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CNN TONIGHT

Democrats and Republicans Replay of Votes; Sessions Pressuring FBI Director; GOP Considers Releasing Intel Behind Memo Alleging FISA Abuses; Axios: Trump, Sessions Pressuring FBI Head to Fire Deputy Director Andrew McCabe; President Trump Signs Bill Ending Government Shutdown; The Deal Maker In Chief During Shutdown; Shutdown Ends After Dems Get Assurance on Immigration; More Upheaval for White House Staff; Dems and GOP Lawmakers Accuse WH Aide Stephen Miller of Scuttling Immigration Legislation. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired January 22, 2018 - 22:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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[22:00:00] DON LEMON, HOST, CNN: This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon.

So what happened? The federal government shut down for three days throwing Washington into turmoil, and for what exactly. There's no deal on DACA which is suposed to be the democrats lying in the sand, right? It's just Mitch McConnel's, quote, "intention to bring it up."

And a spending bill passed by Congress today and signed by the president tonight, it just kicks the can right down the road funding the government for less than three weeks.

Why did we go through all of this you know what? So who are the winners and who are the losers in all of this? Well, we know the DACA lost, the democrats lost, really the American people. Has anything really changed? And what about the deal-maker in chief? Where has he been and what happens on February 8th? Will we be right back where we started? Stay tuned.

So let's get right to CNN's political correspondent Dana Bash, senior White House correspondent Pamela Brown, political analyst April Ryan. Thank you all so much for joining us. I think those are very legitimate questions. We went through all of this (Inaudible). Pamela for days. We were on -- I was up until 2 a.m. on this network on Friday night of Saturday morning.

Capitol Hill finally got their act together but the big question throughout all of this has been and I asked this on Friday night as well. Where is the president? And on Saturday where is the president?

PAMELA BROWN, JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Right. That is what a lot of people were asking, you know, the self-proclaimed deal maker. He very much stayed behind the scenes. He, we're told by White House officials was making calls that he was busy, that he was making sure that the shutdown went smoothly.

Some White House officials have said that, you know, this need to be about him that there really was no reason for him to be more engaged than he was on Friday when he met with the Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Other sources tell us that there was concern that if the president interjected himself again that it would cause some confusion could hamper any negotiations that were happening on the Hill. And even tonight, Don, he signed the continuing resolution quietly in the residence.

It's clear that he wants to keep a low profile. This is by design. The question is will he play a more active role as we look ahead as republicans and democrats try to hash out an immigration bill. Will he be more active in trying to get it through the House if it does pass in the Senate? Still a lot of questions there, Don.

LEMON: Dana Bash, I want to bring you in. So, what exactly did democrats actually get? Because progressives think they basis pitch, they think that they caved.

DANA BASH, CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Yes. That's an understatement. The democratic base which has been so enraged, so energized and that's one of the reasons aside from the underline policy which democrats and a lot of republicans believe in, keeping the DREAMers in the United States legally, just the political side of that, one of the main reasons that the democrats felt really compelled to fight hard and take it past the brink and allow the government to shut down was because they had the fervor of the base behind them.

And this is no question, this is something that has hurt the democratic leadership in the short term at least with the democratic base. And the reason I use the phrase short-term, Don, is because the hope among Senate democratic leaders, Chuck Schumer in particular I'm told is to take the short-term hit with the base and you know, in the broader sort of political psyche guys in the hopes that at the end of the day that they can get a bill and a promise on a bill that will allow these DREAMers to stay and get it through the Senate.

Now, that's a big gamble particularly since they went, again, they went past the brink with this shutdown. And in the short term it certainly is a political hit that Schumer has had to take, but my understanding is that he had a lot of pressure from the democrats who ended up voting yes.

I mean, it was about 18 or 19 democrats or so who voted no. Many of them are from sort of the progressive wing or have frankly aspirations for running for president in 2020. The majority of the democratic caucus wanted this to end and wanted to find a solution.

LEMON: So here is what Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz says, Dana, that Senate democrats and Schumer got, quote, "the potential, the potential for momentum." I mean, is that a thing? Because didn't they have a promise before?

BASH: Yes.

[22:04:59] LEMON: Didn't all they say that we can talk about this later? Wasn't that exactly what happened before they got to this deal? The language is no different. BASH: No. It's not. And look, I think it's pretty obvious that the

fact that Senator Schumer and his fellow democratic leaders in the Senate decided to cut this shutdown short says a lot about the idea of getting what they wanted by using this shutdown as leverage, by using the bill to fund the government as leverage.

