Return to Transcripts main page


Senate to Vote on Plan to Reopen Government; Trump Calls for Nuclear Option to End Shutdown; Poll: Americans Want DREAMers Protected, Government to Reopen. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired January 22, 2018 - 06:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nobody wins in a government shutdown. Too many people are hurt.

[05:59:47] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The government shutdown entering day three.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), MINORITY LEADER: It was the Republicans' job to govern. It was their job to lead. They have failed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I had no idea the Democrats in the Senate were this dysfunctional.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the blame game is ridiculous.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: Stop victimizing the American people and get back to work on their behalf.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He should, instead of throwing tweets, pull together the four leaders of the House and the Senate, and negotiate.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: As long as Stephen Miller is in charge of negotiating immigration, we're going nowhere.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I will not be lectured about what our military needs by a five-deferment draft dodger.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have soldiers fighting for us who will not be getting paid. This is ridiculous.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is your NEW DAY. It is Monday, January 22, 6 a.m. here in New York. And Alisyn is off. And Poppy Harlow once again determined, here, helpful.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Without a Vikings win, but I am here and proud of my team.

CUOMO: Life is ups and downs. You're going to have the biggest win that you and your husband hope for.

HARLOW: True. Very soon.

CUOMO: Just a few weeks. It's great to have Poppy.

HARLOW: Good to be here.

CUOMO: Up first, the shutdown of the U.S. government enters day three. In just hours, the Senate will hold a procedural vote on a plan to reopen the government and fund it for three weeks. But the deep divisions over the fate of DREAMers failing to produce any compromise.

Now, there's a major problem we'll address this morning. We don't know what the specific issues are that are keeping the parties apart. Why aren't lawmakers telling us more? We will push for answers.

Now, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he is willing to start debating immigration legislation if there's no agreement by February 8. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer wants a firmer commitment.

HARLOW: So where has President Trump been all weekend in all this? He's largely remained on the sidelines of the heated negotiations. He's calling on McConnell to trigger the nuclear option if the stalemate continues, meaning it would only need 51 votes to get this thing through. It's not going to happen. Both parties accusing the other of politicizing the shutdown as hundreds of thousands of federal workers will be furloughed today.

We have it all covered. Let's begin with our Suzanne Malveaux. She joins us live on Capitol Hill. So any progress at this 6:01 a.m. hour?

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT: People are sleeping on it, Poppy, but no progress yet. As you've mentioned, hundreds of thousands of federal workers around the country are furloughed, told not to come into work, their paychecks delayed.

This while members of Congress go back to work to try to figure this out, to restart the government. Over the weekend, you had a bipartisan group of senators who are trying to come up with a plan. There was a vote that was scheduled for 1 in the morning. Well, that was scrapped after it was determined they did not have enough lawmakers to actually pass it.


MCCONNELL (voice-over): Well, let's step back from the brink. Let's start victimizing the American people and get back to work on their behalf.

MALVEAUX (voice-over): The government shutdown entering day three, after Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer rejected a proposal that would fund the government for three weeks in exchange for a commitment from the GOP leadership to take up a separate future vote on immigration and the DREAMers.

SCHUMER: We've had several conversations. Talks will continue, but we have yet to reach an agreement on a path forward that would be acceptable for both sides.

MALVEAUX: A top Democratic aide tells CNN that Schumer did not think the majority leader gave a firm enough commitment to bring the immigration proposal to a vote, pointing to McConnell's vague language.

MCCONNELL: It would be my intention to resolve these issues as quickly as possible. It would be my intention to proceed to legislation that would address DACA, border security, and related issues.

MALVEAUX: Majority Whip John Cornyn says that he's optimistic the Senate will vote today to break the impasse, adding that Schumer sought to push back the vote to give his caucus a chance to chew on the GOP proposal.

But a top Democratic leadership aide disputes this claim, telling CNN they expect Monday's vote will fall short of the 60 votes needed to reopen the government.

SEN. JEFF FLAKE (R), ARIZONA: There's enough blame to go around. I hope that we can move from that and just find a way to open the government back up.

