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President Trump in El Paso to Rally Border Wall, Potential 2020 Dem Challenger Beto O'Rourke Joins Nearby Competing Anti-Wall March; Interview with Mayor Dee Margo of El Paso; Interview with Congressman Tom Graves of Georgia. Aired on 8-9p ET

Aired February 11, 2019 - 20:00   ET


[20:00:17] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump back to the wall but still in no man's land when it comes to telling the truth about it.

John Berman here in for Anderson.

A lot happening in the hour ahead. You're looking at the county coliseum in the Texas border city of El Paso. The president will be speaking there shortly and on the street tonight heading to a counter rally nearby, protesters including former Democratic congressman and possible presidential hopeful Beto O'Rourke. That's on the right side of your screen.

They are marching to tell the president what they think of his border policy and statements like this which are just plain wrong.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The border city of El Paso, Texas, used to have extremely high rates of violent crime. One of the highest in the entire country and considered one of our nation's most dangerous cities. Now, immediately upon its building with a powerful barrier in place, El Paso is one of the safest cities in our country.


BERMAN: So keeping them honest, that's not true, full stop. El Paso was and is one of America's safer cities before and after the wall. Here are the facts courtesy of the "El Paso Times" and figures they received from the FBI. They show violent crime they're peaking in 1993, and declining by more than a third by 2006.

Border fencing was authorized that year and was completed in 2009. And as you can see, while a crime actually went up right around then, about 17 percent, and it's bounced around at a fairly low level ever since. The numbers are consistent with other big cities over that period. Violent crime going down substantially or in many cases dramatically, and the president -- any president can get those numbers by just picking up a phone a local call, any president at any time of day or night has access to more facts about more things than any of us could possibly imagine.

Unless that is he prefers imagining his then doubling down and actually going to the place he lied about to prove a point that's not true, you know, because it's Monday. In a moment, you'll hear from the mayor of El Paso, a Republican by the way.

First, live coverage of the events starting with the protest march in CNN's Jeff Zeleny who joins us live.

Jeff, give us a sense of what's going on where you are.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: John, there is a sense that the residents of El Paso here as you can see behind me, they're staging to have a march to the arena where the president is going to be. They are saying that they want to tell their story about El Paso. They want to tell their facts and figures about the actual crime right here.

As you said the Republican mayor of El Paso, other Republicans we've spoken to all day long say the president simply is not correct here in his facts. So that is something that they are marching. They want to, of course, a correct the record if you will. They were stung last week when the president mentioned this in the State of the Union Address. So they are trying to correct the record.

But, John, a lot of attention is focused on one person in the crowd, a tall person in the crowd. That, of course, is Beto O'Rourke, the former Texas congressman. Anticipation hanging over the air here about his future.

BERMAN: And the question is will he announce whether or not he is running for president the former Texas congressman has said he will decide by the end of February. We will hear from Beto O'Rourke shortly. Do you have any sense on what he might discuss tonight.

ZELENY: Well, John, we know that he will not announce that he is going to seek the Democratic nomination tonight. I've talked to two friends of his who say he does not want to use the timing or the space here of the president's rally to announce his future plans. But we do know that he wants to talk about his opposition to the border wall. He wants to talk about his -- you know, differing view of immigration policies so that is what we expect him to say.

He wants to also he says tell the story of El Paso which he says is one of the safest cities in America because of immigration, because of legal immigration. So that is something we are going to hear from him. But so, there are black flags here, John, whipping into wind saying Beto for president for 2020. He has not yet made that decision we're told but he's inching ever closer to it. That, of course, would be adding one more name to the crowded field should he do it.

But don't look for that announcement, John, but a bit of a tease here.


ZELENY: A couple weeks before he'll make his plans known, John. BERMAN: Yes, he won't announce it tonight, but it is clear he is using this night in this event to create the juxtaposition with the president of the United States. It is interesting in and of itself.

Jeff Zeleny, great to have you on the ground there in El Paso.

[20:05:00] Keep us posted as this march develops over the next several minutes.

Again, we were expecting the president shortly. Let's check in now at that video with CNN's Kaitlan Collins.

Kaitlan, so why did the president chose El Paso for this rally, given that the facts do not support the arguments that he made about the need for the wall in El Paso?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, John. Despite what officials say and despite what the numbers show, the president believes this is the city that makes the argument for his border wall. One reason he believes that is the state's attorney general, Ken Paxton, who told the president that violent crime here dropped after that fence barrier was built along the border, which you can see when you step just outside of the coliseum and that the president is speaking at tonight.

Now, despite the numbers and what officials have said as you said at the beginning the show saying that's not true, the president is expected to continue undeterred, making that argument here to the residence of El Paso tonight.

BERMAN: Hey, Kaitlin, has he spent anytime meeting with people today, any officials to find out what's really going on on the ground?

