote on real long-term budget. No continuing resolution," end quote.

So CNN White House correspondent Boris Sanchez is now at the White House for us.

So, Boris, is there any indication the president plans to get involved beyond his tweet today in any continuing negotiations and effort to end this government shutdown?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Not yet beyond that tweet that you just read, Fred. There's been no confirmation from the White House that the president has been on the phone today with lawmakers as we reported that he was yesterday speaking with Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan or with his own staff, consulting them on the details of this shutdown.

It's really unclear how much involvement the president has had with congressional leadership today. Though earlier you had Senator Chuck Schumer saying that he had not spoken with the president since Friday after he said that the two of them were very close to coming up with a deal.

The White House pushed back on that then and again earlier today. You had several surrogates for the president, including the director of the OMB, Mick Mulvaney on Sunday morning talk shows saying that the two sides are still very far apart, arguing for Democrats to vote to keep the government open and then to get into the details of issues like DACA, border security, and ending what this White House calls chain immigration, that is the sponsoring of legal immigrants of their close family members.

Here's more from the OMB director speaking to Jake Tapper on "STATE OF THE UNION" earlier.


MICK MULVANEY, DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET: There's a long way I think towards getting a larger deal, which is why it's so important to go and open the government now because what the Democrats are talking about is a very complex, very large, it's actually a massive spending bill with a lot of other things added to it. That's not going to get done between now and tomorrow morning, and now and next Friday. So the government needs to be open, they need to vote to open the government tonight or tomorrow, and then we can start talking about those bigger issues.


SANCHEZ: Mulvaney also addressed this idea of going with the nuclear option and changing Senate rules, adjusting them to have to go from 60 votes to get a budget passed to a simple majority of 51. He defended the president's position that that's potentially something that senators should explore, though we have heard from key senators like Mitch McConnell and John Thune today saying that that likely won't be necessarily and something that they would pursue -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right, Boris Sanchez. Thank you so much. Appreciate that.

All right. Let's discuss this government shutdown with my panel now. Joining me now is Brian McGuire who is the former chief of staff for Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell. Also with me is Jim Kessler who is a former legislative policy director for Senator Chuck Schumer.

Good to see you both.

All right, Brian, let me begin with you and get your perspective of what Senator Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor. I mean he placed squarely the blame on Chuck Schumer and said it's Chuck Schumer's shutdown.

How was -- how were those opening remarks, you know, on the floor beneficial to trying to move in the direction of getting the government up and running again?

BRIAN MCGUIRE, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF FOR SENATOR MITCH MCCONNELL: Well, I think it's been extraordinary today watching people trying to deflect attention from what is really central to this shutdown, which is Chuck Schumer actively filibustering a government funding bill. And that's really the story. Schumer is at the center of this, he is blocking the government shutdown from reopening and that's what Leader McConnell highlighted in his remarks today and I think that's really the story and where it should be.

WHITFIELD: But time was spent doing that yesterday, time spent today, people among the 850,000 government workers who want to know whether they're going to get back to work, they need to hear some solutions. The finger-pointing seems like old news now, but that's what we saw more of today. Why is that beneficial, Brian?

MCGUIRE: Well, you can call it finger-pointing, but it's really just truth telling. Schumer is the reason that the government is closed and all he has to do is provide the votes to reopen it and it would reopen. The Republicans are not the problem here. Chuck Schumer and his Democratic conference in the Senate is. The Republicans have passed a spending bill, Schumer blocked it. He

is actively filibustering it as we speak. That's the reason the government is closed, and all he has to do is say reopen and it will reopen.

WHITFIELD: So, Jim, at this juncture people want to hear what is being entertained right now to move in the direction of reopening government, of getting things moving again. The onus is on both sides, all sides, the president, House, Senate, Democrats, Republicans, you know, to bring those answers.

[14:10:10] Well, we're hearing the criticism today from McConnell and Schumer and the interpretation is, we are at a stalemate. You know, there really isn't going to be any ground work today toward getting the government up and running again?

JIM KESSLER, FORMER LEGISLATIVE POLICY DIRECTOR FOR SENATOR CHUCK SCHUMER: Well, I hope there's going to be some groundwork laid. Look, I'm sure Schumer is very frustrated. I worked for Schumer for eight years as a top aide, and I've never known him in those that eight years to ever misrepresent what was said in a meeting. And he came out of a meeting with Donald Trump late last week and they were very, very close to a deal.