It seemed pretty clear after just a few days that it wasn't going to work and they did get a concession that they hadn't gotten before from the republican leader, from the Senate Majority Leader itch McConnell, which is to put something on the floor with what he called a level playing field, which means, you know, allowing the democrats and republicans to contribute.

And those are for and against whatever the base of this bill that allows the DREAMers to stay to contribute. And if he doesn't do it by that date they'll be able to force it.

LEMON: Yes.

BASH: It's not a huge concession but it is more than he had before.

LEMON: Well, here're the, April, I want to bring you in. Here is the frustration. And I think I'm speaking for the American people. It's not just frustrating, April because democrats didn't get it. It's like why go through this entire process if it...

(CROSSTALK)

APRIL RYAN, SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST, CNN: To go through it again.

LEMON: Yes. To go through it again and for the -- to get the exact same thing. That's what the republicans promised you. That's what Mitch McConnell promised you before you shut the government down. And so if you weren't going to hold out for something that you thought was better if there was no real principal behind this then why take the American people through it? I think that is the frustration and why get your base all riled up thinking, my gosh, democrats are finally standing up and they're strong, they're not going to cave, they're not going to wait for bed at the end of the day like they usually do, and then they end up doing it anyways?

RYAN: You know, I listened to Cedric Richman, the head of the Congressional Black Caucus with Wolf earlier today talking about the message. They just did not get their message out. But it's more than messages, it's exasperation.

Don, we talked about this over and over again. My concern -- not concern but really what I'm looking at more so as a reporter, how is this going to play out in the next 17 days. Because now what will the democrats do to prevent this same kind of situation where everybody is ringing their hands trying to figure out what's going on because the action needs to start now. It should have started years ago.

LEMON: Right.

RYAN: But the issue is you have a White House where the president is strategically staying back and letting Stephen Miller and letting General Kelly be the forefront and Marc Short of Legislative Affairs and the president is hanging back because the winning picture strategically for them is the fact that he doesn't want to be seeing with this.

He wants other people to be seeing with this. Because it doesn't look good for a year anniversary for the president to have a government shutdown. At the same time you got democrats in which republicans trying to figure out where the president is headed because he is moving back and forth and they are trying to operate in good faith.

There is also an issue growing at the White House. I'm hearing that there is upset with General Kelly for what he about the president's sense on immigration when he was campaigning, unfounded. We learned from past experience when people say things about the president he is not happy at all. So we'll see how this all plays out in 17 days.

LEMON: Yes. So Pamela, talk to me about the president's meeting today with republican immigration hard liners because she brought up Stephen Miller and some of the hard liners. It is believed that Stephen Miller and maybe General Kelly are hard lined when it comes to immigration. Republicans immigration hard liners is separately, is separately with two red state democrats. What does that signal?

BROWN: Well, it signals from the White House point of view that look, we are willing to work this out. We said we wouldn't negotiate on immigration while the government was shutdown. Now that it's being reopen we're willing to continue our talks.

I think that's the message that the White House wanted to send today. And so there were this two separate meetings today. In the morning you had meetings with a group of republicans including Senator Cornyn, Tillis, Lankford, Purdue, as well as Senators Cotton and Grassley.

And then later on in the afternoon you had the meetings with the democratic Senators Doug Jones and Manchin as well. In terms of what was accomplished in those meetings it's unclear. The White House said that the focus really was on immigration.

The interesting point is that Manchin, Senators Manchin and Jones really haven't been on the forefront of the immigration issue. So it's sort of unclear what was accomplished. But what is clear here, Don, is that the White House wanted to send a message here today that now that the government is reopening, that they are willing to talk about immigration to get a deal done.

[22:09:59] LEMON: OK. So, Dana, so I think you and both Pamela mentioned that the president maybe it was better that the president didn't get involved because he might muck it up. Who knows?

But was the president intentionally muzzled over the weekend? Did that ultimately help to get a deal? Did it -- I mean, was this probably the best thing for him not to get involved in this?

BASH: You know, was he intentionally muzzled? My experience and all of our experience over the past year is that when people try to intentionally muzzle the president it doesn't work so well.

Having said that, my sense is that he kind of understood the moment and that this was an issue where it didn't go well on Friday as the clock was ticking towards the shutdown when he had Chuck Schumer over. They tried to come up with the deal. Different sides have different stories about what happened, but obviously it didn't work. The government shutdown.

