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tv   Erin Burnett Out Front  CNN  December 21, 2018 4:00pm-5:00pm PST

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my exclusive with him and the u.s. ambassador there we'll bring you next week. >> glad you're back safe and sound, i was worried when you were told me you were heading to afghanistan. thank you for that report and thanks to our viewers for watching. erin burnett "out front" starts right now. breaking news, a government shutdown hours away. the big question for the president tonight, apparently is when his wall is no longer a wall. now apparently it's a steel slat barrier and it's a different thing. plus breaking news, new details on trump angry at his acting attorney general. why? and wait until the president hear what is mick mulvaney said about his wall or his steel slat barrier. let's go outfront. good evening. the breaking news, hours away
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from shutdown, the outcome is hanging on the wall. president trump trying to get his wall by calling it something else. here's the tweet. a design of our steel slat barrier, which is totally effective while at the same time beautiful. obviously look at that, trump's image zooming in on the razor sharp spikes, effective because they impale? beautiful because -- well. it could be lethal. but it's not a wall. it's a steel slat barrier, capital s, capital s, capital b and the president serious thinks democrats are dumb enough or desperate enough to vote for a steel slat barrier when they won't for a wall. >> there's a debate over funding border security and the wall, also called so that i give them a little bit of an out, steel slats. we don't use the word wall necessarily. but it has to be something
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special to do the job. steel slats. i've made my position very clear. any measure that funds the government must include border security. has to. >> worth reminding you yet again, because this is not a skit in a late-night comedy show, tonight the president after giving democrats a steel slat barrier -- wall -- to vote on, says it's all their fault if the government shuts down over there. >> it's up to the democrats. it's the democrat shutdown. >> amazing how he has no problem saying the complete opposite of something he said just a couple days ago. here he is one week ago about a shutdown over the wall. >> 20 times you have called for, i will shut down the government if i don't get my wall. none of us have said -- you've said. you've said.
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>> it i'll take it. you know what i'll say? yes. if we don't get what we want one way or the other, whether through you, through a military, through anything you want to call, i will shut down the government. >> fair enough, we disagree. we disagree. >> and i am proud to shut down the government for border security, chuck. i will take the mantle. i will be the one to shut it down. i won't blame you for it. is. >> obviously didn't keep his word on that particular point. let's make no mistake, the president is pushing for a wall that neither democrats or enough republicans want to give him. this isn't a democrat versus republican thing. it's the president's wall, this set of steel slat barriers and his shutdown. kaitlan collins is in front of the white house. the president says this could be a long shut down in his words. >> that seems to have changed. that attitude we saw from the
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president not that long ago because he since set his vice president, his incoming chief of staff and his son-in-law and senior adviser jared kushner up to capitol hill where they are shuffling between house speaker paul ryan's office, minority leader chuck schumer's office, going all over the hill knew a possibility of a compromise is back on the table since we saw bob corker vote yes and jeff flake change his vote and mike pence break that tie to where they did vote for that motion to proceed. now, the question is how long is it going to take them to find a compromise like that and the people i've spoken to in the white house and that our hill colleagues have spoken to as well down the street say they don't believe one is coming before midnight. that means we are getting a partial government shutdown. it's increasingly like they is going to happen. now what they want to do moving forward is try to blunt how long that shutdown is going to be going on. they want to come to a decision quickly. they hoped these negotiations are going to move quickly but as you heard from mcconnell and senator flake, they don't want to bring a vote to the floor
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until they know it's going to pass. obviously it won't be that $5 billion in the border that the house passed so expect to see something different. now while they're still up on capitol hill, mike pence, jared kushner, mick mulvaney, president trump is back here at the white house tweeting out just a short while ago saying that he's canceled his flight to palm beach which he was expected to go to and instead he's sitting there in the oval office saying he canceled his trip waiting to see if democrats will help us protect america's southern border. so erin, while the president's aides are on capitol hill trying to work not only with republicans but also democrats to keep the government funded, the president is still trying to put this messaging back on democrats. one thing to point out, we could have avoided this if this happened a afy days ago. nothing changed that couldn't have prevented this from happening a few days ago.