And what happened is, and this is not the first time this has happened with Donald Trump on this issue, from with the meeting conclusion to the time when people get home, his aides get to him, the hardliners get to him, some people in the House Freedom Caucus who are very, very conservative get to him and he backs away. So the frustration is, and this is what Schumer said yesterday, it's like negotiating with Jell- O.

I believe that there is a solution out there that includes the DACA fix that could get 70 votes in the Senate and 300 votes in the House that would reopen the government. You know, the president has got to show some leadership and signal a little bit of flexibility. They were very, very close to a deal. They should move to the deal that they almost had.

WHITFIELD: Well, you heard from Schumer who said, you know, when you've got the majority of both House and the White House, it means compromise, it means they have to give up something in order to get, you know, the other side, the minority, you know, party on board.

But at this juncture, Jim, does it appear as though the Democrats need to go ahead and, you know, let DACA, let immigration go, let wall talk go, get the government up and running? This is more, you know, kicking the can down the road, but perhaps working toward more permanency later after the government is back up and running?

KESSLER: Right. So that's a great question, and you know, in the negotiation that Schumer had with Trump, you know, Democrats were willing to give on the wall, which is a big give.

Here's the problem with that. If you could absolutely believe that you could fund the government and then they would really get to this immigration issue and it would be solved before March because there is a ticking time bomb that the president set when he rescinded the DACA order in September. This ticking time bomb that ends in March. If you could believe that they would really get things done, that the president would keep his word, that he wouldn't back out on the deal, yes, you would do this. But he's been -- he's been too willy-nilly on this. He's been too unpredictable. So we need some predictability.

WHITFIELD: So then, Brian, you know, trust. Underscoring trust is a big problem. The president doesn't seem to, you know, I guess, live up to his promises as it pertains to particularly this issue. And if you don't have that, then how are you going to be able to be that great negotiator get anything done if nobody believes your word?

MCGUIRE: Yes, Fred, I appreciate Jim's effort to try to deflect attention from Senator Schumer and to place it on the president. But again, the senator that Jim worked for is the reason that the government is shutdown right now, and we're talking about two separate issues. We're talking about DACA, which doesn't need to be resolved until February --

WHITFIELD: But we're not talking about blame right now --

MCGUIRE: -- and the government is close because Chuck Schumer is filibustering the spending bill.

WHITFIELD: -- because we already heard all of that. That blame. But now let's talk about -- but why can't we talk about solutions or what they are entertaining? Now --

MCGUIRE: The people are talking about solutions. People are actively talking about solutions in good faith. And the difference between this shutdown and other shutdowns is that Republicans and Democrats on the face of it all agree that we should find a solution to DACA. The problem right now is that Schumer has decided to combine the two efforts to demonstrate that he can shut the government down over immigration, but it's really kind of a pointless exercise and to me really kind of puzzling as to why he's doing it because it just reinforces the view among a lot of people out in the country. The Democrats don't really care about average voters and they're sort of out of touch.

WHITFIELD: So, Brian, how involved should the president be today in this process? I mean, what do you believe the president could actively be doing to get people back to work?

MCGUIRE: Again, I think that the president is clearly very engaged here, but the real key figure is Senator Schumer. He's the one who has to deliver the votes. Democrats are actively filibustering a spending bill that Republicans have passed. All they need to do is provide the votes, the government will reopen, and there will be a solution on DACA because there are good faith negotiations going on among Republicans and Democrats as we speak.

WHITFIELD: So, Jim, you want to make any predictions on how long this government shutdown could be going on? Is it a matter of hours more or days more? KESSLER: I think it's days more. Leader McConnell last week said

something that was very interesting. He said if we knew what the president, we would put it on the floor. They don't know what the president wants. I think Leader McConnell is an honorable person, he wants to get a deal done but the reason why President Trump is sequestered in the White House and is not doing anything is because his staff does not trust him to negotiation, they don't trust him to talk to Schumer.

[14:15:09] They don't -- you know, he nearly cut a deal, the hard- liners pulled back. Trump is the problem here. It's not McConnell, it's not Schumer, it's Trump.

WHITFIELD: Brian, you heard Schumer. He called the president, and it was as if he knew the president was watching. He was speaking directly to the president from the floor, and he said, he's a dysfunctional president. And he said, this is the Trump shutdown.

MCGUIRE: Yes, I don't know why we're talking about President Trump right now. The Democrats are blocking a spending bill --

WHITFIELD: Because he's the president of the United States and he is the leader.

MCGUIRE: He has said that he wants to resolve DACA.

