tv CNN Newsroom With Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul CNN December 22, 2018 7:00am-8:00am PST
my kids. >> your race is against whites. >> i hope that's not your holiday table. let's all hope for more independence and bipartisanship in the new year. i am off next week for the holiday, have a merry christmas and happy new year. good morning to you. it is saturday, december 22nd. i am victor blackwell. >> and leyla santiago. we are hours away from a crucial moment in the on-going shutdown. the senate convenes at noon. will they vote today? will they have something to vote on today? >> it is the third partial government shutdown, entering the 11th hour. thousands of federal workers may now have to wait, many of them continuing to report to work with no idea when they'll get their next paycheck. >> and the week after he told
democratic leaders he would be proud to take the blame for a border wall shutdown, president trump says it's the democrats' fault. >> it caps a rough week for the white house. the dramatic court appearance from the former national security adviser, michael flynn, and the resignation of james mattis, and the worst week on wall street in a decade. we have a couple of hours until the senate convenes. what are we expecting, what are you hearing about what's going to happen? >> reporter: sure. a number of things could happen. they're negotiating behind the scenes. had a chance to talk to juror james langford -- senator james langford. he said the hope was that perhaps when the senate convenes at noon, they may offer senate majority leader mitch mcconnell a deal saying this is what we agreed on behind the scenes. if that does not happen at noon, he says expect to see a much
longer period of time when you have the government shutdown. the hope was that they were working on a number, anywhere from $1 billion to $5 billion for border security or as the president likes to say the border wall. the latest we heard the democrats were sticking closer to $1 billion, less than $5 billion, but something in the works. equally important was language behind this. would it be a border wall per se or things like technology and staffing, things more generic in language to beef up security and more palatable and acceptable for the president to sign into law. that's what we're waiting to hear. next two hours are pretty critical. i have a chance to speak to democratic congressman steny hoyer of the fifth district of maryland, the incoming majority whip, and surprisingly he seemed pretty optimistic about the process and what happened here, and that is largely because
you've had some powerful players in the administration here on capitol hill trying to negotiate what would be acceptable to the president. listen to a little bit of that interview. >> i am hopeful. this is in the senate, not the house. but we have many people in the administration, including mr. pence and mr. mulvaney and i think mr. kushner participating in discussions, and that's hopeful they have influence with the president of the united states, which is important. the problem is the president of the united states changed his mind. he is critical to be involved in this discussion. and as i understand it, the discussions are going on this morning, this afternoon. the senate comes in at 12, but i don't think they'll be doing anything. the agreement is they will not do anything until they have an agreement which the president agrees to, senate agrees to, and
house agrees to. so i am hopeful that the earliest i think it could be done is probably sunday in terms of vote, but hopefully the latest is thursday. i don't think we'll come back monday or tuesday, christmas. wednesday will be a travel day, so thursday i think would be the soonest we could do that. but i am very hopeful the president will get the fact they don't have funds for the wall but do have votes for heightened security at the border. we're all concerned about security at the border. people can't be coming into the united states that are not authorized to do so, that we don't know about, that pose a danger to our people. congress that comes across, we need to make sure it is appropriate, so that there is agreement that we need to make the border secure. what there's not agreement on is we think the wall is not very effective. we think the wall is a waste of money. as a matter of fact, mulvaney
interestingly enough said he thought the president's thoughts about the wall were, and i quote, absurd and childish. that's pretty tough language for now acting chief of staff to have said about this proposal. so we ought to get that behind us and concentrate hopefully on discussions on ways that we could perhaps invest in greater technology, greater personnel to make sure borders are not porous. >> reporter: important to note comments made by mulvaney during campaign season as trump was a candidate, not the president here, he since changed his tune on that language of course, but also it is important to note that steny hoyer's own district, 62,000 federal government employees, and he talks about the real need to wrap this up relatively quickly, that it is going to be very difficult for those employees as they're furloughed, as they don't get paid in time during the holiday
season. that's one of the incentives. the other important thing he did say, and the big question, is whether or not the president is good to his word, if he says and conveys this to pattinson and kushner and others that he is willing to accept a deal, will he keep that deal if the republicans and democrats announce this, say this is what we're voting for. that's a critical point, procedural move they agreed to yesterday that all three sides have to vote on something that's real. it is not a test vote, something that is real. that's going to be a real risk for republicans to take, to believe the president at his word says he went back on his word wednesday and blew all of this up and here we are now. >> absolutely. suzanne malveaux on capitol hill for us. we look forward to what happens at noon. thank you so much. >> thank you. and president trump says he cancelled his trip to florida to stay in washington to, quote, wait for the democrats.