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now we'll see how long the shutdown will last. >> kaitlan, thank you. out front tonight, democratic senator mark warner, a member of the finance committee. bob corker just telling cnn some people are, quote, optimistic. john cornyn says they won't be a vote tonight, you can take it to the bank. what do you think? >> i don't have the foggiest idea. the last 12 hours have been one of the reasons why so many americans think washington has gotten crazy. the idea that people were flipping their votes so they could say that now there's a deal to get a deal, why that couldn't have happened 12 hours ago is beyond me. but let's remember how we got here. we got here with donald trump a week ago claiming that he would be proud to own a government shutdown which frankly is
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insulting to the thousands of federal employees in my state, and i'm sure the thousands of americans who maybe thought that over the holidays they'd visit a national park, where he was proud to claim that. then i think some of the more reasonable people in the white house convinced him that there were note vo votes for his wall what happens this week, i even feel some empathy for the vice president because the vice president had to come up and tell the republican caucus that, yes, the short term continuing resolution, vote for it, the president will sign it, everything is kosher. and then that passed unanimously until then trump as usual reneged and the vice president had to come back and say the deal that had been made the night before was no longer valid. >> so you don't even know whether we're closing the government down in a few hours? >> you know, as someone who is
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on finance committee, vice chair of the intel commence committee i would think my intel contacts don't have the foggiest idea of what's going to happen. i just think this president is unwilling to accept any reality that doesn't match his reality. my understanding that the meeting with the republicans at the white house today was so chaotic because he kept trying to convince the republicans to change the senate rules, something they had made clear they weren't prepared to do so this governing by chaos theory, his lack of sophisticated approach on national security that led to the resignation of jim mattis is a constantly moving target and i think that just like most americans who are pretty frustrated, most senators
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frankly in both parties because for the most part this hasn't been a partisan split. again, i remind the viewers that was that it was this continuing resolution that passed unanimously because the republicans realized that this fight would be better held in january than during the holidays. >> i want to be clear, the republicans on the border don't want a wall. i want to read again to you, though, senator warner, the president's tweet there moments ago. he writes, quote, a design of our steel slat barrier which is totally effective while at the same time beautiful, tweeting out a picture of what i guess he would put up, has a zoom in there of those three spikes. what's your reaction? >> well, i saw the picture and if this wasn't the president of the united states p if the stakes weren't so high, if this
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man had any kind of willingness to stick to his word, you know, it would almost be comical. it will fact is you could find the vast majority of democrats who were willing to increase border security but let's use 21st century technology, drones, electronic surveillance, addition border guards. not 14th century technology, a wall, whether he plated or not which i've not heard a single expert say would increase border security and we've heard earlier today that these were the views that the president's current acting chief of staff mick mulvaney had as well a few years back say it can wall was an absurd idea. >> when you talk about 14th century technology, the president has been seizing on that. not just pointing out those impaling-like spikes but this --
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>> i think there was impaling-like spikes used in castles during the crusades as well so i'm not sure's a 21st century development. >> it certainly isn't and steel slat barrier, perhaps, may be his own term. he is saying this gives you an out. here he is again. >> there's a debate over funding border security and the wall, also called, so that i give them a little bit of an out, steel slats. we don't use the word wall necessarily. but it has to be something special to do the job, steel slat slats. >> so he says it's not a wall, it's a steel slat. that's an out. that's your out? >> i would say this is a guy
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whose willingness to stick to the facts nab question since his first day in office and i think, again, all of the republican colleagues and friends at least privately are as frustrated as i am and probably the folks who are following this story because this is a crisis that was totally created by donald trump. people shouldn't go through this trepidation in terms of federal employees. the senate leadership and republican house leadership told him a week ago that there were not the votes for this proposal. >> senator warner, appreciate your time.