And then Mitch McConnell took over. He wasn't talking to Chuck Schumer, the democratic leader for a day or more. But what did happen, and this is something that should give people hope, because I'd like to try to be optimistic even in times where maybe it's not warranted.

LEMON: It's hard, Dana, it's hard.

BASH: This group -- it's hard. It's hard. But here is a good reason. This group of bipartisan senators, Don, it got up to about 25 of them. They met in republican Senator Susan Collins office for several days in a row.

And my understanding in talking to many of those senators is that it was the goodwill and the desire and the promise for those senators in a bipartisan way to promise to push forward and to be the backstop they called it for dealing with this immigration issue was more of a reason that Chuck Schumer decided, you know what? I'm just going to say uncle on this than it was McConnell's promise on the Senate floor.

And that should be a reason to kind of breathe a little bit of sigh of relief because it was adults finally showing up in the room, putting their big boy and big girl pants on and trying to get things done which we are sorely lacking these days.

LEMON: I'm glad you said it. I'm just tired. Thank you, April -- I know. All of you, I mean, we've worked so many hours. It's just frustrating that this all could have been resolved earlier without having to take the American people through this big song and dance.

Thank you. I appreciate it.

(CROSSTALK)

RYAN: But Don, the same issues are still on the table.

LEMON: Still on the table. And we'll be covering it.

RYAN: The same issues are still on the table. Yes.

LEMON: Thank you. See you guys soon. When we come back, did democrats lose their best chance to get a DACA deal? I'll talk to democratic Senator Ben Cardin. He says his party will hold Mitch McConnell to his word. But is an intention to take up a bill, is that enough?

[22:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: So did Senate democrats who voted to end the government shut down today lose their best chance for a DACA deal? Let's discuss now. Joining me one of the democrats who voted yes, to

Senator Ben Cardin is a Mary land democrat. Senator, why did you guys cave?

BEN CARDIN, (D) UNITED STATES SENATOR: Well, Don, we have to get something done. If you go back to the beginning of this the republicans came in with a five week continuing resolution with no hope that anything would be done in those five weeks particularly as it related to the DREAMers.

We needed to get action. We can't run government on continuing resolutions. As a result of this last 48 hours we now see action on getting a budget done in the next three weeks, less than three weeks, and we have a commitment to bring a DREAMer bill to the floor of the United States Senate. And now...

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Senator, can I ask you.

CARDIN: .. we had a lot of bipartisan discussion. We're optimistic.

LEMON: Did you have -- but wasn't this the same thing -- this was the same thing that was on the table on Friday that they said it wasn't eminent and to not hold the government, you know, hostage and you could have allowed this continuing resolution or what have you and then get to DACA in February and they would do it. What is -- there is no difference from Friday.

CARDIN: First of all -- first of all, democrats want government open. We don't want the government close down. It's not right that federal workers...

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: I understand that. I understand that. Senator, with all due respect, but my question is...

CARDIN: And secondly, we did...

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: ... what is different from Friday? Why is this, why is Monday any different from Friday? The exact same thing was on the table on Friday before the government was shut down.

CARDIN: It was not. We had no commitment that we would have a DREAMer bill on the floor on the way that it could in fact pass in the right format.

LEMON: Do you have a strong commitment now?

CARDIN: We always that...

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: There is no strong commitment.

CARDIN: We do. We have a commitment.

LEMON: He said they intend. He said he intends to do. There is an intention. There's no nothing.

CARDIN: Look, the American people want us to deal with the DREAMers. They understand that. Overwhelming majority, we have lots of republicans who are supporting on this in addition to democrats. Mitch McConnell made a commitment on the floor of the United States Senate. We're going to hold him to that commitment.

Look, we know it's going to be a challenge. But we have to fight to make sure that we protect the DREAMers to part of this country and we're going to do everything we can to protect them.

LEMON: OK. Let's talk about commitments then. And I want to know, again, still the same question. Why is this any different? Because in January 2017, all right, the president said he was going to take care of kids who were on DACA. September 5th of this year he officially ended the DACA program. September 13th he agreed to a deal with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer to legalize the DACA program in exchange for border security.

Then on December 7th, democrats agreed to a two-week spending measure that did -- that doesn't legalize DREAM that gave Congress time to compromise. December 20th, democrats agreed to another stopgap spending measure without DACA. January of this year in a televised meeting, the president promised a clean bill. He said he would sign whatever come across his desk -- came across his desk. He didn't do that.