COLLINS: No, John, the president actually has not even landed yet here in El Paso. He's still up in the air, on his way from Washington, but right now, he doesn't have any briefings on his schedule. Instead, when he gets here, the two things we know he's doing is one, a photo line with supporters. That costs about $15,000 per supporter and he's pretaping an interview with Fox News that's going to air later on in the evening.

Now, we should say that the president did visit the border city of McAllen, Texas, back in the middle of January, where he did do border security briefings. He walked along the border with several officials.

But, John, this is the president's first time in El Paso tonight, the city that he says that's making the argument for his wall here, yet, he's not scheduled to have any kind of border briefings with any of the local officials who have been disputing what he's been saying about this city.

BERMAN: All right. Kaitlan Collins at the event itself. Thanks to you and thanks to Mick Jagger.

On the other side of your screen there is the march, this counterprotest we can put it back up again against the president. People in El Paso, they say they want to give the president's the facts there about what has gone on in that city, again one of the safer cities before a wall was built and after a wall is built.

In that crowd, former Democratic Congressman Beto O'Rourke, who we will hear from very shortly. So stay tuned.

If anyone should know what life is like in El Paso, it is the mayor there he like the president is a Republican. He has been in office since 2017, and I had a chance to speak to him earlier tonight.


BERMAN: Mayor Margo, just this afternoon, the president's campaign released a video featuring residents of El Paso saying that since the barrier was put up in your city, crime has gone down dramatically and that not constructing a wall is immoral. How do you respond to that?

MAYOR DEE MARGO (R), EL PASO, TEXAS: Well, I haven't seen the clip. I don't know who was saying it. But the statistics show that we were one of the safest cities before the fence went up and we've remained -- today we're considered I think the safest city in the United States, according to uniform crime statistics reported by or to the FBI for a community that's -- or a city that's over 500,000.

The fence has helped some on crime and the residents in some of the neighborhoods, specifically the Chihuahuita neighborhood, which is -- which is one of our oldest -- if not our oldest neighborhood -- have said that they felt safer as a result of that. But the overall crime statistics with the exception of vehicle thefts and some things like that hasn't had significant change.

BERMAN: No, and the notion that he stated in the State of the Union, El Paso had one of the highest crime rates in the country, one of the most violent cities in the country, you take issue with that?

MARGO: Well, it's just -- it's not factually correct, but I think to give deference to the president, he was echoing what our attorney general had said a couple of weeks ago in McAllen and that's where the incorrect information came from. So, no one asked me to correct that one. I've just been correcting the -- or since the president's State of the Union.

BERMAN: What do you make of your city being used as something of a political tool tonight by the president, as a way to make his case for the border wall?

MARGO: Well, I prefer not to characterize this as a political tool. I think it's an opportunity to showcase El Paso. My biggest argument has been if you want to understand immigration, if you want to understand the border, if you want to understand how Mexico and in our case El Paso and Texas are intertwined, culturally and economically for almost 400 years, you need to come here.

And as a result that he's coming, even though it's a political event, I'm just happy to have them down here. But the problem we have is most of the people in the pundits who are in Washington or middle America or Chicago or elsewhere, I don't know where they are, but are making comments about the border have never been here and don't understand it.

[20:10:01] BERMAN: Do you think or expect him to act or accurately depict the realities of El Paso tonight?

MARGO: It's hard to say. I would hope -- I'm going to hope -- I hope that I will be able to visit with him before his rally a little bit and maybe, you know, eliminate or elucidate him for on El Paso. But it's hard to say. It's an awfully quick visit, but it's a start.

I mean, we're pleased -- I would prefer it being a presidential visit for fact-finding and those kind of things as opposed to a political rally. But I'm -- but we're happy to have the president come down here and see a little bit of El Paso firsthand.

BERMAN: Mayor, you said you want people to come see the border for themselves. What do you want the president to learn about El Paso tonight?

MARGO: Well, the fact that we are so you know intrinsically tied together that we're one -- we're really one region. You know, I like to say we're three states, New Mexico, Chihuahua and Texas in two countries, the United States of Mexico, and one region of two and a half million people, and we've been that way for almost four hundred years. People also don't realize that El Paso was original on the South Side of the Rio Grande until 1848.

So it's just hard for people to fully understand. We're not a small dusty community. We're a large metropolitan area with over two-and-a- half million people.

BERMAN: Mayor Margo, I appreciate your time. Appreciate the work you do for El Paso. Thanks so much for being with us.

MARGO: Thank you.


BERMAN: Always a note when a Republican mayor cannot say whether or not the president of the United States will be accurate tonight in his comments.

Again, you're looking at live pictures from El Paso. This is not far from where the president will be speaking right now. This is the counter protest, a rally, a march to make a statement by the people in that city, but what would they say the facts are in El Paso, and among the marchers is the former Democratic Congressman Beto O'Rourke considering a run for president. We will hear from him shortly.