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thank you very much. >> next, trump angry over the mattis resignation letter. we saw that coming but now more ang angry. people calling mattis the adult in the room. a and is trump's newly named acting chief of staff mick mulvaney in trouble before he starts his job? you heard senator warner refer to this? this audio unearthed by cnn's k file. >> but to just say build the darn fence and have that be theened of an immigration discussion is absurd and almost childish for someone running for president to take that simplistic a view. i'm ray and i quit smoking with chantix. smoking. it dictates your day. i didn't like something having control over me.
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♪ ♪ the greatest wish of all is one that brings us together. the final days of wish list are here. sign and drive off in a new lincoln with zero down, zero due at signing, and a complimentary first month's payment. only at your lincoln dealer. tonight, angry. president trump angry about defense secretary james mattis' scathing resignation letter. a source close to the white house telling cnn tonight that trump, quote, hates the letter but hates the coverage more. what is driving his fury in particular is the often-repeated line that's been throughout that mattis was, quote, one of the adults in the room which was, indeed, the widespread perception of jim mattis. this comes as we are learning more details, new detail this is hour about mattis' resignation. barbara starr joins me from the
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pentagon. what are you learning? >> good evening, erin. the reaction of jim mattis resigning, saying he could no longer work for president trump, has been met with a good deal of dismay and uncertainty across the ranks. i think it's very fair to say. that uncertain city something that has commanders not very happy at the moment because the military doesn't like uncertainty. it likes to know exactly what is happening. so the hunt is on for a new secretary of defense that the president has promised. and people will be looking to that person to bring some stability to the situation. but there's another narrative underneath all of this that is beginning to emerge, at least in some quarters and that is could mattis have timed his decision differently? would it have been better for everyone, including him, if he left earlier. he knew his relationship with the president was headed downhill. he knew the president wanted to bring troops out of syria and the big issue, the red line for
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mattis has been bringing the troops out of syria leaves the kurds abandoned and exposed to a so-called bloodbath. if mattis left earlier trump could have brought in another secretary of defense someone who may have had more influence other him and maybe just maybe could have convinced him to keep troops a while longer. we'll never know the real answer to this question but it's the kind of thing you hear people talk about and people are expressing still and awful lot of regret that mattis is lying but the military is a resilient organization. this will stick in their minds for quite a while. erin. >> barbara, thank you very much. and perhaps wishful thinking by the time someone leaves and you get them through.
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with us now, james "spider" marks, kimberly dozer and tim nefta neftali. you have people upset, he's leaving all together because he was the adult in the room. we are a superpower without a strategy. what's clear from the reporting is that mattis left because the president was impulsive about dealing with syria and afghanistan which means we have a commander-in-chief who doesn't have a strategy. yes, america first. it means defending our. mattis' letter made it clear there is no security strategy of the united states and with mattis gone, i asked what's mike pompeo up to? who is making foreign policy for this government? >> general marks? >> i agree with tim that when you lose someone like jim mattis, you lose an incredibly
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mature very seasoned leader who not only understands the nature of warfare but also understands the nature of management and leadership at the largest level. i think we're putting too much weight that the syria situation might have been the trigger event that caused him to depart and it might have been a the aggregate weight of two years of engaging with the president with a lot of body blows and being the individual in the room that was pushing back and providing some counsel, not necessarily getting in the formation which ostensibly the president would have preferred and so jim raised his hand and said mr. president, thank you for this opportunity but i can't be the guy to implement what you're trying to implement. >> kim, you know, allies of this country and the middle east and elsewhere would tell all of us, you know what? we've known jim mattis for a long time, we trust him, we have
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meetings with him, as long as he's there it's okay and they would contrast that with rex tillerson who they liked but viewed as impotent relatively when it came to policy. jim mattis had the goods. you have been talking to so many of these people and they are shaken and concerned about chaos, right? >> absolutely. from nato allies to middle east allies to neighbors of syria caught flat footed by this and compounding that is when they reached out to the people they could normally trust in the pentagon, the state department and intelligence agencies and said what is happening, what next? and they were told, well, we don't know, that's when the alarm really spread. so i've spoken to multiple diplomats who are concerned and watching closely to see who replaces mattis. one of the other things that i'm hearing confirming some reporting out there by the associated press is that this phone call that the president
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had with the turk ish president, that that was the pivotal moment that no one could anticipate. yes there had been friction with mattis but that mattis was prepared to stay until the end of the administration but it didn't feel like that this was worse right now than it had been at other contentious points in the past. >> tim, the thing is, when you take this, jim mattis leaving, the chaos that that -- the perception of chaos and the reality that that causes, the shutdown, we are almost four hours away from a government shutdown. the dow had its worst week since 2008, i was sitting on wall street when that happened. that was essentially a great depression. the mueller probe is continuing. we now have what? more than a dozen investigations into donald trump's personal presidential and presidential life.