let's bring in cnn white house correspondent abby phillips, joining us with what you're hearing on your end. >> reporter: well, the president is here at the white house apparently waiting while others negotiate on his behalf. his son-in-law, jared kushner, vice president mike pence and mick mulvaney soon to be acting chief of staff, office of management and budget have been working to get something negotiated that would bring an end to the shutdown. as suzanne laid out there, the realistici real sticking point is what will president trump accept. can anyone trust that he will stick by his side. president trump has not been clear about what the compromise level of border security is sufficient for him. he pushed republicans to pass $5 billion, but that figure is viewed as nonstarter in the senate. if the number is going to be less than that, white house
aides aren't saying what level president trump will accept. he is facing enormous amount of pressure from his base, from conservatives on the right that say mr. president, stick it out. meanwhile, he has been quiet. instead, trying to reshape, reframe the blame game for the shutdown, saying this is the democrats' fault. where is the compromise going to come, when will he say where he stands on these key issues. >> thank you so much. what's at stake during a shutdown? at least 420,000 federal employees will be expected to work without pay until lawmakers can make a deal. about 380,000 employees placed on furlough as we head into the holidays. >> essential services like social security will still get funded and the mail will be delivered. federal employees that keep people safe like the military and law enforcement officers will keep working. let's bring in josh rogue anan.
i want to get to a couple of topics, the shutdown and also the general mattis, secretary mattis and his resignation. is there a carry over, crossover between what we're seeing on capitol hill and some of the i don't want to say resentment but disagreement from members of the senate and having to deal with the shutdown. >> i think there is. what you're seeing is a buildup of resentment on both sides of the aisle about president trump's negotiating style, the way he deals with people and congress, you could apply it to diplomats, the military, his own cabinet. his style is in chaos, unpredictability and ultimately resolution. may have worked in business, but in government it hurts a lot of real people, and numbers you put up are a stark example of that,
400,000 working without pay. another 400,000 not working in the christmas season. let's assume all of the vital national security functions are still staffed, do you want to go to the airport on your holiday travel and meet and be checked by an agent not paid in two weeks? that person is not going to be happy either. the irony is we all know how this will end. they're going to make a deal. it won't be much different from the deal they made and the president reneglected on. >> may get to the continuing resolution they were passing to get to february at the end of this anyway. let's move to the resignation letter and reporting from "the washington post," the decision to withdraw u.s. troops from syria started, at least the latest iteration, from a call with turkey's erdogan a week ago
friday in which the president of turkey seemingly taunted president trump, asked him why do you still have troops there, why are you backing the syrian kurdish fighters if you say you already won. he said you're right, i'm getting out. how does that correspond with what we saw from secretary mattis' letter where he had comments about the malign actors and strategic opponents that he's learned about in his career, comparing to what the president views as strong men's thoughts. >> it is shocking to think that the president of the united states could reject all the advice of senior cabinet members, not even ask the advice of military before making a military decision, do it off the taunlt taunt of the president of turkey. that's a breakdown that has devastating consequences. but what james mattis is trying to say is that's not the only
issue, for him it was the straw that broke the camel's back. he has been dealing for two years with a president that doesn't believe in basic tenet of treat your friends well and treat your enemies not so well. it is like an axiom of national security and foreign policy making. he doesn't believe the president shares his values when it comes to what america stands for and what's america's role in the world. you take that big idea that james mattis has been struggling with for two years, here's a president that doesn't agree with what america has been doing in the world for 80 years, and take the second idea, he is not listening to anyone except the president of turkey. put those together, it is too much for even james mattis to suffer. i think other people feel the same way. >> josh rogue and, thank you for being with us. >> thank you. breaking news, cnn sources telling us he is less than impressed with the man he appointed to head the u.s. federal reserve. so much so, trump is floating
around the idea of firing him. we'll be right back. ng... so try febreze one. with no aerosols and no heavy perfumes. so you can spray and stay. febreze one. - [narrator] meet shark's newest robot vacuum. it powerfully cleans from floors to carpets, even pet hair, with ease, and now for cleaning surfaces above the floor, it comes with a built in shark handheld. one dock, two sharks. the shark ion robot cleaning system.