A lot more head as we get ready to hear from the president and Beto O'Rourke as another shutdown deadline approaches. We'll get a live update on negotiations and take you inside the talks is one of the lawmakers tried to reach a deal. And later, the president may have thought he was only insulting a political rival. In fact his latest remarks about Senator Elizabeth Warren, Native Americans have also reopened an old and especially deep wound in this country. Keeping them honest on that ahead on 360.


[20:16:39] BERMAN: All right. You're looking at live pictures from inside the hall in El Paso, Texas, where the president will be speaking from shortly. The banners say it all when it comes to what tonight is all about for the president. They say "finish the wall".

We also have live pictures from outside the hall. This is the march, the counter demonstration. These are a lot of people now have gather numbers keep on getting larger. These are people from El Paso, trying to send the message that what the president has been saying about El Paso, particularly the border barrier in El Paso is just plain wrong.

And who you're looking at right there, that's Beto O'Rourke, that is the former Texas congressman, lost the Senate race to Ted Cruz there, but many people think that before this month, he will announce that he is running for president of the United States, not responding to questions just now but we do expect to hear from him very, very shortly. We will bring that to you live when it happens.

We should tell you, the president said he would be happy to shut down the government to get money for the border wall and at this moment, House and Senate negotiators are to being that and other border issues. They're trying to head off another shutdown before Friday. Going into the weekend, hopes were high that they might get a deal done. Those hopes faded somewhat but now maybe they unfaded over the last few hours because top conferees have just sat down for another round of talks.

CNN chief political correspondent Dana Bash is following the action. She joins us now.

What is the status right now with this new meeting of the conferees?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Unfaded is definitely the word of the night, John Berman. This is something that is coming from the room where the negotiators are meeting inside the Capitol on the Senate side. Our team up there is reporting that Democrats and Republicans are feeling much better about how things are going. In fact, one Democratic aide said the negotiations are very, very close to an agreement. They are not there yet though, and that is a big, big caveat because we have seen this movie before with negotiators feeling good and then backing away.

We have seen the situation before the shutdown at the end of last year where everybody thought they at least had an agreement to not shut down the government and things turned around when the president changed his mind at the behest of conservatives. However, there is optimism coming from the capitol tonight, optimism that we haven't seen before with regard to finding an agreement, a big question is going to be how much buy-in there is right now by the president of the United States.

BERMAN: Look, significant news that they're meeting and they are optimistic once again. Dana Bash, not in the room where it happens but with sources in the room where it happens.

Going into tonight, there had been this new impasse over the number of people of undocumented immigrants who could be detained in the interior of the country, not at the border, but the interior. The Democrats wanted to put a cap on the number of beds. Does it seem like they've moved off that demand?

BASH: Unclear exactly what the details on that particular sticking point are right now, John. But, look, it is noteworthy that the public discussion for the month -- last month plus has been about the wall and that at least privately that has abated in these negotiations.

[20:20:08] It seems as though the White House has come down significantly in terms of the money the president was demanding for a wall Democrats have come up, and there has been a major issue which was out there. It was maybe on the back burner, but it was burning on the notion of whether or not there should be more -- less pressure or that whether ICE should have less money and the fewer beds for people who are detained.

This is a very important issue for a lot of Democrats, so the focus had been on the big issue for the president, now focus is on the issue for Democrats. Remember, a lot of Democrats before the election, John, said that they wanted to abolish ICE. Well, this is not quite that, but they're trying to put the pressure on to keep ICE in check.

BERMAN: Next to you, Dana, on the screen, I just want to tell people you're looking at two events the president said to speak in El Paso in moments, and below that, the counter-rally, Beto O'Rourke marching with hundreds, maybe thousands of people demonstrators against the president just very, very quickly, has the president weighed in? Do we know what he would sign at this point?

BASH: We don't and that is so important because it is the president's big issue and not just the wall, but also the potential we are told to punt on anything that doesn't give enough beds for ICE or that the other way to look at it is too easy on immigrants. That is a potential that people are very worried about on both sides.

BERMAN: Sure. And when the number finally does come to him for whatever funding for a barrier, whether it'd be new or fencing, we don't know, whether he will accept that or not until the moment that he actually signs the document.

Dana Bash, thank you so much for being with us.

Again, you're looking -- you were looking there at those two events which are taking place at this very moment. The president said to speak a counter-demonstration on the streets of El Paso. This all has to do with the battle over border funding, and one of the people who was determining the future at the negotiating table is Congressman Tom Graves, Republican of Georgia, a member of the House Appropriations Committee.

Congressman, thank you so much for being with us tonight.

We just heard from Dana Bash, who told us there is new optimism that maybe the negotiators are moving closer to a deal. Can I take it by your smile that that's true?