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>> this would show the containment of donald trump has failed. one of the things we notice is that even though donald trump was using tweets to cause disruption with allies, on day to day basis the u.s. military was doing the job they had been doing since the end of the cold war. now with mattis gone we don't know if some kind of trump disruptor is going to become secretary of defense. the disruption we see in the white house will spread throughout our national security structure. that will be dangerous. it already dane rouse not just for our security but the security of our allies. >> you have people -- democrats and republicans saying republicans, i want to emphasize this was not a partisan reaction to jim mattis saying american lives will be lost because of the policy changes that the president is forcing through. you know how the bulwark, i guess, if that's the word you want to use for defense secretary mattis, it's gone, just gone, poof. >> yeah, he was the individual in the room that was providing
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what i would call the contrarian view, the notion of the 109 man where nine folks all agree, they get on the bus together and the 10th person raises a hand and says wait a minute, let's consider these things. i'm not certain who will do this. i'm saying there will be somebody who can replace jim mattis and that the mechanism of running this thing called the department and what the soldiers do on the ground, the soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines as l continue apace and will be done magnificently at the top there is chaos. but we have a mechanism where those mature relationships will light up mump moch more. we don't nope who will replace him but we have -- optimistic it will be a mature individual in the room. now the question is the the
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president find someone who is qualified, who is that many which you are person and aligned with him meaning pulling troops out of syria and having a rapid partial withdrawal from afghanistan. those thing two things seem opposed to each other. >> well, there are people being considered but the problem is do you want this two year poison chalice where you will have to wear the drawdown of u.s. troops in two theaters and in one case a precipitous drawdown. >> he thinks the syria thing was a terrible idea. so maybe he'll go ahead and do a flip-flop but when you talk about qualified, even these folks you're talking about don't fit. >> exactly. lindsey graham, mack thorner be
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rirks a -- thornberry, except for jim talent, maybe he'll be one of the people willing to accept this mission. in the meantime the pentagon is trying to salvage the air war to support their coalition partners. they won't feel what the president has done in syria which one syrian administration official told me this is a knee jerk reaction that left their kurdish allies in the lurch and will be a message to everyone else who works with the antitrust future. >> certainly will. thank you all have been much. next, breaking news. trump actry wi rangry with his attorney general. ? why new breaking details ahead. and as trump demands money for a border wall, his next chief of staff repeatedly trashed that wall. listen. >> it's an easy thing for
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someone who doesn't follow the issue who-to-say that will solve everything, build a fence. is
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is. we are learning tonight that president trump has more than once lashed out at acting attorney general mat whitaker. trump was upset with whit ker because prosecutors he oversees implicate it had president in their cohen investigations. let's get to the bottom of what this means. i want to go to pamela brown and laura jarrett who are breaking the story. pamela, what can you tell us. >> well, at least two occasions we have learned the president vented at his acting attorney general matt whitaker about the michael cohen investigations. the president angered by federal prosecutors referencing him in crime crimes. trump was frustrated that prosecutors that whitaker oversees filed charges to make him look bad. we should note nobody no one directed whitaker to stop the investigations but these underscore the extent that the president believes his attorney
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general should serve as his personal protect or. >> laura, tell me more about the instance here, because what happened and the timing of what happened is so important here. the president lashes out at whitaker, two instances, tell us more. >> that's right. so there's at least two discussions that we know about. the first took place a few weeks after whitaker took over and trump was angry after special counsel robert mueller charged michael cohen with making false statements about the trump tower project in moscow. then you recall part of the prosecution description at the time was that cohen talked with the president about the project well into the election season contrary to his congressional testimony. then over a week later federal
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prosecutors in manhattan implicated the president in campaign finance charges officially in those charges against cohen. now trump and his attorneys maintain these payments are not illegal. of course other experts fiercely disagree and we should add that while not confirming any of these conversations with the president, his lawyer, rudy giuliani, said in a statement to us that the president and his lawyers are upset about the professional prosecutors in the southern district of new york going after a non-crime and the innuendo the president was involv involved. >> on some level it feels like this could be jeff sessions all over again. >> right. that's a good point. it certainly does. the president as you noted has on numerous occasions gone after sessions, publicly and privately for recusing himself and not