MALVEAUX: Republican senators Flake and Graham, who both voted against a continuing resolution Friday, announced Sunday they will now vote in favor of the three-week proposal, meaning says Republicans needs they have a shot of picking off Democrats to move forward.

Five red-state Democrats who voted against shutting down the government Friday joined with a bipartisan group of moderate lawmakers who worked furiously over the weekend negotiating the compromised deal.

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: We recognize that ultimately it is the decision of Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer as to how to proceed. And we're not trying to preempt that, but we are trying to be helpful in showing them that there is a path forward

MALVEAUX: Senator Graham pointing fingers at the White House over the impasse.

GRAHAM: The White House staff has been pretty unreliable. As long as Stephen Miller is in charge of negotiating immigration, we're going nowhere. He's been an outlier for years.


MALVEAUX: Deputy White House press secretary firing back at Graham, saying as long as Graham is on the side of those in the country illegally and not U.S. citizens, that we're going nowhere in terms of negotiations, is important to note there was some progress that was made. McConnell giving up the requirement to send any immigration bill to the president first before presenting it to the Senate floor.

[06:05:19] And Schumer also offering to fund the president's border wall in exchange for protection for the DREAMers. So we'll see if there's any additional progress this morning. Those Senate talks resuming in about four hours -- Chris.

CUOMO: All right, Suzanne. If Senator Graham keeps talking like that, there's going to be a shutdown of those golf invitations. Also, that the president was bringing his way. But the senator is right about one thing. The White House has been resistant, digging in, refusing to discuss the deal on DREAMers until Democrats vote to reopen the government.

President Trump calling on Senator McConnell to use the nuclear option if the stalemate continues. CNN's Kaitlan Collins live at the White House with more. Is that idea getting any traction?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's something that's been roundly rejected by Republicans here, Chris, but the question that everyone is asking this morning, is where has the president been over the weekend as these negotiations between Democrats and Republicans continue.

Because Trump, who fashioned himself as a deal maker in chief, was largely absent from a lot of these negotiations as they played out over the weekend on Capitol Hill and into the night late last night. But the White House's messaging has been out in full force, with a lot of the White House aides pinning the blame for the shutdown solely on Democrats, labeling it the "Schumer shutdown." And that messaging has even trickled down to the White House's voice messaging system.


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 an unrelated immigration debate. Due to this obstruction, the government is shut down.


COLLINS: But this raises the question of what has the president done to break up the stalemate between Republicans and Democrats, because he has not appeared in public since the government shut down. He has not held a meeting or a meeting at the White House since Friday. And his only tweet, a few tweets about the shutdown are about breaking that filibuster rule, something that Republicans have rejected.

So all eyes will be on the president here at the White House today to see if he continues to be on the third floor of the White House, in the residence, tweeting, making calls and watching television, or if he gets more involved in these negotiations here, Poppy.

HARLOW: I think they may need one of those bipartisan meetings that they so famously had on camera a few weeks ago. Thank you, Kaitlan. So what is on the negotiating table as we are just hours away from

what should be this key vote in the Senate, if it happens? Who takes the lion's share of the blame if the government shutdown drags on? We're going to debate it next.


[06:11:29] CUOMO: All right. So we do know that the lawmakers have been holed up this week. They've been negotiating or not negotiating. But they've been there.

However, they failed to reach a deal Sunday night, so there was no vote on ending the shutdown. So it goes into day three. But everything gets much more real on Monday morning. There's going to be a lot more forbearance and be a lot more pain for American people.

So in just hours, the Senate will supposedly hold a procedural vote to reopen the government and funded for three weeks. Does Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have the 60 votes he needs?

Let's discuss. We have CNN political analyst John Avlon and David Gregory.

So, David, what are you hearing about the chances of this being a sooner rather than later end to the shutdown, and why is there so little specifics from either side about what the actual points of contention are?

DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think the issue to look for today is whether Democrats have been appeased by the majority leader saying that we can decouple these issues, funding the government, dealing with DACA and that they'll get to DACA on the question of border security immediately after clearing this hurdle.