REP. TOM GRAVES (R), GEORGIA: Well, I'll just say Dana has great sources, obviously. She did a really good job of recapping some of the controversies or the difficulties in this discussion. But optimism -- maybe that's a little bit more optimistic, you know, of a word that I would use at this point. I know everybody's been hopeful. We went through hopeful, to doubtful, but maybe things are starting to get back on track just a little bit.

BERMAN: Oh no, so optimism is too optimistic.

GRAVES: That's a little bit off.

BERMAN: Let's do the front-runner for the -- for the best line of the night. Then what is the status of the talks right now and what are the sticking points?

GRAVES: Well, she was right that tracking into the weekend, I thought we were doing pretty well and then as we went into the weekend and the goalposts started shifting from the Democrats and in the places that are just no go. I mean, they're non-starters.

And when we begin handcuffing law enforcement, instead of handcuffing criminals, then that's not something we're going to support. You know, Nancy Pelosi has a big test in front of this. This is probably her biggest test is her new speaker quite frankly, and that is can she navigate this process and get a funding bill to the president of an opposing party that he can sign. That's a big, big test coming up.

BERMAN: Now, look, what Democrats will say is that they still want the criminals detained but by capping the number of beds, the number of people that be detained, the Democrats say it would force ICE to go after the criminals other than people that they say are not deserving of being detained undocumented immigrants who might be in this country who have committed no other crime than crossing the border. I'm giving you just their arguments. Our audience knows what's being discussed there.

What's the current level of funding that you were discussing ballpark for new border barriers?

GRAVES: You know, we've always -- the numbers have been all over the place from the Democrats but clearly the president's been at $5.7 billion. The Senate had passed $1.6 dollars previously, so that or that those are the parameters that I see that we're working within.

And as the Democrats began moving in to zero or $800 million and other numbers, that makes it really hard to negotiate in good faith. So, as we as we look ahead, I hope that they will come back to the table tonight in good faith and let's look at this comprehensively based on the facts, the evidence and the experts that we've all heard from.

BERMAN: But it's not going to be $5.7 billion for a border wall, which is what the president wanted and frankly shut the government down over back in December.

GRAVES: Well, you know the $5.7 billion is not what the president wanted. I mean, he was requesting that on behalf of Customs and Border Protection. That is their request. It's not a number that I need or that he needs is what they're requesting and asking for him that they desperately need themselves. So, these are reports and presentations that we've all been a part of, so it should be this political partisan issue that should be about providing the resources necessary as requested by those that are on the frontlines currently.

[20:25:03] BERMAN: All right. Congressman Tom Graves of Georgia, really appreciate you joining us tonight, so we get a sense of exactly where the negotiations are. We won't get ahead of ourselves. We won't be too optimistic based on your advice tonight.

Thank you, sir. I really appreciate.

GRAVES: There's ways ago, but thank you very much.

BERMAN: All right. I want to get back to Jeff Zeleny who just spoke to former Texas Congressman Beto O'Rourke.

ZELENY: John, it is quite the scene out here. He's walking with his family, chants and cheers "Beto 2020". But we caught up with him and asked him what this means to him. Take a listen.


ZELENY: Does this inspire you to want to run? Is this inspiring?

BETO O'ROURKE (D), FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN: Oh, this is inspiring. This is the border standing up for itself. This is El Paso telling our story. No one can tell it better than we can. Strong, secured community, that's who we are.

ZELENY: Does this make you want to run?



ZELENY: So you heard him there, he's not definitive about if he's going to run or not, but, boy, a lot of encouragement here. One thing also very interesting, he is walking with his wife Amy and their three children. His oldest son Ulysses is -- has been concerned about his father running for president. But, John, I can tell you, they're all walking together in this big crowd.

It certainly seems like someone who's on the verge of jumping in, of course, long before he could ever take on President Trump, he would have a big Democratic primary campaign as well. BERMAN: Jeff, very quickly, the enthusiasm, the chanting around you, is it more about Beto O'Rourke, or is it more about the event itself tonight in the president's speech?

ZELENY: John, that is interesting. It seems to me much more positive about the idea of Beto O'Rourke running for president. We do not see as many anti Trump signs as we often do. So, a lot of Beto 2020, and it's one of the things that he's surrounded himself with his supporters here.

He also does not want to get linked with any negativity, he says. But, boy, a campaign like this would certainly be negative. He ran a positive race in Texas and he lost, hard to repeat that, John.

BERMAN: Jeff Zeleny on the ground, marching with demonstrators apparently by what you have to say more of a pro Beto O'Rourke events than a protest against the president speech tonight. But we will continue to watch it develop.

Jeff Zeleny with that exclusive interview with Beto O'Rourke just before he set to speak to that crowd.

So, coming up: on the same day that Senator Elizabeth Warren officially launches her presidential campaign, the president launches the same-old racist attack on Twitter he has used so many times before with a new twist.