And then on January 18th you guys refused to vote on a spending bill without DREAMers. What is different? What is different about this time that you have been promised before that you were going to get DACA, they're going to bring DACA, and it did not happen.

So, what gives you now the confidence that they are actually going to do it when they haven't done it just these one, two, three, four, five, six times before. And that's just from 2017. It doesn't include all of the other times that it came up to be voted on.

[22:20:04] CARDIN: Don, I have very little confidence in the president on this issue. I will very much acknowledge that he has changed his mind so many times. The last person who talks with him, he is the one who has created this problem by setting the six month target on DACA children being subject to deportation.

Where the only confidence we have is in the Congress. The United States Senate is -- we had a bipartisan group that's prepared to move on a bill that will protect the DREAMers. We also have the people in this country. Americans don't want to see us rip families apart and take people who have been part of this country and tell them they no longer welcomed in America. These are children.

These are people who are adding to our -- we think the political pressure will be sufficient and we plan to stand with the DREAMers and to demand that Mitch McConnell live up to his commitment. We will...

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: OK. I get what you're saying.

CARDIN: The February 9 is the deadline for the bill to be on the floor.

LEMON: I get what you're saying. But are you concerned at all that this is going to backfire with your base? Because you know your base is -- your base is upset. They wanted you to hold out. They wanted finally that, you know, this is them talking, democrats to have some backbone.

Here's what -- this is what Matt Viser. He said to Matt Viser with the Boston Globe. He said "Democrats have manage to see republican demands demoralized their energized base, give a disengender, excuse me -- disengaged, I should say, excuse me -- president a win and look like they held a meaningless three-day government shutdown all at once. Did you do more harm than good?

CARDIN: Well, you have got to help the DREAMers. You have got to get this done. We know that the American people are with us on this. We also know that the American people did not want to see government shut down.

So it is a concern as to a shutdown would have lasted for a lengthy period of time where would be the American people be on this issue. That's a concern. We think we are in good shape with popular support for this because it's the right thing to get done.

We also need a budget, by the way. We need a budget. We can't continue to operate on continuing resolutions. And we think we are in better shape on both of those issues today than we were two days ago.

LEMON: Senator, we thank you for coming. We welcome you back any time.

CARDIN: Thank you.

LEMON: Thank you. When we come back, breaking news. Axios reporting that President Trump was personally involved in trying to push out the deputy FBI director. How Director Christopher Wray responded and the attorney general's reported role in all of this. We'll be right back.

[22:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Our breaking news tonight reporting that Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been pressuring the director of the FBI to fire the deputy director that the public urging President Trump, we're told.

Joining me now, Jim Sciutto, CNN chief national security correspondent, and Phil Mudd, CNN counterterrorism analyst and a former FBI senior intelligence adviser. Gentlemen, thank you for joining us. New out tonight from Axios, a reporting that Attorney General Jeff

Sessions has pressured FBI Director Christopher Wray to fire Deputy Director Andrew McCabe revolt at this reportedly threaten to resign if McCabe was removed. Who do you -- what do you both think of this report? First to you, Phil Mudd.

PHILIP MUDD, COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST, CNN: This is painful. I know Andrew McCabe personally. When I serve at the FBI under Director Mueller for four and a half years Andy was, I would say one of the better officers I saw in terms of integrity and brains. But there is a different question regardless of what I think of him personally.

The question is, if you're in the federal service you're required to take steps every year to certify that you're not involved in the political process, in other words, that you don't participate in campaigning for any particular candidate.

If you're a federal official, Don, I got one question for you. Does that mean that your spouse, in this case, Andy McCabe's spouse because that's what the issue is here, is not allowed to campaign for democratic office if you serve for a republican president, does that mean you have to tell your family that you can't participate in the American democracy because you chose the federal service as your career path?

I don't understand why you would ask him to be fired. Tell me one thing that Andy McCabe has done in this investigation that's wrong beyond his spouse participating in the electoral process by serving as a candidate. I don't get it, Don.

JIM SCIUTTO, CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT, CNN: And to be clear, Don, his wife served, she ran, she lost and it was only two months later that McCabe appointed deputy director at which point for the first time he had some oversight to the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation.