WHITFIELD: -- of this nation and the leader of the Republican Party which is in the majority of both Houses and the White House.

MCGUIRE: Senator Schumer would like for Trump to be the story here. He is not the story. Senator Schumer and the Democrats in the Senate are the story. They are blocking a spending bill by filibustering it as we speak.

WHITFIELD: All right. Brian McGuire, Jim Kessler, and this perhaps is what might be going on behind those closed doors on Capitol Hill. Let's see if we can, you know, get any real direction as to where they're going next.

All right. Thanks so much, gentlemen.

KESSLER: Thank you.

MCGUIRE: Thanks for having me.

WHITFIELD: All right. Still ahead we talk with Republican Representative Don Bacon on whether there is any hope of reaching an agreement today to end the government shutdown.


[14:20:46] WHITFIELD: All right. Both the House and the Senate are back in session as the acrimony deepens between the Republicans and the Democrats on day two of the U.S. government shutdown.

Welcome back, I'm Fredricka Whitfield. I want to bring in Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney. She is a Democrat from New York.

Congresswoman, good to see you.

REP. CAROLYN MALONEY (D), NEW YORK: Good to see you.

WHITFIELD: Members of the Senate, bipartisan committee are continuing to talk about finding a proposal. Where do you think they may be on the path forward at this point in getting government up and running again?

MALONEY: Well, Fredricka, this is the first time in modern history that the Republicans have controlled or one party has controlled all three seats of power and they've shut down the government. It's a very simple thing. The Republicans are in charge in the White House, in the House and in the Senate. If they put to the floor one of the compromises that have been agreed on, there would be a vote. It's up to them. They could go into session right now and end this and open up the government.

WHITFIELD: But instead moments ago, you know, we heard from Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell who said about Chuck Schumer, he said because he didn't get everything he wants, you know, it led to a shutdown. And then you had the Democratic minority leader Chuck Schumer saying, quote, "It all stems from the president and his inability to clinch a deal."

So, you know, lots of vitriol, lots of placing blame there, but does it mean that even lower-level leadership in the Senate is any closer to whether it's considering those compromised proposals or coming up with some path forward of getting things operating again?

MALONEY: Well, it's been reported by your station and others that compromises and deals were made only to be broken. This is ridiculous. I'm getting phone calls from my constituents concerned about whether or not they're going to get their Social Security checks. They will, they're automatically given whether or not they'll be able to fly for business. That's going to be opened.

We can open up the government and provide the services to the people that need them. There have been many agreements made, I am told, only to have them broken. So it only is a matter of will of getting together and making a deal and sticking to it.

Again, the Republicans control the White House. They control the Senate and they control the House. They control the agenda. They can bring something to the floor for a vote and they can end this by agreeing. The Democratic leadership in the House and the Senate have come forward with short-term let's open it up for three or four days and work this out, and that's been turned down. So it's really up to the Republican leadership. They have the power and they are in charge.

WHITFIELD: So Republicans were out in force this morning, and this is how they describe things.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. TOM COTTON (R), ARKANSAS: We are willing to protect this population that is in the DACA program. If we do that, though, it's going to have negative consequences. First, it's going to lead to more illegal immigration with children. That's why the security enforcement measures are so important. And second, it means you're going to create an entirely new population of chain migration that can bring in more people into this country that's not based on their skills and education and so forth. That's why we have to address chain migration as well. That is a narrow and focused package that should have the support of both parties.

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: I think the blame game is ridiculous on both sides.


PAUL: Republicans and Democrats and everybody trying to say, you don't want to fund the military. Everybody wants to fund the military, nobody wants our soldiers not to be paid. But when both sides do it, I think the American people see through it. It's gamesmanship and it's a partisanship.


WHITFIELD: So what's your interpretation of what you're hearing here?

MALONEY: My interpretation is where there is a will, there is a way. They can get together. There have been a compromise. There have been comprises worked out on CHIP, on DACA, on funding, on emergency relief for Texas and Florida and Puerto Rico and California with the fires. There's been agreements made out. They should get together and come up with a compromise.

[14:25:06] They could open up the government and solve this later. There are so many ways they can open up the government and go forward. And, again, the Republicans are in charge of both the White House, the Senate and the House. And in the past 30 years, Fredricka, the Republicans have closed down the government five times.

And this is the first time in history, to my knowledge, that one power has been in charge and proceeded to close down the government which they are in charge of keeping running and serving the American people. It's up to the Republicans.

