tv CNN Right Now With Brianna Keilar CNN January 2, 2019 10:00am-11:01am PST
i'm brie gallanna keilar. one of the president's biggest republican critics comes out swings as he walking into the senate. plus, netflix under fire for yanking an episode of a comedian's show at the request of the saudi government. and elizabeth warren to iowa, joe biden's got the best case, says another and nancy pelosi whether chop your head off says her own daughter.
but first, president trump will meet with leaders from both parties in the white house situation room. the situation they're facing is the partial government shutdown. i want to bring in white house correspondent kaitlan collins on this story. kaitlan, a hill source familiar with this meeting says it appears to be more of a student than a serious discussion. what are we expecting out of this. >> even people at the white house don't think a lot is going to come from that meeting. they don't think they're going to walk out and have the grand plan to reopen the government because neither side is budging at the moment. the meeting is taking place the situation room reserved for national security matters but they will be in there for this meeting which makes us presume
there won't be cameras like the last time chuck schumer and nancy pelosi were here where they were essentially yelling at each other. white house officials want to talk about how they believe what is happening at the border is so urgent as they try to fight for the funding of the president's long-promised border wall. the president was here at the white house virtually alone and he continued to dig in calling allies and saying he is not giving up on his campaign promise and he wants $5 billion for the wall. if you talk to white house aides, they say they don't believe they will get that but we'll end up with is that both sides will have to give something up to get the government back open because president trump is saying he will not sign a bill if it comes to the white house with only $1.3 billion allotted for border security. if the president is saying he won't sign it, mitch mcconnell
won't bring it to the floor so this impasse will continue and white house officials believe it could stretch out for some time and they don't think today's meeting is going to move them any closer to coming up with a solution. >> that is depressing, kaitlan collins, thank you so much. let's get a fact check, the president tweeted about his wall, the cause for the shutdown. he writes mexico is paying for the wall through the new usmca trade deal, much of the wall has already been fully renovated or built. we have done a lot of work. $5.6 billion that house has approved is very little in comparison to the benefits of national security. quick payback. almost all of that is untrue, we should mention. the usmca has not been ratified by mexico and canada or approved by congress in the u.s. officials have not said how, if passed, this trade agreement would l pay for the wall. also construction has not started on the wall that trump often describes.
if it had and if much of it was done why would there be a government shutdown? instead, new and replacement fencing has been added as part of but just a small part of $1.6 billion in border security funding included in that big old omnibus bill signed by president trump last year and that is the same funding democrats have agreed to this time around. that is an amount that president trump says doesn't go far enough from him. now to the smackdown between president trump and mitt romney. this started with an op-ed by romney in the "washington post" and in this he criticized president trump's character and leadership. romney writes when he won the election i hoped he would rise to the occasion but on balance his conduct over the past two years, particularly his actions last month, is evidence the president has not risen to the mantle of the office.
sunlen serfaty joins us live. tell us about this back and forth between the president and mitt romney. >> it's quite a back and forth, another chapter in their long and storied relationship. this womans one day before mitt romney will be sworn in as the next senator from utah, perhaps setting the stage for a bigger battle. that was a harsh op-ed by mitt romney in the "washington post" and we saw president trump fire right back and mock him for losing the 2012 presidential election. trump tweeting earlier this morning, quote, here we go with mitt romney but so fast. question will be is he a flake? i hope not. would much prefer mid-focus on border security and so many other things where he can be helpfu
helpful. a lot of questions on capitol hill whether mitt romney will assume the mantle of jeff flake. one person coming to president trump's defense is ronna mcdaniel, the head of the rnc. she is the niece of mitt romney which makes this tweet something remark blg. s -- remarkable. she said, quote, potus is attacked and obstructed 24/7. for an incoming republican freshman senator to attack donald trump as their first act feeds into what the democrats and media want and is disappointing and unproductive. so certainly a remarkable statement there by raonna callig her uncle a freshman senator. brianna? >> sunlen serfaty on capitol hill. this is this isn't the first time trump and romney have shared words, sometimes supportive, other times not so much.
let's take a look. >> being in donald trump's magnificent hotel and having his endorsement is a delight. >> he's a friend. i like him a lot. >> he's a phony, a fraud. his promises are as worthless as a degree from trump university. >> this isn't a matter of character and integrity. >> the last election should have been won except romney choked like a dog. he choked. >> mid-is a straight shooter. whether people love him or don't love him -- mitt romney is a straight shooter. >> we will hear from mitt rom y
romne romney. i want to bring in david chalian. it makes you wonder if like jeff flake mitt romney might rhetorically be against the president but ultimately jeff flake would vote with the president's initiatives and brett kavanaugh for instance. >> i notice jeff flake retweeted the romney op-ed. cindy mccain retweeted it.