president trump is said to be less than impressed we should say with jerome powell, the appointed chair of the federal reserve. sources telling cnn that the president has been talking with his lyle advisers -- legal advisers whether he could fire him. >> he blames the interest rate hike for the markets plunging. wall street had the worst week since the 2018 recession, slumping 411 points on friday. for more on this, let's go ahead and get over to senior economics analyst, steven moore, who has also been an informal adviser to the president. steven, let me start with you advised president trump on this. where would you start? without him he should do this and where would you stand on what could happen if he does fire powell?
>> first of all, powell has turned out to be a catastrophic choice. the decision the fed made to raise interest rates this week was really an act of economic malpractice. we have deflation in the economy now. you saw while chairman powell was speaking the stock market fell by 600 points, at a time we need to get more dollars into the economy, he was pulling back on it. so trump certainly is angry at powell as i think a lot of american investors and workers should be angry at him. i am not a lawyer so i don't know exactly what authority he would have to fire powell. i think the most important thing is that the fed needs to have an emergency meeting right after christmas and reverse the bad decision that was made. this is a really bad obviously bloodbath week for the stock market. i would say to people that are investors watching, if you look
at stocks today relative to earnings of companies, stocks are really, really cheap right now. now is not a bad time to be getting into the market. there's an old rule, you want to buy stocks low and sell them high, and you've got really low prices out there. that's my little financial advice for the morning. >> all right. so you're standing by trump in saying that powell, your words, not mine, has been catastrophic. you're also standing by him on the shutdown. you have said that he should be able to get the $5 billion to build this wall. my question to you is what happened to mexico is going to pay for the wall? >> well, look, i do favor getting the wall built. i'm not a fan of the government shutdown. i think it is a shame the government is shutdown. the workers will be taken care of, all of the workers, the workers furloughed will get
paid. i loved through about 12 of these government shutdowns. the government workers in the end get paid, but it is a shame to me that they can't just make a deal here. >> let me interrupt you there. what happened to mexico is going to pay for the wall? i understand you want a wall. i understand you get the repercussions of a shutdown, but as someone that stands by trump on this, what happened to mexico paying for the wall? >> they don't want to pay for the wall. that's the problem with this. they have stonewalled, excuse the pun. my point is where we are now, they're not that far apart. you have a trillion dollar spending bill, 1.5 billion for funding, trump wants 5 billion. just cut the difference down the middle, get the government back open. continue with the boarder security. the reason i'm for the wall. two reasons, number one, i think border security is important for
the country. number two, i think the american people, we need to have real immigration reform where we let in the immigrants that we need. we need more immigrants, not less. but the point is to come in legally. that's where the american people are. we need a system with a secure border. i used to tell donald trump build the wall, but make sure it has big gates so people can come in legally. that's the system we need. >> and the asylum process we saw migrants use in the caravan is the legal way to do so. steven, i lived in mexico, i know for a fact the mexicans, not so much stonewalled, they never said they were going to pay for the wall. i spent two years asking them, that has not changed. i thank you for your time. >> thank you, merry christmas. >> same to you. >> let's also remember, when steven says workers will get paid the longer it goes on for people that live paycheck to paycheck, and that used to be me, and it is still a whole lot of people, you miss one day, the bottom can fallout.