We're keeping them honest, next.


[20:30:50] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Senator Elizabeth Warren officially launched her 2020 presidential campaign with a rally in Lawrence Massachusetts on Saturday and the President of the United States marked the occasion with a racist tweet. Not only using his offensive nickname for Senator Warren but also referencing Native American genocide. The President tweeted, "Today Elizabeth Warren, sometimes referred to by me as Pocahontas, joined the race for president. Will he run as our first Native American presidential candidate or has she decided that after 32 years this is not playing so well anymore? See you on the campaign trail, Liz."

Now, in addition to being the usual amount of condescension and disrespect, this time he also capitalized the word "trail" which of course many people took as a less than settle reference to the Trail of Tears. Now, one could make an argument that the President hasn't read enough American history to fully understand the reference but he is the fan of President Andrew Jackson, who is Indian Removal Act led to the Trail of Tears. The forced relocation of Native Americans, which led to an estimated 4,000 deaths and that's probably in the low end. President Trump put a portrait of Jackson in the Oval Office. Keeping them honest, we shouldn't have to say that the killing of thousands of Native Americans is nothing to make light of in a mean tweet but here we are. And let's be honest we've been here for a while.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Pocahontas Elizabeth Warren Massachusetts is represented by Pocahontas right?

I call it Pocahontas, and that's an insult to Pocahontas.

I was being hit by Pocahontas.




Pocahontas. What an insult to Pocahontas. I've got more Indian blood in me than Pocahontas. And I have none.


BERMAN: And you can have your own opinion about the way Senator Warren has addressed the question of her heritage, what she has put on forms and the way she's handled the backlash. But that stand as part from the President's racist treatment of it. And it is notable just how many examples of it we could find, particularly this one or it could even help himself at a White House event for Navajo Code Talkers back in 2017.


TRUMP: You were here long before any of us were here. Although we have a representative in Congress who they say was here a long time ago. They call her Pocahontas. But you know what? I like you, because you are special.


BERMAN: The White House position on that was, you guessed it, you didn't hear what you heard and surely the President didn't mean what he obviously meant.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why is it appropriate for the President to use a racial slur in any context?

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I don't believe that it is appropriate for him to make a racial slur or anybody else.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, a lot of people feel as though this is a racial slur. So why is it appropriate for him to use that?

SANDERS: Like I said, I don't think that it is, and I don't think that was --certainly not the President's intent.


BERMAN: Keeping Them Honest. When President uses racist slurs and makes light of genocide, perhaps the intent speaks for itself.

So we have just this minute reserved breaking news on shutdown talks. CNN's Manu Raju joins us with that. Manu, give us that news.

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Yes, I was just in a gaggle with other reporters talking to the leaders who have been trying to negotiate a way out of this government shutdown. Now they have emerged Democrats and Republicans to say they have an agreement, in principle, to avoid a government shutdown at midnight on Friday.

Now, those law makers included Richard Shelby, the Republican from Alabama, the Democrat Patrick Leahy as well as the House members, including Nita Lowey, the House Appropriations Chairwoman. They just told reporters that they've come to an agreement to avoid a shutdown over these key sticking points, including boarding security measures, dealing with the interior enforcement including detaining people at the border. One of the sticking point the Democrats over the weekend was to limit the number of people who were detained on U.S. soil, undocumented immigrants.

[20:35:00] Now, what's unclear though, John, is exactly how that was resolved. Me and other reporters tried to ask these members exactly what was agreed to. They are not saying at this point. They're saying though they have reached this agreement, they believe that they will the support within their respective leadership teams. Now the hard part goes and putting it on paper, making sure that they have the votes in the House and the Senate, and the big question, will the person who sits in 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue President Trump signed this into law. We'll have to see when it comes but right now lots of optimism. Big shift from just yesterday and a sign that they could avert another government shutdown after the longest one in history of 35 days occurred of these very issues, but Perhaps he can avoid it this time, John.

BERMAN: Just to be clear here, Manu Raju, no details on what's in that deal, and that's more than a little important here. In any sense whether this has any level of presidential sign-off?

RAJU: It's really unclear at this point. But the Republicans believe that if somebody has draw support within the Senate Republican conference in particular, the President will have -- the hard press is simply rejects it. And John, the question also is, did the President try to move and act administratively. Declare a national emergency to try to get funding for his border wall, do it that way because he probably not going to get. He's almost certainly not going to get the $5.7 billion that he has demanded for the wall. So we'll see the President how he deals with that administratively but at the moment in Capitol Hill, lots of optimism, perhaps no shutdown part two.

BERMAN: All right, Manu Raju, thank you very much for that. That is big news and agreement in principle on some kind of border deal.