That's the essential charge here is Trump making really a baseless accusation that McCabe's participation and leadership in that, or management rather in that investigation was compromise because his wife two months before lost the state Senate race in Virginia.

And I should also note that when his wife did run McCabe sought out guidance from the FBI inspector general for what he should do and shouldn't do. They gave him some guidelines. He followed those guidelines.

So here you have the current FBI director, according to Axios, draw a line in the sand, saying I'm not going to fire the deputy director. I don't see cause even when it reportedly received pressure from the Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

LEMON: A number of things to get to. Jim, I want to ask you about this. We have new information also tonight about a classified memo from House intelligence committee Devin Nunes. What can you tell us?

SCIUTTO: So this is another case. He's got to watch out for the politics here versus the substance behind this. So Devin Nunes has been pushing out this classified memo that he said shows that the FBI acted possibly illegally during the Russia investigation in seeking a FISA warrant from a special FISA court to monitor Carter Page who was a mid-level campaign adviser for Trump during the 2016 election.

Now it appears that Devin Nunes' claim is that this FISA warrant was based on that now famous dossier compiled by the former British agent, et cetera, and that in doing so in effect they got the warrant based on democratically funded research.

[22:29:58] Now the fact is this, one, CNN's own reporting is that the FBI had its own intelligence to back up this warrant request. And let's be fair. And Phil Mudd know this better than me seeing he's ensure of an actual supervisory role in the FBI. The FBI is not going to go to the FISA court just for the document produced by somebody else from this Fusion GPS memo.

They are going to come with their own goods. And whether or not that memo was mentioned in the warrant request is another question, but it appears that Nunes is making the argument that this shows that they based this entire FISA warrant and therefore the surveillance during the Russia investigation, during the campaign, on a democratically- funded dossier.

It just doesn't seem at this point that the facts stand up. We haven't seen the memo. It may have something else in there. But at this point, I'll defer Phil here as to whether the FBI would seek out such a warrant based entirely on outside-produced research.

DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT SHOW HOST: I think your question is a very good one. Let me ask you, Phil, you can respond to all of it. Is this all about undermining Mueller and protecting the president?

PHILIP MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: This is not about what the FBI did. This is about supporting the president to say if Mueller comes up with further indictments that point towards the White House, let's undermine them by saying the White House based some of its intelligence collection on inappropriate methods.

Let me take you inside the room for a moment. I have been in front of FISA Court judges in my career. Let me tell you how this works. You're suggesting that dozens or hundreds of FBI agents are participating in a conspiracy to go to the other side of government message.

Let me tell you how this works. You're suggesting that dozens are participating in a conspiracy to go to the other side of government. In this case, the judicial branch, judges, based on information collected by a former British intelligence officers who has sources, who has sub-sources in Russia.

In other words, you're three or four steps removed (ph) from the information on Russia. And you're going to go in front of a judge and say, I want to listen to somebody's telephone or read their e-mail based on that information? A, I don't buy it.

And B, what Devin Nunes is saying is, not only is the FBI wrong, he is also suggesting that the judges who reviewed the FBI applications, that read some of these e-mails, just rubber stamped it and said that's OK. That's a conspiracy. I don't believe, Don. It's nonsense.

LEMON: Jim, how would this memo be released? Will it be public?

SCIUTTO: Well, that's what they are trying to do. Listen, it is a classified memo, right? You would need to go through a long labyrinthine declassification process to get it out. In effect, Republicans led by Devin Nunes want to jump start that process.

They can use somewhat obscure rules to do that in which case the White House would then have by these rules five days to object to that and of course, if this is in the president's interest, to get this out there. Perhaps, the White House wouldn't stand in the way.

In other words, there are tools that could be used to jump start this and put out what is otherwise classified information. And it appears that there is some political will behind that. We will see if it happens.

LEMON: Yes. But, Phil, if the FBI did -- and I understand what your explanation was, you're saying this involves hundreds of people.

MUDD: Yes.

LEMON: A lot of people. But if the FBI did improperly use a FISA warrant, that is critical information, right? Isn't it? I mean, doesn't the public have a right to know about it?

MUDD: They do, but there is a couple basic questions that you have to answer first before you have some congressman without corresponding with his people across the aisle, that is a Republican talking to the Democrats, before that person goes and releases to the public. Let me give you a couple of examples.

The inspectors general at federal agency, I know this is boring, but it's important, inspector general for Department of Justice doesn't answer to the FBI and doesn't answer to the Department of Justice. They answer to the Congress. If you want to determine what happened at the Department of Justice or FBI, you go and ask the inspector general, hey, go look under the carpet. Did they do something inappropriate?