hopefully leaders in washington remember that as they play games going back and forth with the shutdown and rhetorical games of who owns it. there are people that need that money and rely on it on the day they're due it for doing the work they do. let's move on. we are fact checking the president's claims on boarder wall funding. you're not getting the truth from the president about the wall, what has been done and what he promised. we have the facts. we'll be right back. l money mant seem the same, but some give their clients cookie cutter portfolios. fisher investments tailors portfolios to your goals and needs. some only call when they have something to sell. fisher calls regularly so you stay informed. and while some advisors are happy to earn commissions whether you do well or not. fisher investments fees are structured so we do better when you do better. maybe that's why most of our clients come from other money managers. fisher investments. clearly better money management. fresh-baked, and hand-crafted,
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it is being built now, big sections of wall. we will continue that. >> that was president trump during the contentious oval office meeting with chuck schumer and nancy pelosi. he is claiming that the border wall he promised during the campaign and for the first two years of his administration is being built. this is not a new claim. here's the president a few months ago at a rally in june. >> oh, it's happening. it's not build that wall any more, it is continue building that wall because we're building it. >> look at this. supporters traded in build the wall signs for finish the wall signs. so is this true? has congress approved funding for the border wall? here are the facts. the week president trump signed a bill in march, got 1.6 billion to start wall on southern border, referring to this section of that huge funding
bill. nearly 1.6 billion for u.s. customs and border protection procurement construction and improvements. paying for six projects on the border. not one of them is a border wall. look, fencing, fencing, planning and design, technology. no mention of border wall. there's no mention of that phrase in the entire law. i checked. aside from 14 miles of a secondary barrier near san diego, which is still not a wall, the rest is fencing. if you think we're playing a game of semantics here, consider this. the border wall prototypes in southern california, remember those? congress set aside $20 million to build 8 samples. these were the finalists. one was to become the great border wall the president promised during the campaign. he first toured them in march days before signing that funding bill into law. which one is being built? not one of them.
the same funding bill that allocated 1.6 billion that the president brags about also says that money can only be spent to build designs deployed the prior year. so no money to build anything new. no new wall desiengns, not the concrete barrier trump promised, certainly not one of the prototypes. he toured them march 13th, and ten days later signed the bill that made it illegal to build them. bottom line, as the president fights for billions to finish the concrete border wall he promised during the campaign, remember despite his claims, he hasn't received a single dollar to start it. joining me to discuss, former communications director for ted cruise, alex stewart and karen johnson. let's start here with the
definition of the wall. i want to start with the definition from candidate trump and what he tweeted this week. let's start with the president. >> let's defend our national security, put america first, let's not spill american blood to fight enemies of other kun countries. >> that's the wrong sound bite. do we have the right one? we don't have the right one. what the president said as a candidate, it would be concrete and rebar, reinforced steel. 90 foot concrete parking deck. he said it wouldn't be a fence, it would be a wall. this week tweeted from his account, a big beautiful design, the steel slat barrier which is effective while at the same time beautiful. that's a fence. what happened to the concrete wall he was promising? >> this is all semantics. this is clear no matter what you call it and slice this, the
democrats will be opposed to it. what we found out yesterday, we refer to it as something different than a wall, democrats are a little more willing to negotiate. let's be clear, one thing for certain, president trump campaigned on building a wall, campaigned on securing the border, campaigned on making this a national security issue, and this is more than his ability to try to follow through on the campaign promise. he has dug in his heels and is working hard to get it done. he said i need $5 billion. he is willing to negotiate. he mentioned that yesterday to senators. this is a matter of democrats coming to the table, making a hard decision. do they want to close the border or do they want to close down the government. they have the opportunity to open the government but they have to close the borders. >> what's the evidence that he is willing to negotiate. >> he made it clear. he said i am not hard and firm on the 5 billion, provided the democrats are willing to negotiate, and that's something that gave them confidence in
moving forward. he also said look, i come from a position of strength at this point, i'm in a better negotiating position. if i stand firm now on the 5 billion and try to get them to come up on 1.6, but he is using it to make a point, he knows about the art of the deal, we're going to have less negotiating power as democrats move and take control of the house in january. look, i talked with people that spoke with him yesterday and today. he's in a good mood. he understands he's in a position where the democrats need to work with him and he realized they have a tough decision between opening the government and keeping the borders closed. >> the mood isn't relevant, if he is having a great day or not. are you a great deal maker if the government shuts down? how good a job are you doing if you get to the point where you can't keep the machine running. >> no one likes the fact that we have a partial government shutdown over christmas or anytime. it effects a lot of people.