The question mark is about the president, where the president is, where his advisers are, what they'll actually sign onto. And I think there's enough Democrats who -- who were not assuaged by McConnell's assurances into the night that he was going to follow through.


GREGORY: So I think that's the issue here. But I think Democrats, whatever pain there may be, political and otherwise, they are feeling like, you know, their political base is going to be satisfied with the fact that they're holding firm on this issue of DACA.

JOHN AVLON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Unless there are red state Democrats up for reelection in 2018. And look, there are 20 senators in the center who are trying to come up with a solution, who are meeting separate from leadership to come up with a compromise.

But you know, to David's point, you don't only have the question mark in the Oval Office, you've got a question mark about Mitch McConnell's credibility with Democrats. And he notably, in his statement last night, kept using the phrase it is my intention. Well, that's sort of Washington's version of a used car salesman. You

know, that's not a commitment. That's floating something. And there's a lot of bad blood. So the question will be, really, for those red-state Democrats, and they take the leap of faith to kick the can, effectively, for three more weeks in the hopes of getting a comprehensive deal done.

HARLOW: And you wanted--

GREGORY: And there's also a discussion of whether the president gets involved not only more directly in the negotiations. You saw the flurry of activity that didn't come to anything, and he's got hardline aides--

CUOMO: Who is saying that's what they need?

POPPY: Jeff Flake is saying that's what we don't need.

GREGORY: Right. But the other issue is whether this key question, you know, McConnell has been saying, "I'm not going to allow a vote on DACA until I know where the president is on this."

Jeff Flake saying over the weekend, the senator from Arizona, now he's -- McConnell has come off of that. Will -- in the Senate, in the House, will they allow this as a bipartisan matter to move forward on the question of the DREAMers, on the question of border security independent of where the White House is.

HARLOW: John Avlon, what about concessions made over the weekend? Chuck Schumer saying that the president, OK, fine, I'll give 20 billion towards the wall if you do this. There was the confusion over appropriation, et cetera, and the language there. But that's a big gift for Democrats.

AVLON: There is a huge misconception by -- by Schumer and by Congressman Gutierrez on the wall in order to save the DREAMers, so to speak. So that is a huge concession for Democrats against their base.

[06:15:08] Devil obviously being in the details. Questions about chain migration, visa lottery, things that a lot of the hardliners inside the administration take really seriously.

But on a top level, the deal's going to get done between something for the DREAMers and something for the wall or border security.

CUOMO: Right. OK. So that's good. Hold it right here. Let's take a quick break. Because here's what we now know. All right. Yes, the Democrats are giving the wall. But why would they give the wall? We know that the president is going to call it a wall, no matter how less -- little of a wall there is. And let's be honest: the shutdown, as bad as it is for you and arguably somewhat bad for them, there's an upside. And they're both playing politics with the shutdown. They're both playing it to political advantage.

The proof, a controversial new TV ad claiming Democrats are complicit in murders committed by undocumented immigrants. So much for the bill of love. The politicizing of the shutdown, next.


[06:20:11] President Trump's reelection campaign releasing a controversial understated new ad. It claims the Democrats are complicit in the murders committed by undocumented immigrants, all of them. Listen to this.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's illegal immigrant Luis Bracamontes, charged with murdering two police officers.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's pure evil. President Trump is right. Build the wall. Deport criminals. Stop illegal immigration now.

Democrats who stand in our way will be complicit in every murder committed by illegal immigrants. President Trump will fix our border and keep our families safe.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm Donald Trump, and I approve this message.


HARLOW: Let's discuss the politicization of all of this. Back with us, John Avlon, David Gregory.

John Avlon, to you. Is this politics at its worst, while hundreds of thousands of Americans aren't going to work today?

AVLON: That ad is so ugly, even by contemporary political standards. Literally, they say in that ad Democrats will be complicit in every murder committed by illegal immigrants. OK? So, A, creating fear, the politics of fear, around illegal immigration. Two, literally accusing Democrats of being complicit in murder. It is a twofer. And it's done by the president's campaign, not some third outside group. The White House legislative affairs director this weekend tried to say, "Oh, that's an outside group." That's approved by Donald J. Trump, folks. Listen to the last little bit.