WHITFIELD: And Congresswoman, CNN has just learned that, you know, Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican, has been telling Republican leaders that he believes he has at least five new Democratic supporters on board with a proposal to end the shutdown, which is, you know, some iteration of a three-week, short-term funding bill, plus firm commitments from GOP leaders on consideration of immigration legislation. Do you believe that?

MALONEY: Well, let's put it to the floor for a vote and we'll find out. Let's get it done. If he says he has the votes and he says he can open up the government and work out these other challenges, let's do it. It's just irresponsible for the Republican leadership to close the government down. And it's up to the Republicans. Lindsey has a plan, let's have a vote and move forward.

WHITFIELD: All right. That potentially may be the only, you know, hopeful kernel of news that we've been able to get since they all took to the floor beginning at 1:00.

All right. Thank you so much, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney. Appreciate it.

MALONEY: Thank you, Fredricka. Thank you.

WHITFIELD: We'll be right back. Thank you.



FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Welcome back. Day two of the U.S. government shutdown and day two of women marchers across the country. Right now, thousands of activists are hitting the streets coast to coast and around the world.

Marches taking place today in several cities across Europe, activists in London braving the rain to make their voices heard. And in cities in the U.S. from Miami to Las Vegas, the political movement happening at the same time lawmakers are working on Capitol Hill to end a U.S. government shutdown.

You're looking at live pictures right now out of Las Vegas. Organizers hope that they can maintain last year's momentum ahead of the midterm elections with thousands turning out. And now in the middle of these rallies, voter registration drives under way.

CNN correspondents, Sara Sidner and Miguel Marquez are in Las Vegas for us. Let's begin with Miguel who is in the crowd there. Describe the scene.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's a very, very energized crowd. Yesterday was about marches trying to focus and get the energy up. Today, as you can see, is all about getting people together and rallying.

Yesterday has been marches, today has all the feel of a political rally. For the national organization that does these marches, that's exactly what this is, a rally for the entire country right now, trying to focus on those midterm elections.

And the people here just listening to the speakers and coming from all different states here to Nevada to get that organization down and start that process of what they hope is a year when they can take back the House and the Senate. That is the hope from the individuals here -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: All right, Miguel, let's go a few paces away from where you are. Sara Sidner not far from the stage there. You actually talked to one of the organizers of the march, right? What was said? SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Natasha Williams. She talked a lot about what was this year as compared to last year. It's about strategy, it's about battleground states, and it's about getting out the vote. The big thing here is power to the polls.

I want to let you see the crowd that's behind me in Las Vegas. You'll notice a lot of the signs have a lot to do with politics. That is by design. They want people to register. Their big goal that this year they want to register a million people.

And really talking about progressive, they are looking at battleground states, Nevada being one of them, and hoping that they can flip seats. That's what this is all about, trying to get people to come out to the polls.

We're going to hear a lot of different speakers. There is a surprise speaker that a lot of people in the crowd didn't know about, and that is Cher. Cher will be here. We'll also hear music from Faith Evans.

There is also supposed to be some of the U.S. state representatives like John Lewis, but as you know, there has been a shutdown, so there is concern that some of the representatives and senators won't be here.

Senator Warren, for example, Elizabeth Warren, presented a video. Obviously, the shutdown having an impact on this day, but if you ask anybody in the crowd who is responsible for it in this crowd, they blame the GOP and the president.

We talked a little about the president and what the hope is from organizers when it comes to President Donald Trump.


SIDNER: Is the women's march also about trying to remove the president, President Donald Trump?

NANTASHA WILLIAMS, WOMEN'S MARCH ORGANIZER: So, from the beginning we've always said it is not about President Trump. 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.


[14:35:03] SIDNER: And part of that, of course, she says is about flipping seats and there is a seat that will be up for grabs here. Senator Heller's seat, he is a Republican. They are looking at that seat.

They are also looking at Nevada because it is the second state in the country to have the most women who are in political office and they have recognized that, and they want to see more of that -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right. Sara Sidner, Miguel Marquez, they are in Las Vegas. Thanks so much. And we'll be right back.


WHITFIELD: Welcome back. This breaking news in to CNN, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham saying there may be a breakthrough tonight in talks to end the U.S. government shutdown. Ryan Nobles is back with me now on Capitol Hill. So, Ryan, he talked to reporters? What did he say?

[14:40:10] RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right, Fredricka. Senator Graham among a group of about 20 or so, Republicans and Democrats, mostly moderate, in Senator Susan Collins' office right now trying to come up with some sort of a breakthrough as it relates to ending this government shutdown.