Second question, why don't you go to the judges on the FISA Court and say, did you inappropriately sign a warrant? Why do you not talk to the Democrats and say, do we have a bipartisan view on this? Why don't you ask the FNI what their policies and procedures are for determining when they should read somebody's e-mail?

I think Devin Nunes is saying, I want to bypass everyone of those standard steps because I want to talk to the American people first. I've got some cookbooks and I think it's better instead of going through the process to give the Americans cookbook. This is pretty simple. It's politics.

LEMON: What are Democrats saying about this, Jim? SCIUTTO: Well, they're saying -- Adam Schiff, for instance, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said that this is misleading. It is incomplete picture of the intelligence used behind this warrant, behind the FBI's counterintelligence investigation of Russian interference in the election.

They are saying it's misleading and incomplete. To be clear, let's be frank here, beyond the surveillance of Carter Page, the FBI investigation of Russian interference in the election was enormous. It was far beyond Carter Page and far beyond frankly

[22:35:00] the question of whether anyone connected to Trump cooperated with, colluded with, or was open to cooperating or colluding with Russia. They were looking at Russian interference, Russian infiltration on a whole host of level. So, any argument here that this entire investigation was somehow built and based on this one dossier just doesn't stand up to the facts.

LEMON: All right. Thank you, gentlemen. I appreciate it.

MUDD: Thank you.

LEMON: When we come back, the president standing on the sidelines during the government shutdown, letting Congress take the lead on negotiations. But shouldn't Trump, the deal maker make have been able to make a deal to prevent a shutdown?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Here is a breaking news tonight. There is reporting tonight that Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been pressuring the director of the FBI to fire the deputy director, that at the urging -- at the public urging of the president. I want to talk about this with CNN political commentator Joan Walsh and CNN contributor Salena Zito.

Joan, I want to get your response first. Let me make it very clear about who these people are. This is Axios who is reporting this tonight. Attorney General Jeff Sessions pressuring the director of the FBI,

[22:40:00] Christopher Wray, to fire Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. Axios says that Wray threatened to resign if McCabe was removed. What do you think?

JOAN WALSH, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, good for Wray. I mean, this is his first big test, but, you know, we have already had what looks to be obstruction of justice with the president firing James Comey. The idea that Jeff Sessions would even contemplate this to go down to McCabe who -- they are upset that his wife got some money from the Democratic Party when she ran for officer in Virginia.

It was a long time ago. He recused himself. He was very above board. There are a series of e-mails where you see everything and all of the steps that he took to insulate himself from case that would matter. He is a person of incredible integrity. If you read the e-mail trail about recusal, et cetera, I am talking about Andrew McCabe, you see a person who is striving to do the right thing.

The way they have slimed him in the first place is horrible. And the idea that they would seek to get rid of him and that Jeff Sessions, after all he has been through, would go along is very disturbing.

LEMON: It has been said that the White House was concerned. They said they were concerned about how this would play in the media. They said understandably they were gun shy after the Comey debacle. They didn't want that scene. So, McCabe remains because they didn't want another scene after the Comey debacle.

WALSH: They shouldn't.

LEMON: Celina, what are your thoughts on the report?

SALENA ZITO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I'm right with Joan. I think McCabe has shown -- there has been a paper trail. It's not that we don't know how he behaved in the lead-up to his wife running. I think maybe that the president could have been able to do this had he not fired Comey. But that is sort of negated in the ability to have McCabe leave. And it appears based on what you're saying that they just decided to leave this alone, is that my understanding?

LEMON: Yes.

ZITO: Because of what happened with Comey?

LEMON: Yes, I'll read the quote to you. It says, Wray's resignation under those circumstances would have created a media firestorm. The White House understandably gun shy after the Comey debacle didn't want that scene so McCabe remains.

ZITO: And that's wise.

LEMON: Yes.

ZITO: I think that's very wise.

LEMON: Yes. But it may not be the end of this because you never know --

WALSH: It's never the end.

ZITO: You never know.

LEMON: I want to switch gears and I want to talk about the shutdown download which is on everybody's mind right now. President Trump loves to brag about his deal making abilities. It's one of his favorite lines. Watch this.

(START VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I am going to make the great deals.

I am going to make great deals for our country.