this is also an opportunity for him to continue to not just the base, people that your voices are heard and i am following through on this important campaign promise. >> alice says it is semantics, although the president says he is clear. whether it is the right thing to do or not, we can have that conversation and have for three years now. to you, is she right, whatever it is, democrats are not going to support it because it is a trump proposal. >> this is the third trump partial shutdown. let's make sure we know for shurs, this is the third time this happened. second thing, victor, it was candidate donald trump that said that mexico would pay for the wall. democrats didn't say that. now that he knows he can't get funding for mexico, we're waiting on this sort of proposal because he had a good relationship negotiating with mexico. now democrats move forward. why would we negotiate with a man that's temperamental.
let's not forget, there was a deal on the table came from the senate that president trump was going to support. some people said he was going to support this deal. then looked at other radio shows and fox news, then said i'm not accepting the deal. he is throwing temper tantrums. we know he is in a good mood, right now he is in the white house, and waiting to tell air force one to go to mar-a-lago and play golf. this is a man that manufactured this crisis. democrats are to be applauded for staying strong. when the president said he would support it, it did not include funding. then he sent the vice president and kushner to congress with a strong message saying he will not -- >> democrats were going to put $25 billion on the table for part of the daca deal to keep everything moving. is there something that can be added to this so the president can get his $5 billion? is there a negotiating point for the democrats or are you waiting
out the clock until january 3rd? >> i think nancy pelosi and chuck schumer went to the white house willing to negotiate. we saw a man that basically said, and i paraphrase, i will take the mantle and shut the government down if you do not include funding for the wall. i think that democrats were in a posture before midterms to say let's work with him, but remember how daca turned out. the president again went back on his word. said he would support daca, and then lied and switched positions. >> as a republican who voted for the president and support his policies, i never thought that we would build a wall that mexico would pay for and i think a lot of republicans realize that. moving forward, i always did believe he had security of the border and national security at hand, and this is more than just immigration, illegal immigration into the country. this is also about bringing illegal drugs into the country, which is a tremendous problem. we have a dual purpose here. not only economic, national security, it is drug enforcement
issue, and also a way that the president is able to follow through on something that he was firm in running for president. >> i heard so many people say i never believed mexico would pay for the wall. did you say that during the campaign? >> i sure did. >> you're one of the first. >> i certainly did. i said it repeatedly. but i always knew that that was an issue that resonated with his base, you would go to a rally, build the wall, who will pay for it, i stununderstood that, but s the policy. that wasn't the tone and tenor i resonated with with a lot of things, but policies of securing the border, fighting drugs into the country, i had faith this president would make that a priority. >> we have to wrap. thank you both. president trump angry over defense secretary james mattis' resignation, but it is not his departure that has the president fuming. we'll explain next when we're joined by samantha vinograd and
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to pull u.s. troops out of syria and possibly afghanistan. so let's discuss. joining me now, cnn military analyst major general spider marks, and national security analyst samantha vinograd. sam served on president obama's national security council. let's go ahead and first of all listen to reaction from lawmakers. >> i think we're going to pay a price for it if it is not reversed. >> hard to imagine any president would wake up and make this kind of decision with this little communication, with this little preparation. >> to say they're defeated is an overstatement and is fake news. >> general, samantha, i'm going to you for your reaction. sam, start with you. what's your view on what this means around the world? >> i think this will have a direct operational impact on our ability to protect ourselves going forward. we have a peter cried wolf
scenario unfolding in front of us. the united states founded the global coalition to combat isis, it is now about 79 countries and organizations. we're now announcing we're withdrawing from the coalition. we did the same thing on the agreement with iran. we pushed and led efforts for it to start in the first place, then unilaterally withdrew. who is the president going to call when he needs to build a coalition on any issue going forward, ghost busters? he is not going to be able to call allies and say we need help to combat our enemies, whether it is on alliances to combat enemies like iran or other terrorist groups down the road. >> general, so many people talked about our kurdish allies and what it could mean for that relationship. you hear russia praising the decision. do you worry about that? >> oh, big time, and of course russia is going to see this as a great victory on their part. the big ticket item is russia's
engagement in that part of the world and iran's influence, how that effects partners in the region, especially israel. what can the united states do going forward if it needs to reinsert itself. some said frankly if we depart, we may have to go back in. difficulty with all of that is the crumbling effect of relationships that exist with the partners in the region that have been doing heavy lifting. when you look at what happened to isis in the course of many years, the campaign in place many years, isis has been reduced in capabilities. it still exists and will continue to exist as an ideological, very influential galvanizing, violent extremist force out there that will continue to draw folks to its ranks. the kurds have been doing the heavy lifting work to reduce isis, they have done that with support of the united states,
and clearly at odds to turks that see the kurds as a legitimate problem. we now have a free for all, the united states presence is to our great advantage as a stabilizing force, primarily in terms of our alliances and partnerships in the region. >> let's turn now to the shutdown, what we're dealing with now. sam, how do you see this impacting national security in terms of a global perspective? >> i think we're trying to tackle lots of national security issues and a major handicap when you compare the u.s. government to frankly any other government around the world. we have 380,000 less government employees that are even able to check blackberrys, work on e-mail starting at midnight last night. what other country is operating without its full team on the field at this point, literally nobody else. we're less fully staffed compared to others. i noted this morning, the u.s.