Joining me now, USA Today columnist and CNN Political Analyst Kirsten Powers, Republican Strategist Adolfo Franco and CNN Senior Political Analyst and former adviser to four Presidents, David Gergen. David, what we know is they're telling us there is an agreement in

principle. We just don't know what that agreement is and that kind of matters here.

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: We don't, John, but it is very encouraging news for the country that they appear to be in agreement in principle. It will obviously have to go, you know, to each chamber on the House. But I would assume, John, before the Republicans went back in to session tonight to reaches final agreement, they had talked to Mulvaney, the Chief of Staff at the White House and to others to make sure they at least wasn't a no coming from the White House. At minimum they need to know the President is not, you know, ready and pen in hand the veto. That's would be very important. But I, you know, this has been a long time coming. It is one minute to midnight they've narrowly averted what would be a real embarrassment and just terrible a decision not to make it. We all thank him for doing that. We all appreciate that. And say, Mr. President, his next move is up to you. You will be helpful tonight in El Paso if he did not go after the Democrats hammer in tongue and take the low road.

BERMAN: Well, that's a terrific point, David Gergen. This agreement comes 20 minutes before the President is scheduled to take the stage for what will be a political rally and as political rallies are full often of divisive rhetoric, that's Texas Senator Ted Cruz right there, the President's old foe, now friend who does support the President's moves on the border wall.

Kirsten Powers, to you, what do you think Democrats will need out of this proposed deal from the 17 appropriators?

KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I mean that's the big question if they obviously there's been a hang-up over the number of -- the amount of funding for the number of ICE detention beds. And so the question has always been, for me, is this a hill they're going to die on or is this something that they were willing to give on?

It has some a lot of people are saying that this is something that they inserted the last minute. I'm told that's not really true that this is been part of the negotiations pretty much since they restarted after the government opened. But the question is, were they willing to give on that at all and were they willing to give it all on the amount of funding? And I think, you know, the big question is, is there has been a conversation with the President where the President has just said I'm going to go ahead and do the wall some other way?

BERMAN: We simply don't know that and that's one of the things that Manu was getting at there. There is a sense among the Republicans on Capitol Hill that if they all agree to something, it will be hard for the President to say no.

Adolfo, we don't expect that the President will get $5.7 billion for new border barrier anywhere near that amount, if any new real money at all. What do you think he might be willing to accept here?

ADOLFO FRANCO, FORMER SPOKESPERSON, ROMNEY/RYAN 2012 CAMPAIGN: Well, I don't know the figure. It's highly unlikely it's $5.7. I think more telling will be if the word, wall is included and that will be key, that's a political statement. I think that's what people will be looking for or barrier. You know, the figures that banded around the more or less $2 billion figure. But two things that Sean Mulvaney has said and said over the weekend, first of all, they're not been of the negotiating table but they've been quite engaged at the White House. So, I think the White House has in all likelihood they've signaled that this deal is a go.

[20:40:16] However, I think what the administration or the President is low solid on the table is the following, if it's less than what has been requested, not by the President but by the administration and the Justice Congressman Graves early on this program said by the border patrol actually, the $5.7 if it's less than that, I think they will look for the administration for other pots of money that can be applied. I think maybe a little of the battle over that but I don't think the President is going to settle for overall $2 billion this year for border construction. He will find the money elsewhere to supplement whatever is in this package.

BERMAN: I will tell you, it's an interesting picture in that rally wall in El Paso, Texas tonight. The banner reads, "Finish The Wall." You can see live pictures there. Not build the wall. Finish the wall. So a rhetorical shift there in the language. Perhaps some kind of premonition that the President is looking for a way to declare some type of victory well short of what his initial promise was on that.

David Gergen, there is a sense over the last few days that whatever is agreed to among the conferees the President might still declare an emergency or use executive action to get still money for the wall. That would create new problems?

GERGEN: It certainly would, John. And I would assume the negotiators are going to want some sort of answer from the President. Does he intend to use his emergency powers to get the difference? Let's say they put in $2 billion in the agreement and he's still $3.7 short of what he wanted. Is he going to declare a national emergency go after the $3.7? I think that would cause great heartburn for the Democrats and would split the Republicans. They wanted to make this the final deal. So if he now goes beyond the final deal and actually unilaterally on the additional money, that's going to be a serious political problem even though the government won't shut down.

BERMAN: Yes, we have to wait and see what he's going to say about this, when he learns the details of the deal. And I'm fascinated about whether he will learn those details in the next 18 minutes, before he takes that stage, Kirsten.

GERGEN: Absolutely.

BERMAN: Really?

GERGEN: Absolutely. Very important.

BERMAN: And not to mention Beto O'Rourke, the former democratic congressman from Texas, he will be speaking as well and this could shift the parameters of what he says, certainly Kirsten. What do you expect to hear from him tonight?

POWERS: From Beto?