I built an extraordinary business on relationships and deals that benefit all parties involved, always.

I make deals. I negotiate.

Everybody wants me to negotiate that's why I am known as a negotiator.

I am so anxious to negotiate.

Nobody can out negotiate these deals.

I will make a great deal and lots of great deals for the American people.

We don't make great deals anymore, but we will once I become president.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Salena, you're on the program on Friday. I kept wondering, where is the president? Where is the leadership here? Lawmakers from both parties complained about his lack of involvement in this process. Where was the master deal maker Trump?

ZITO: I just want you to know that I'm a terrible deal maker. I'm the person who always picks the wrong line in the bank, right? So, you know, look, one of the things that I have said, I have said this on this show, one of the things that would always sort of turn Trump's supporters away from him is if he became part of the swamp.

And so as I watched like the past few days play out, I have wondered if he made the conscious decision like, you know, I said I was the deal maker, but if I get in this swamp, this is not going to help me.

So he wisely stepped back, I think, in terms of -- if we want to talk about him wanting to hold on to his base and he let the establishment go at it and make their mistakes and shut the government down and he was kind of nowhere to be found.

Well, it doesn't play into his deal maker, you know, profile that he has built up about himself. It does keep him out of the entanglements of the swamp. And I will tell you this. I have gone around and I have talked to a lot of people about this. You know, maybe the Democrats face more problems from this. I think this is status quo. I don't think that there is --

LEMON: You don't think it has a big impact on anything?

ZITO: I don't think it has a big pact. And part of it is because we are drinking out of a fire hose every day with news, right?

LEMON: Oh, really? You don't say that.

[22:45:00] I got to get Joan in this.

ZITO: No, really, honestly. LEMON: The White House officials tell CNN that President Trump hadn't spoken to Democrats because some in the administration thought that it might complicate their sort of blame the Democrats narrative?

WALSH: Sure.

LEMON: How do you see this?

WALSH: Well, I have to take issue with one thing Salena said when she said he might have done this wisely. Because he doesn't do anything wisely. And I think the only reason they got a deal, which I don't think is a great deal for Democrats, you know, we can talk about that later -- the only reason he got a deal is because he was sidelined.

We saw a situation in the last two weeks, Don, where he wanted to pass a bill of love and he was going to sign anything, he was gong to take the heat, and he gets back to the Oval Office and Stephen Miller and John Kelly are waiting there with the switch to spank him.

And then that happened again. He reached some kind of accommodation with Chuck Schumer over hamburgers and Chuck is offering money to build the wall, and he thinks -- he didn't say they had a deal, but they were getting closer.

And then President John Kelly picked up the phone and got a back deal with Schumer. So it looked like to me that they were keeping him hidden away in the Oval Office, you know, with his desk clear, talking on the phone with his mega hat looking like a little toddler playing at daddy's desk. I don't think that he chose that wisely. I think they (INAUDIBLE) over there.

LEMON: I was going to say vice president Stephen Miller but maybe (INAUDIBLE) because they're both --

WALSH: I can't decide, yes. It's hard.

LEMON: All right. I want both of you to stick with me. When we come back, Donald Trump was known for running his business by keeping his staff on their toes and competing for his attention. I want to ask you all, if running the White House as he doing at the same way, is that an effective way to govern?

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LEMON: Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle blaming the top White House aide Stephen Miller for holding up progress on immigration legislation. That was a key factor to government shutdown. But the White House is pushing back.

Press Secretary Sarah Sanders saying, Stephen is not here to push his agenda. He is here to push the president's agenda like everybody else in this building. We are doing our best to carry out what the president has laid out and to implement and communicate his principles and Stephen is no different on that front than anyone else.

Back now with Joan Walsh and Salena Zito. We will get to that. I just want to continue on a little bit more with this Axios reporting and about some of the chaos in the White House. The former FBI director, James Comey, sort of sub-tweeting and trolling the president tonight in his writing.

He said, good to read reports of people standing up for what they believe in. The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

Obviously, that is from Martin Luther King Jr.

WALSH: Yes.

LEMON: But again --

WALSH: That's an attaboy to Christopher Wray.

LEMON: Is it?

WALSH: Like, hang in there, yes, dude. Because he is basically saying, you know, it's great from the reporting that you said you would quit if they tried to make you fire Andrew McCabe. That's how I read it.

LEMON: Yes. And because now such -- there has been such an effort to undermine institutions, especially the institution of the FBI.