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controlling the special counsel probe and whitaker, he had an acting attorney general who had publicly criticized the probe, the russia probe and tv appearances and just this week whitaker refused to recuse himself from overseeing the russia probe. he rejected an ethics adviser review that said he would not b of his public comments and then the president's nominee to replace sessions william barr sent a memo to justice laying out why the special counsel should not investigate the special counsel with discussion. we learned barr discussed the memo with the president and mentioned it would come up during the senate confirmation hearing. >> laura, what has whitaker's role been in econnection with these investigations? >> that's been the question all along since he came into office in november. it's been an issue of what he's been up to vis-a-vis the mueller investigation and until this week whitaker had not been
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briefed about the investigation sources tell us whitaker will soon get a briefing and he's decided for himself not to step aside from the investigation. of course the deputy attorney general's office, rod rosenstein, still manages it day to day but those two could clash because whitaker is in the driver's seat and so if they disagree with him on anything, whitaker would overrule him. >> thank you both very much with this new development, significant development on the acting attorney general. harry sandick is with me, former u.s. attorney for the southern district, april ryan, white house correspondent for american urban radio networks also with me. harry, obviously the timeline will be crucial and i want to get to that in a moment because the president's mad about certain things whitaker does and then whitaker does something the president wants him to do very much so let's start here with this reporting from pamela and
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laura on how angry the president is at whitaker over campaign finance and the trump tower moscow. how significant is it? >> i think very because these continued discussions with the people who are supervising the investigation, he doesn't have to come out and say keep me out of the investigation. the anger reflects what his intent was and what his intent is going forward which is to influence the investigation but whitaker was holding off pending the ethics review which he's come out the opposite way from sessions and decided to not recuse from the investigation and we've seen career prosecutors in the southern district are going to do their job without fear of favor. they're not going to do something in hopes of satisfying the president or the acting attorney general. >> so april what do you make of this? the two instances that laura and pam just walked through, the
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president being imp kalicated i the trump tower payments and then the payments to the mistresses in the final days before the election. what does this mean that the president is weighing in on these things? >> the president is very upset. of late when is the president not upset but you have to remember one of the reasons why is because he distanced himself from this. he looks bad. we keep going back to the audio and video of when the president was on air force one saying he had nothing to do with those payments and then we now have these tapes for michael cohen that we've heard some tapes and if we've heard just very little, imagine what they have within the investigation. and you have to remember this, michael cohen prr even though the president tries to dismiss and dip inish his relationship to him, michael cohen was critical for a number of years,
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he understood about -- he knows what's going on with the foundation, the alleged illegal activities with the foundation, with the trump foundation, he also knows the trump tower russia meetings and michael cohen -- and people forget, michael cohen also brought to the president very key people that the president really relied on. some people maybe be unscrupulous, some people maybe professional but michael cohen was also the person who wanted them to call the black people to him. >> and haar troy this point, now let's enter the timeline. whitaker does these things regarding campaign finance, michael cohen, trump tower, michael cohen. the president's upset. expresses that frustration. then ethics adviser review says
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whitaker, you made negative comment, you should recuse yourself. whitaker doesn't. is he doing it to make up to the president to say look, don't worry, i e.j. okay. when you put the timeline together and his willingness to overrule the it i cans panel, wh what do you think? >> i think president was angry when sessions recused himself and he won't make that mistake. from the timeline laid out tonight it seems as if it's in response to the president's expression of anger that now that he's cleared by the ethics review or sort of cleared he actually cleared himself, i believe, the ethics opinion was. >> he overruled the review which was you should recuse. >> exactly. so he's going to wade into this and we may well see him try to prove his worth to the president in ways that he didn't before. >> i mean, april, this is also -- this is the acting attorney general, right? >> right.