Senator Graham gaggled with reporters before he went in the room and he did sound a bit optimistic of where the negotiations are headed. Take a listen to what Senator Graham had to say.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Senator graham, can you tell us about the progress in this bipartisan group?

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Well, more people are interested in a solution. Here's the state of the play. Kind of like a play-by-play for football. Mitch McConnell's proposal to go to February the 8th, with the understanding we will address all issues, including immigration, should be enough to get Democratic support.

I believe if we work together we'll find a solution, but come February 8th, I think we need a commitment that we're going to go to immigration to get this issue solved once and for all. I hope the White House will come on board, but the Senate needs to lead because no one else is.

In terms of the White House, the White House staff I think is making it very difficult. I enjoy working with them, but let me give you two examples of the problem. There was a handout given to the bipartisan group last Tuesday where the president did a masterful job on television for 55 minutes regarding border security.

It was a very detailed border security plan that I could support in phase two but not in phase one. The president looked at it and said, who did this? This is way too much. I did not approve this. Then we also heard the president say that the $18 billion request for border security was too much, I could do it for less.

And I think you can. So, what does the White House staff do a couple days later? They pitch a proposal for 33 billion. That's just not credible. I've talked with the president. His heart is right 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 Steven Miller is in charge, negotiating immigration, we're going nowhere. He's been an outlier for years. There's a deal to be had. DACA plus for more border security funding. I heard Chuck Schumer say that he agreed to wall funding, which I think is absolutely appropriate, and we are going to have to do something with legal immigration increases because we don't have the workers we need.

So, I think there will be a breakthrough tonight. If there's going to be one, it will be tonight. It will go sort of like this. We're going to agree to fund the government until February 8th with the understanding we'll work on all outstanding the issues, including immigration, which is a give for Mitch McConnell.

And if we can't find a resolution, hopefully, we'll turn to immigration in an open process. Rand Paul said something today I agree with. We need to bring immigration bills to the floor and let the Senate work its wheel. We need the president's support. We need the House's support, but somebody has got to lead and I think the Senate is the perfect one to do that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Senator, have you won over any new Democrats, new members that you didn't have on Friday?

GRAHAM: I think more and more Democrats are believing this is not playing well for them. I want to applaud Mitch McConnell for showing a compromise different than the House. I voted no because I thought 30 days was too long. My point was let's pick a shorter period of time, but what good is it to open the government if the government doesn't work?

So what Mitch McConnell has done is made a promise to shorten the time to February the 8th and a commitment that we'll work in a bipartisan fashion on all of the issues, disaster, budget including immigration.

I would my Democratic colleagues to take that. That's the most Mitch can do. March the 5th will be here before you know it. March the 5th, 800,000 DACA recipients lose their legal status and God help the Republican Party if we can't do something reasonable to help them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Senator, are you here to pinch your three-week CR with this open immigration process to the troops in there or are you working with --

GRAHAM: This group is coming together around the idea that nobody (inaudible) government shutdown. This is not about funding the troops or not caring about that. We all care about the troops. We all care about DACA recipients or at least most of us do.

It's trying to find a way to do something other than what the House did. The House sent us over a CR that was too long. General Mattis says CRs are killing the military. I'm only agreeing to a CR of February the 8th because I believe that's enough time to get something done.

The real breakthrough is when Senator McConnell said we're going to include immigration and list the things to do. I couldn't agree more. We're close to five issues that matter around the country. There are plenty of people in that room that want to start working on solving the problem, and the only way you can do that is to open the government.

[14:45:10] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you spoken to President Trump today at all?



NOBLES: So, Fred, some important information relayed there by Senator Lindsey Graham. I do want to point out a couple of important things about what he had to say. He does sound optimistic and he does feel as though he's gotten buy-in from some Democrats and some of his fellow Republicans.

He has said that Senator McConnell is willing to give on a couple of these points, but you know, as much as they are interested in finding agreement among these rank and file members of the Senate.

Until there's buy-in from the leadership, this is really going nowhere and to this point, the only time that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer have even spoke was after they both gave those kind of scorched or speeches on the floor this morning and was only for a very short period of time.

And they essentially said that they are willing to open negotiations. So that's the first point, even though he is optimistic, we have to couch that to a certain extent because of where leaderships stand right now.

The other important aspect of what Senator Graham talked about was the White House's involvement in all of this and specifically the White House staff and the criticism that he gave of Steven Miller, one of the president's top aides, someone that has the ear of the president.