POWERS: Well, I think, you know, this is -- he somebody who obviously knows a lot about this issue in El Paso. It's where he lives. It's something that's he -- it's intimately familiar with and anyone who has ever talked to him about it knows that he's very passionate about it and very knowledgeable about it and can easily rebut, frankly, a lot of the claims that the President is making because he's right there on the ground. And the way the President has described El Paso really doesn't match up to the facts and so I think that it's an interesting contrast. And then you add in the fact that he is somebody that everybody is watching and wondering whether he's going to run for president. And so it's the kind of fascinating match-up that these two people are sort of coming head to head over this issue tonight.

BERMAN: I got to say, they just got a whole lot more fascinating, giving the breaking news that there is this deal in principle defend off a shutdown. Adolfo, if were advising the President with 16 1/2 minutes before he takes the stage in a deal and principle in place, how would you advise him to talk about this now? Would you tell him, you know what Mr. President, you may want to go at this in a different way so that we don't have a shutdown in three days?

FRANCO: Well, I think the President I think has been successful. And I think the President is going to get out of this deal, I'm quite confident, more than what was suggested by the speaker just a few days ago, a few weeks ago and she said -- he would get not one dollar. So I think that's the strategy. But overall on the wall, and Beto, if I can on this is, I would like to know if the mayor, who I think also knows, Mayor Margo quite knows a little bit about El Paso and the people of El Paso, if they would share Mr. O'Rourke's view that the wall or barriers are, he has referred to them as racist. Are they in favor of removing the barrier that was constructed that resulted in 67% reduction in apprehensions?

You saw the major early on your program, John, and you interviewed him that Chihuahuita which is a neighborhood, I've been in El Paso near the border that, yeah, people in the neighborhood there they've seen crime decline and they feel much better about a barrier. So I think this idea that El Paso is against the wall or that people along the border think it's a bad idea, I think they see it as one of many tools that are necessary to not only control crime but illegal immigration. And of course, the border patrol shares that same view.

[20:45:07] BERMAN: I think the problem with what the President said about El Paso is that he lied about the crime there. He lie when he said --

FRANCO: Well, maybe he wasn't --

BERMAN: He lied, I mean said that it was one of the most violent crime-ridden cities in America before there was a wall. And it wasn't.

FRANCO: Perhaps he was misinformed by the attorney general in Texas. We heard that on your program earlier.

POWERS: There's also not a wall.

BERMAN: It depends.

FRANCO: It's a barrier, it's a fence. I've been there and I've seen it. It's, you know, it varies. There's a wall in San Diego, but it's quite -- I think it's quite formidable and I think is absolutely a deterrent. I don't think anybody can argue it's not a deterrent.

BERMAN: Again, it is there. It's a barrier.

FRANCO: No one is in favor of taking it down that I heard of in El Paso.

BERMAN: No, the mayor is not calling for that.

FRANCO: Right.

BERMAN: David Gergen, go ahead.

GERGEN: I just think we ought to keep very clear in our minds the distinction between a wall of 30-foot concrete wall, especially, paid for by the Mexicans especially, and continuation of putting more barriers up of the kind that we've seen under the Obama administration. I mean, to proclaim this, the President got something really, really measured out of this, I just don't think, fits the facts. He is likely -- I'm sure they will not describe this coming out of there on both sides as a wall. Maybe the Republican call it that, but the Democrats won't. They'll call it a barrier. And there is a distinction.

BERMAN: All right, David Gergen, Adolfo, Kirsten. Thank you so much --

FRANCO: Thank you. Thank you, John.

BERMAN: -- for being with us tonight.

POWERS: Thank you.

BERMAN: As I said, this got a lot more interesting over the last few minutes.

We also have more breaking news. A former White House insider is now suing the President. We'll tell you why, when we come back.


BERMAN: More breaking news and yet more sparks tonight from a one- time White House insider. Cliff Sims who wrote the tell-all memoir "Team of Vipers" is now suing the President and suing him in his official capacity. "The New York Times" first broke this. Sims is claiming the President used his campaign organization as a tool of retribution against those who would speak out. Annie Karni shares the byline with Maggie Haberman and joins us now.

[20:50:20] So, Annie, can you explain the nature of this lawsuit? What exactly is Cliff Sims suing the President over?

ANNIE KARNI, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, NEW YORK TIMES: The lawsuit alleges that the President used the campaign organization as a "cut out" to seek retribution against Cliff for what he says is just using his first amendment right to tell his story in order to do something that he wouldn't be able to do as a President. So, he had the campaign file a lawsuit in order to seek retribution against Cliff is what the lawsuit is claiming.

BERMAN: You know, it's interesting to me when I read this article because I've had a chance to talk to Cliff Sims a couple of times since the book has came out and as sensational as parts of the books are, he still seems like a supporter of the President, has gone out of his way at times to say nice things about him. So, does this signify a split?