embassy in islam bad, for efforts in afghanistan, countering terrorism, they tweeted they wouldn't be tweeting any more because they're not fully staffed because of the government shutdown. we're not able to perform regular run of the mill national security functions because we have so many less employees showing up to work. even those that are, aren't getting paid. >> general, president trump says that the shutdown is because of security. he is arguing that the border wall is the reason we need to hold off with moving forward with less than $5 billion for a wall. is that how you see it? >> no. i think the issue really is to sam's point government has a list of key and essential personnel that will be engaged, lean forward, do their jobs. that has everything to do with
military, law enforcement, border patrol, tsa, et cetera. i'm not concerned about security going forward in the midst of a shutdown. we created this incredible government which is an invitation to struggle. we're going to have challenges and disagreements like this. a shutdown is incredibly unfortunate, not just this time of year but anytime. what we have simultaneously is a number of issues taking place with our deployments and engagements as we try to build partnerships internationally, on the global stage, and then we have this other part, part of the mix, discussion on the shutdown. i think going forward, the summary is we're going to be okay. >> can i make a point to slightly disagree with the general, this is about our schedule security in the sense it isn't just a short term security issue. many of the employees, several of the employees not showing up to work are working on security issues that are more long term. so when you look at the state
department strategy to combat illegal immigration and the staff that would be working on things like governance, supporting better conditions on the ground in guatemala and honduras, those are not deemed essential under government shutdown because it is relative to doing things like tsa and other functions. we have to take a long view. it is not just about meeting a tactical threat at the moment of shutdown, it is about keeping us secure in the long term. >> all right. thank you both so much. >> thanks. merry christmas. >> same to you. a little over an hour away from a critical meeting on capitol hill over the partial government shutdown. the senate reconvenes at noon eastern. cnn is there as lawmakers arrive to find common ground. will they be able to come up with something, anything to vote on today?
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seeding can make it rain. it is like you create clouds out of nowhere. you target storm systems. >> if there's no clouds that have moisture in them, we can't do anything. we can tap into what's there and assist mother nature. >> what is cloud seeding? >> enhancement of the natural precipitation process. >> weather modification international is literally making it rain. to do that, they target clouds full of moisture, inject small amounts of an inert chemical. then the water condenses around new particles and gets heavy, falling to the ground as precipitation. even though cloud seeding has been around for decades, scientific data to confirm it is working is relatively new. that hasn't stopped companies from recognizing benefits. idaho power is one of weather
modification international's clients. the hydroelectric company says last year's program provided 300% return. how many homes does that power? >> in excess of 60,000 homes. >> $9 billion worth of water that may have not fallen on mountain tops. weather modification says benefits could extend beyond business. do you see cloud seeding as potential drought solution? >> we're not going to solve large climate shifts, but cloud seeding is part of a solution, part of healthy water management program. >> interesting concept. we will continue to watch the developments on the shutdown. thanks for watching. >> much more ahead in the next hour of cnn "newsroom." our colleague, fredricka whitfield, will pick it up after a quick break. ♪
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hello, everyone. i am fredricka whitfield. 11 hours and counting. part of the u.s. government is shut down for the third time this year, after a tense standoff over the president's demand for border wall funding. lawmakers are returning to capitol hill in the next hour, and as the blame game continues over who is responsible for the shutdown and how long it will last. markets are taking a december plunge. the dow suffering the worst week in a decade. trump is on the hunt for a new defense secretary after james