Saying that he is basically causing problems when it comes to these negotiations, and that the president is willing to cut a deal, but Miller and others are getting in his ear and telling him to back away is causing part of the problem.

And you have to wonder, Fred, if this is another example of a member of the United States Senate hoping to reach out to the president through the television airwaves. And plead with him to say, listen, we have the opportunity to make a deal here. Stop listening to your staff and start listening to us. It would be a unique tactic for member of the U.S. Senate to go in that direction.

WHITFIELD: Right. Blistering criticism of the president's staff, and as he was walking away, Lindsey Graham saying, no, he has not spoken with the president, but maybe by way of that chat with reporters there, he has, and he says he thinks more and more Democrats are believing this is not playing well for them.

But he didn't necessarily say when the question was asked, have you brought more Democrats on board, it really does seem like it is a work in progress. But again, Ryan, you're right, it does sound like Senator Graham is rather hopeful or at least optimistic. All right. Thank you so much. We'll check back with you.

Still so much more straight ahead in the NEWSROOM, but first there is a look at this week's NFL difference maker.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: This difference maker is presented by the new 2018 Ford-F150. Now on the field today, Bryan Braman will the 6'5 250 pound-freak of nature for the Philadelphia Eagles. Off the field, he speaks to kids about overcoming adversity.

Before Bryan ever made it to the NFL, he was homeless. He wasn't eating, and he was more concerned about getting his next high than he was about his next workout, a drug addiction nearly ruined his life.


WIRE: Was there a rock bottom moment?

BRYAN BRAMAN, PHILADELPHIA EAGLES: Yes. There had come a time where my drug abuse had exceeded what needed to be. You know, it's very easy to get lost in that world.

WIRE (voice-over): Bryan had an awakening. With regained focus, he fought off his addiction and achieved his dream of making it to the NFL. Now he shares his story, hoping others will learn from his mistakes.

BRAMAN: There are a lot of kids out there that face it on a day-to- day basis. When I learned that, that's when I began to embrace it and instead of me trying to hide it, it became one of my strengths.

And it allowed me to actually speak out about it. I'm happy to know that my kids can eat. They don't have to be hungry. Dad went through all the pain and suffering so that they didn't have to.


WIRE: Bryan told me that his awakening came after he woke up after sleeping two straight days because of a drug bender. He found himself in a room full of addicts who were watching the Super Bowl. The Eagles win today. Bryan will be playing in one instead of sleeping through it.



WHITFIELD: All right. Welcome back. Tonight is a big night for Hollywood as stars gather for the Screen Actors Guild Awards. The 24th annual ceremony honors the best performances in movies and television as chosen by their peers.

And many of this year's top nominees features stories by and about women. Tonight's show comes at the #metoomovement is empowering women to speak against sexual misconduct. Here's CNN's Stephanie Elam with more. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From movies -- to television. The Screen Actors Guild Awards gives Hollywood's top performers the chance to toast those they know best, other actors.

The 24th annual SAG Awards honors the best performances of 2017. "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" is the night's biggest film contender with four nominations. The Francis McDorman-led drama is up for the most coveted award of the evening, outstanding cast performance in a motion picture. It will face off against "The Big Sick," "Get Out," "Ladybird," and "Mud Bound."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: "Three billboards" definitely is the one to beat. You know, it is a really strong ensemble, full of really colorful performances and that's something that always stands out.

ELAM: The tv categories are up in the air with "Big Little Lies," "Glow," and "Stranger Things" all tied with four nominations each. "Stranger Things" won last year's award for outstanding ensemble in a drama series. It is up again this year along with nominees, "The Crown," "Game of Thrones," "This Is Us" and "The Handmade Tail."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know, "The Handmade Tail" was such a prominent part of the (inaudible) guys this year when we're talking about women's rights and the fear of oppression of women, it's just very, very relevant.

[14:55:00] ELAM: At the Golden Globes, celebs wore black and donned time's up pins in support of the "Me Too Movement." With no news of another concerted effort at the SAG Awards, and recent sexual assault allegations against nominees, James Franco and Aziz Ansari, many are wondering how the issue will be addressed during the show.

REBECCA SUN, SENIOR REPORTER, "THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER": I don't think it's going to be all doom and gloom. I think it will be pointed, but I think they really want, especially with, you know, the visibility and presence of women on that stage, it to be more of a celebration.

ELAM: Actors supporting their own with more than just trophies. Stephanie Elam, CNN, Hollywood.


WHITFIELD: All right, we've got so much more straight ahead in the NEWSROOM, and it all starts right after this.