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>> now we've got trump's foik take over the job. we know in he wrote in a memo to justice officials that mueller's inquiry was fatally misconceived, referring specifically the obstruction aspect of it. this is clear that he also agrees with the president, right? pretty -- is the president clearly trying to stack the justice department with people who will go there and just fix this probe for him? >> well, you know the president would say he will never try to stack the jarustice department t it sounds like loyalty. if it looks like a duck, sounds like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's a duck. but what i'm hearing from sources close to this white house, republican sources are telling me the president is still mad because all of this with barr and whitaker is getting too much attention. and i hear that the president is very upset mostly right now because whitaker, all this
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recusal stuff, to recuse or not recuse and he's not recusing himself and with barr we'll see how this plays out. the president wants someone who can change the dynamic of the forward-moving train called the mueller investigation and will barr or whitaker be able to do it? i don't think so. it's gone too far. >> now because anything they do would be perceived as biased around being done because they're behold on the the president. thank you both very much. next, the house just adjourned for the night. whoa. does that mean it's done here? we're getting a shutdown? we peer going to go back to capitol hill. we're four hours away from a formal shutdown. and mick mulvaney now acting as the chief of staff, favorite of the president. oh, bad timing, mick. here you are talking about a wall. >> the bottom line is the fence doesn't stop anybody who wants to get across. you go under, you go around, you go through. if you have psoriasis,
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a shutdown now guaranteed.
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this will be the first time in more than 40 years that the government shuts down three times in one year. manu raju is out front. people say it's non-essential and they get paid back at the end and that may be true but the fact that you have to greatest democracy in the world and the government can't figure out how to keep it open, that is offensive. in just about four hours it will happen all over again. all the dysfunction for who t world to see, government shutting down. >> and frustration in the capital all day long over this very topic, even the one republican senator lisa murkowski vented her frustration at the president and failure to get a deal. and what prompted so much
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concern among republicans is they haven't been clear about what the president would sign beyond the $5 billion number for wall funding that has no chancing of passing the united states senate. he had a meeting with republicans earlier today. he would not be clear about his end game and republicans in a private lunch vented their frustration in the fact that they don't know what the president would sign. now the housed adjourned for th night. john cornyn told me the senate won't have any votes for the night so that means it's essentially assured that the partial government shutdown will occur at midnight, the third of the trump presidency. now, talks are still ongoing, erin. vice president mike pence is in the senate still having discussions with senate minority leader chuck schumer as well as with house minority leader nancy pelosi but the republican leaders, mcconnell is the senate, paul ryan is speaker both have left for the night
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meaning it's up to mike pence, the white house, schumer and nancy pelosi to cut a deal and if pence cuts a deal with them, the ultimate question is will trump go along with it? they thought he would agree to a short term deal to keep the government open, well it turned out he didn't do that. >> manu, thank you very much. that's the thing. the vice president goes, puts his reputation on the line and everyone agrees and he goes back and the president changes his mind so it's tough when your own vice president can't even credibly fully speak for you. out front now, sheila jackson lee who sits on the house ju judiciary committee. the president just tweeted "the democrats own the shutdown." democrats in the senate and the house voted against the spending plan. the president said he owned it, he's happy to own it, but are you concerned his message will resonate with the public and the