So that -- that environment coming from the White House isn't a bill of love. It's not a great deal maker. That's toxic. It's intentional. It's going to make it a little bit more difficult for the president to be able to lead on this issue, which is ultimately is what's going to be necessary.

CUOMO: Both sides are playing this game, David. Not this way. This is an extreme example of what's going on, and it shows that the president's suggestion he wants a bill of love is B.S., because you don't allow an ad like that to go out. Because that includes the DREAMers. And technically, they are here illegally, they were brought here illegally. So you're lumping them in and you are abusing the facts, because you cannot find a metric by which even illegal entrance to the United States pose a criminal threat other than that illegal transgression entering the country, which is often faked in, a bogus stat. They say, "Well, they're all illegal, so they're all criminals."

You can't find that they are a bigger risk to us than our fellow citizens. So those are the facts.

But both sides are playing this. The question becomes, David, how long -- the balance. How long does the shutdown play to their advantage, so making a deal really isn't in their best interests?

GREGORY: Well, I think the first couple of days, when it was relatively pain-free, because government workers aren't on the job. It's the weekend. It allows for all the posturing. And for ugly advertisements like that, and for each side to kind of play to their base as they dig in. That voicemail message that's playing outgoing at the White House, blaming Democrats for, you know, holding the country hostage and all the rest.

Now they have to get down to business and actually figure this out. Because whatever advantage either side thinks they're getting in this election year can quickly shift as Americans look up and see both sides as being ridiculous on this, because they can't get anything done.

So the question for me at this point, this was -- the president wanted to get involved. He calls Chuck Schumer, leader of the Democrats, on Friday; tries to get a deal. And yet again, the president is out of step with where his staff is. He can't seem to get it done. Does he try again? Does he call in both sides Monday morning? Is the president going to lead it? He's the ultimate deal maker here.

CUOMO: By all accounts he doesn't understand the issues on the table well enough to make an impact. And, you know, that's different between business and politics.

GREGORY: That's right.

CUOMO: In business, as long as you hold the money, as long as you have the land, as long as you have the development rights, you're relevant. Here, once these guys and women sniff out that you don't know what you're talking about, than your currency drops.

AVLON: But also confounded by the fact that the president keeps sending mixed signals within a period of days, a period of hours. And I think one of the interesting questions is going to be does the president's instincts to make a deal, their instincts on DREAMers really track with his White House staff, particularly Stephen Miller, who you saw Lindsey Graham, Republican, call out as being too extreme on this issue to represent the interests of the United States.

HARLOW: Not only do you believe the president that we saw in that meeting--

AVLON: Right. So is the president getting rolled by the hardliners in his own administration when it comes to the details of policy?

CUOMO: Well, we know this.

AVLON: To step up--

CUOMO: He said bill of love, right? And your words matter. You know, when you say it, it has to matter. You've got to start excusing, the -- well, he said it, but he doesn't really mean what he says. Look, too bad. He's the president of the United States. However, this is what we know. The hardliners don't want DREAMers to become citizens. So that's something that has to come out, because it's the truth.

HARLOW: We also have some fascinating new things we've learned because of this CNN poll. It's telling us what's more important for American voters. Regardless of party, keeping the government open or protecting DREAMers? The results when we get back. Because both sides are now using this poll as ammunition.


[06:29:10] CUOMO: All right. So what do you say about the state of dysfunction in Washington? Well, we know that the overwhelming majority of Americans polled want the DREAMers protected. OK?

But look at this number. This is the key. Fifty-six percent say keep the government open and negotiate DACA. See, when it's an either/or, they say keep the government open. And that is going to be a key question for Democrats.

Let's get into this. OK? We've got John Avlon and David Gregory.

All right, David. The Democrats' inside scoop is this is their best point of leverage. If they hold up the government, this is where the Republicans are most incentivized to do this. And they're seizing on the Senate majority leader saying, "I have the intention of doing this after we get through this." They say that's not strong enough. We don't trust him.

All right. Now that leverage may be real on the inside, but how does it play on the outside to the voters?

GREGORY: Well, obviously not well.