KARNI: Well, yes. You're right that he -- Cliff Sims books fell in a different kind of category. It was talking about, as the title says a "Team of Vipers." It portrayed other White House aides in a negative light while trying to maintain some loyalty to the President.

It got -- it generated multiple negative news cycles for the President and I think that's what he is reacting to more. We saw a delayed reaction from the President. He tweeted that Cliff Sims was nothing but a gofer. So I think that if there was a balancing act that Cliff was trying to pull off, what the President saw was a book that portrayed his whole White House in a negative way.

But to the point about the NDA, which is what Cliff is claiming, what the lawsuit is about, there's no classified information being revealed in this book. This is about personalities and relationships in the White House. And so, you know, without revealing classified information that this lawsuit is challenging whether having employees sign nondisclosure agreements is valid at all.

BERMAN: And in fact, the President and this White House have been selective about enforcing the NDA's or with which books they get upset about because I didn't hear any problems with the Sean Spicer book, the Corey Lewandowski book, the David Baldacci book, correct?

KARNI: That's exactly right. And the suit outlines that saying that they have used these lawsuits to go after Omarosa who wrote, you know, the first -- one of this big from inside the room tell-alls and Cliff, Sean Spicer wrote a very flattering book about the President, no problem there. So, what the lawsuit is saying is that it's selective and it's when it's an unfavorable news cycle the President tries to go after these people. When it's not, it's just fine. He doesn't care.

BERMAN: What happens next now that this suit is filed?

KARNI: Well, we'll see. I mean, with the number case, it ended up settling. This will be a test of whether the NDA hold up it all legally or in court. And, really, this tells a story about Donald Trump which is what my colleague, Maggie Haberman, who wrote the story with me says and pointed out, which is that the suit really gets to the heart of what the President intends to do for two years, which is be a private citizen and the president at the same time. That's what this cut out gets to, that he can't do it as president but he's using the campaign to file this lawsuit.

BERMAN: It will be very interesting to hear what the courts have to say about it. Annie Karni, thank you much for joining us tonight. Appreciate it.

KARNI: Thank you. Thanks for having me.

BERMAN: All right, let's check in with Chris to see what he's working on for "Cuomo Prime Time" at the top of the hour. Sir?



BERMAN: Chris Cuomo.

CUOMO: Hey, how are you doing, bud?

BERMAN: You're on live TV.

CUOMO: I didn't know which way to look. I still don't. I don't see you.

BERMAN: At the camera.

CUOMO: All the TV's are filled with me, JB. I don't even know what to do.

BERMAN: Just what you always dreamed of.

CUOMO: Me, me, me, me, me, it's actually a nightmare for me. That's the last thing. I've always thought that one of me is too, too many. So, we want to try and get Julian Castro. We're just trying to deal with some traffic problems. People don't know the realities at TV, JB.

We're trying to get him on here. Not only is he the only Mexican- American in the race thus far who wants to take on the president, but his understanding of the border. You know, he was the mayor in there in San Antonio, Texas. What is real? What isn't? What's needed? It will be good to get a Democrat take on that and see.

Then we're going to take on this culture of outrage. You have Representative Omar up in Minnesota, what did she say that was wrong? It wasn't a trope about anti-Sematism, it was anti-Sematism. So what does the Democratic Party do about it? What is it mean going forward and where is the equal outrage by the GOP?

And then we're going to wind up the night with a picture that 50,000 words cannot do enough about. Did you see Don Lemon out of the Grammys? Did you see what he had on, JB?

[20:55:10] BERMAN: I didn't. I didn't. That's a good tease.

CUOMO: Well, there's a reason for you to get even less than the 18 minutes of sleep you generally get every night. We will show you that. It will be worth the wait. My brother, always good to see you, JB. You're killing it in the morning.

BERMAN: You sold me on that. Thank you very much, Chris Cuomo.

CUOMO: Wait until you see it.

BERMAN: I can't wait. I can't wait. All right, see you in a few minutes.

Up next on "360," more late word on the pro and anti-wall rallies and new details on the deal and principle to head off a new government shutdown. Stick around.


CUOMO: Really truly a full week of news in the last 59 minutes and it's only Monday. Protestors, including a possible presidential candidate on the street in El Paso raising their voices against the President's border wall while the President is there speaking out for it.

Beto O'Rourke on one side, President Trump on the other in a wall in between them. And as that playing out, negotiators, they've reached an agreement in principle to keep the government open. No details on yet who got what, however, when asked about two sticking points, barrier funding and detention facility capacity, one of the negotiators, Republican Senator Richard Shelby said, "We got an agreement on all of it." More to come in the hours ahead, which is why I hand it over now to Chris with "Cuomo Prime Time." Chris?

CUOMO: JB, it is all about what that phrase means. We're going to get after it right now. I am Chris Cuomo and welcome to "Prime Time."