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blame could shift. >> let me speak to the american people. thank you for having me. i don't think their memory as short as the president's memory. first of all, moving past last week -- and you're right, glaringly in the oval office, loudly in the oval office, shouting in the oval office, the president said i'll take charge of this shutdown. i'll take ownership of this shutdown. how many times did he say it? he said to chuck schumer, don't worry about it, chuck, i won't blame it on you. but more importantly, last 24 to 36 hours, theites senate voted in a bipartisan manner unanimously to send over an agreement of a cr. that had been agreed to by the house of representatives that the president agreed to sign. does he not remember that? that would have protected 800,000 federal employees. i'm sick of this mess at his feet. and what happened? fox news began to run the presidency all day long, pounding him. i understand he called one of
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the fox news anchors or rush limbaugh to let him know i've stood up to them. that is ridiculous. that's not the way you run a country. so it is a mess. >> i want to put up the tweet. you've seen it. those steel slats when the president is saying a design of a steel slat barrier which is his new word for the wall which is effective while at the same time beautiful. of course you are from texas. border state. what do you make of this when you look at this picture and these sharp impaling-like sticks -- steel slats, sorry. is this a twool ywall to you? >> i was the ranking member on the border security and have been on homeland security for any number of years and i've been all through the border starting from san diego and all through the border states and i will tell you that the president doesn't really know what's going on. that type of fence, somewhat similar, is in san diego and we know a large number of individuals who are desperate
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came to san diego to seek refuge coming in from central america. there are families and ranchers on the border that don't want the fence. we know better personnel, technology has been more effective. i might also say to the american people we want secure borders, democrats do, northern and southern senate democrats had a major funding of border security some years back. and in addition, maybe the president is not aware but tunnels which are quite frequently used as well as the fact that drugs come through the legal points of entry. a wall will not work. i will not support $5 billion wasted money for a wall. but i am interested in making sure the government stays open and i'll be open the what agreement can be made between the majority leader and the minority cleared and the president. >> i want to ask but the breaking news at cnn tonight. prior to acting attorney general whittaker's decision to not
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recuse himself in the russia investigation, to overrule the ethics investigation, to say i'll continue to oversee it. we have now learned that trump at least two times prior to that decision lashed out at matt whittaker. in both insubstantials he was angry for not pregting him over things from michael cohen. campaign finance hush payments and trump tower moscow. again, livid at him teflthics committee says you should recuse. whittaker says no, i won't. your reaction. >> that's already a problem that he has refused to recuse himself when the original staff counsel doj lawyer said i think you have a conflict. i think the other problem is clear. that he is not a confirmed ag, which the regular order requires. nor did they follow the regular order with the deputy attorney general becoming the acting attorney general. the real issue is, i don't know
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whether they expect mr. whittaker to be the magic man or superman. because you cannot stop an ongoing litigation or ongoing criminal investigation that one person is involved in and who is making his own separate agreements with prosecutors, no matter who you are. and i assume what he was suggesting is, that he could interfere with mueller and with the new york state assistant attorney generals for the southern district, excuse me, and could have stopped them from being able to continue on the agreement. that is absolutely absurd. and anybody knows the structure of the federal government and how the a.u.s, the assistant u.s. attorney, how mueller is supposed to investigate, that does not wash at all. there was no way that whittaker could have stopped it short of a public display and short of mueller telling him to stay out of his business, and the assistant u.s. attorney in new york saying the same thing.