WALSH: Right.

LEMON: I think James Comey is just standing up for them. Joan, let's talk -- just get on and talk about Stephen Miller.

WALSH: My favorite topic.

LEMON: Getting same kind of headlines that upset President Trump. Remember when, you know, they applied it to Bannon? Headlines like The Daily Beast said, President Miller's Shutdown. Business Insider reports that some now referring to Miller as President Stephen Miller. You refer to him as President Stephen Miller as well. President John Kelly, this is from Esquire. President John Kelley or Co-President Stephen Miller.

WALSH: Yes.

LEMON: The same thing.

WALSH: You know, take your choice.

LEMON: How damning are these headlines? You think that they are damning for Miller or John Kelley?

WALSH: I think they are definitely are. I mean, I think John Kelly is already in trouble with the president. He thinks of him as kind of scold. He thinks, you know, he keeps him from having fun. There's a report out tonight in Vanity Fair by Gabe Sherman who has really great sources in the White House and conservative media that Ivanka is already out looking for --

LEMON: Replacement.

WALSH: -- John Kelley replacement. And so I think these headlines about President Kelley or President Miller undermine both of them because we know that the president -- one of the reasons he got sick of Steve Bannon was the perception that Bannon was running the show. He does not like that. And given he already had tension with Kelley, you know, I think that's tough.

He seems to like Steve Miller. He seems to -- they seem to have some kind of affinity. I don't really know what it is. But he and Kelley kind of chafe, but he and Miller are more comfortable.

LEMON: Time magazine ran a thing that said, you know, president are the most important person in Washington for Kelley or Miller, that would truly be the end?

WALSH: That would be the end for Kelly. Miller might get a talking- to. You know, have to lay low for a while.

LEMON: So, Salena, who influences President Trump the most? Is it the person who has his ear last? Because this administration came into office and it's been -- since they've been here, it has been tumultuous from the start. A lot of staffers are seemingly in the doghouse with this president.

ZITO: Yes. I mean, I don't know the ins and outs of what's going on in the White House. All I see is the reports. But it does seem -- and this isn't new for Trump. This is always who he has been in that he's always been, you know, sort of takes and observes from a variety of different people.

But the pattern of behavior has shown that the last person that has had his ear has typically, it's resonated or lasted, you know, had the most immediate impact. And there was one other president that I know of in history that had that same sort of reactionary way of governing and that was FDR who always kept his -- the members of his staff and cabinet sort of always at odds with each other, nobody trusted anybody else.

And he also was very influenced by the last person that he talked to. But of course, we don't have sort of the transparency and the leaking then that we have now, where we know every -- we seemingly know everything that happens in this White House, even when the White House doesn't want us to know it.

LEMON: Joan, let's talk about the president's

[22:55:00] management style, because we've heard about the bickering and you just talked about it between his chief of staff and him and John Kelley. Michael D'Antonio who is off and on our show says President Trump's management style, that he always has the power of firing at the table. But he doesn't really like to fire people, like his character, the character that he played on "The Apprentice," he has trouble with that. WALSH: He has trouble with firing people. He likes to have other people do it. He also likes to keep people, I think, uncomfortable. So I think John Kelley kind of knows he's twisting, a few months ago it was Jeff Sessions. Jeff Sessions was going to be out of there any day. There have been rumors about McMaster, that he doesn't like McMaster. But they keep hanging on somehow.

LEMON: Is that his way of saying, it's my way of how you better learn?

WALSH: I think that's part of it. Some of them do learn and some of them -- I think Kelley started out bolder and then pulled himself in. I don't know where he's going now. But the thing is on immigration That's a place where John Kelley and Stephen Miller really are -- they have the same point of view on immigration. They really are hardliners in that White House.

And so they are -- they're actually acting out of their own interests. Where as I think the president, I think he's a hardliner as well, but when he gets in there with Chuck and Nancy or Lindsey Graham, he wants people to like him. So, he likes the idea on a certain level of helping the DACA kids. They're good kids.

But then he gets back and he talks to them and he remembers, we don't even want legal immigration. We want to do away with family reunification. We want to do away with the visa diversity lottery. It's like he's really not just captive to them, but I think he's taken on their world view that we really need to be a smaller, whiter country.

LEMON: Thank you both. Thank you, Salena as well. I appreciate it. When we come back, much more on our breaking news tonight. The report that President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions pressuring the director of the FBI to fire the deputy director.

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