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in addition, this defendant had the right to due process and to make his own independent decisions on how co-in essence save his life. that's what michael cohen was doing. and he also indicated on the record that he wanted to tell the truth. he wanted to clear his soul and help his family. when someone says anyone to help his country. when someone says that, i don't think you'll be able to stop anything. may i say this? i want to wish justice ginsburg a speedy recovery and the bill that many of us worked on for so long, the sentencing reduction and first step that will help thousands of families was signed today. besides all of this, something happened that is good for this country. i would conclude by saying that whittaker would have to be a superman to intercede in mueller's agreement and the u.s. attorney's agreement. >> it sounds like, what you're saying may be true. the president tried nonetheless. thank you very much. now nick mulvany dispatched
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to capitol hill to seal the shutdown. the very same wall that mulvany has publicly trashed on tape. >> as nick mulvany prepares to tea a chaotic white house and head strong president, he may first have to explain his critical comments about one of trump's key campaign promises. building the border wall. listen to his tape during a radio interview in 2015. uncovered by cnn's file. >> immigration, donald trump says build a wall, depart all illegal immigrants. rules are rules. >> i've never been in the box car office. ship them home and let the lord sort them out. the fence is an easy thing to sell politically, for someone to say just build a fence. >> he made the comments to the
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radio station in south carolina. and his criticism of then donald trump's border wall did not stop there. >> the fence doesn't solve the problem. is it necessary to have one? sure. would it help? sure. but to say, build the darn fence and have that be the end of the immigration discussion is an surrender and almost childish for someone running for president to take simplistic a view. and by the way, the bottom line is anyone who wants to get to across. >> his current role is at the office of management and budget and publicly he is defending trump's border wall. >> this stuff is going up now. why? because the president wants to make the country more safe. >> he is said to have lobbied hard for the office of chief of staff saying this is a tremendous honor. i look forward to working the president and the entire team. that is a far cry from how mulvany once described trump.
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as a terrible human being. when asked, he voiced his support for trump but offered this. >> should either of these people be role models to my 16-year-old triplets? no. >> also in 2016, he criticized trump during a congressional debate when explaining why he was reluctantly supporting the then gop candidate. >> yes, i'm supporting donald trump as enthusiastically as i can even though i think he is a terrible human being. the choice on the other side is just as bad. >> a spokeswoman said in reaction to that video, this is old news. these comments were made in 2016 when he was a congressman and had yet to meet the president. he continued to support then president trump and throughout the election and his support has never wavered while serving within the administration.
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as to what he said on the radio show, we did reach out to get reaction but they did not respond tower requests. >> not surprising. next -- >> i know words. i have the best words. i have the best temperament. norfolk has better toys than i do. ♪ not long ago, ronda started here. and then, more jobs began to appear. these techs in a lab. this builder in a hardhat...
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...the welders and electricians who do all of that. the diner staffed up 'cause they all needed lunch. teachers... doctors... jobs grew a bunch. what started with one job spread all around. because each job in energy creates many more in this town. energy lives here. tonight nobody knows tech better than trump according to trump. that is tech, campaign finance, the list goes on and on. it even includes toys. here's jennne. >> remember how mohammed ali always used to call himself the greatest of all time? now it's president trump calling himself the greatest at all times. >> i think nobody knows more about campaign finance than i do. >> nobody knows more about trade than me. nobody knows more about construction than i do. what field doesn't he excel in? >> i know more about isis than
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the generals do. believe me. nobody knows more about environmental impact statements than me. nobody that understands the horror of nuclear better than me. >> it's enough to make your head explode. >> nobody knows the politicians better than i do. believe me. >> even political points like corey booker. i know more about corey than he knows about himself. >> nobody builds walls better than me. believe me. >> president trump still knows how to spew superlatives. >> i know words. i have the best words. i think i have the best temperament. nobody has better toys than i do. >> from a guy who doesn't like to read, this. >> nobody likes the bible more than i do. >> for years, journalists have been showing his admiration delivered in the third person no less. >> nobody has ever had crowds like trump has had. >> occasionally he's demonstrated a flash of humility. a flash of modesty.
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>> i understand the tax laws better than almost anyone. >> almost anyone? you mean someone understands tax laws better than he does? anything he can do he can do better. >> i'm better everything including this. >> cnn. >> no you can't. ♪ yes i can yes i can >> where to jump the shark? was it with the bible? thanks for joining us. anderson starts now. the federal government will shut down tonight. good evening. that is the bottom line after days of wrangling over the president's border wall and a week of turmoil surrounding this president, not to mention the worst week on wall street in a decade. tonight's deadline will come and go without funding to deep lights on. that means officers and agencies will close 25% of your government will go unfunded. 380,000 peo