rand paul just announced he's holding a press conference to denounce this. you see what the chairwoman of the rnc is doing. you have the trump forces of the republican party which is the larger share of the republican party pushing back on romney's argument. >> there's a point that ronna mcdaniel makes that i wonder about where she says this is the first act of an incoming senator. what's the strategy of i haven't even walked in the door and i'm already throwing out this missil missile. >> the president makes clear in the op-ed he won't comment on every tweet, he won't comment on everything the president said but he wants to hold him accountable on this character
and intel sbeg integrity issue. i don't know what this will amount to except this, it seems he's holding out the option that if donald trump continues to go in what romney thinks is a bad direction, if he loses support among the republican party perhaps romney would be there standing at the end of the day to take up the mantle. maybe he's holding up the option of a 2020 run. i'm skeptical. this is a president who is quite popular with the republicans. >> good point. shutdown meeting, this is what we're watching at the white house. this is what nancy pelosi's daughter said about her mom's negotiating skills. >> she'll cut your head off and you won't know you're bleeding. that's all you need to know about her. no one ever won betting against nancy pelosi. she's persevered. you have to give her credit. no matter what you think, you have to give her credit because she -- think about it, think about all those presidents she's
endured? the bush, the bush, the clinton, she's been through it all. . how is that going to imply to thi this. >> they passed government funding bills to open up the government and throw the hot potato back into republican hands and here's the catch, she'll pass bills with the democratic majority in the house that the senate republicans already unanimously agreed to before the shutdown. what happened was president trump flip sod what i think you
are seeing here is that nancy pelosi is saying you guys, mitch mcconnell and donald trump, need to figure out your strategy. >> she's trying to draw that wedge between them. so republicans especially when we hear our reporters saying guys, no one expects on either side anything to come out of the meeting, what's the republican strategy. >> this is what i am most keenly paying attention to out of this meeting. how are the republicans in that meeting going to provide donald trump a way out of the corner he backed himself into? mitch mcconnell passed the bills and wanted to leave town so now what do the republicans come out of this meeting and say that indicate the fig leaf that they are going to try to provide donald trump to get the government back up and running? some compromise they can point to for the president as a bit of a victory here. >> we'll stay tuned. weeks this shut down could last. david chalian, thank you so much as always. new today, the u.s. granted access to the american detained in russia but is this moscow's
revenge? plus netflix pulling an episode of a comedian's show at the request of the saudi government. hear why. we'll talk about the criticism. also as elizabeth warren heads to iowa, one democratic star says joe biden has got the best case among everyone to be president. we'll discuss that. my experience with usaa has been excellent. they really appreciate the military family and it really shows. with all that usaa offers why go with anybody else? we know their rates are good, we know that they're always going to take care of us.
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>> he was helping to squire some american tourists whoornd are part of the wedding party. we don't know why he was picked up by the russians.around who ae part of the wedding party. we don't know why he was picked up by the russians. so i'm not sure we're worried about anything other than getting him out of russia. >> cnn intelligence and security analysts and former cia operative bob baer joining me on this. let's talk through this if you can. he meets with consular officials. how does that go? then what happens? >> they'll ask him if he's being treated well. >> why do you think the state department is being tight-lipped about this?
>> i think it's a diplomatic crisis. for this administration because frankly thinkable man is a hostage and so they are asking themselves why have the russians at this point taken in an innocent american and holding him as a spy. it makes no sense. >> is it hard to believe she is an intel agent of the u.s. knowing his background? >> i know russian operations and i know they're run carefully and they don't take contractors, send them to moscow to commit an act of espionage. it doesn't happen. we were talking, it could be a rogue operation but i very much doubt that. >> so his arrest, it come fws t weeks -- alleged russian spy maria butina pleads got trying to infiltrate political circles. we know she is cooperating with investigations into russian interferen
interference. >> she wasn't an agent and she wasn't a proper spy and she didn't have diplomatic immunity but the relationship with intelligence is tenuous and he's mad and says don't arrest our citizens and put them in jail for espionage when they didn't commit espionage. >> and when you read about -- first we didn't know about paul whelan, we know we've obtained his military record, he spent 14 years in the marines, he was discharged, convicted of a special court-martial on several charges related to larceny back in 2008. he found social media posts
intriguing. but knowing what you know about him being dishonorably discharged, is this someone who would be entertained as someone to join the intel community? >> he couldn't get a top secret clearance, that's a bar, a larceny, no way. >> he's on this russian social media platform. he's on it for the past 13 years. he had friends in the military in russia. what does that say to you? >> i can see this guy going to russia, meeting officials, asking sensitive questions about the regime, about the fsb, anything that would alert the russians. they get enough evidence from a russian deport haul them in but at the end of the day he's a hostage and the russians know how that. >> how does this? >> not well, this is a shot across trump's bow from bird pu >> bob baer, thank you so much. what do democrat harry reed and
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>> president trump ice character is coming under criticism from past and future leaders. . romney said with the nation so divided, resentful and angry, presidential leadership in qualities of character is indispensable. and it is in this province where the incumbent's shortfall has been most glaring. and harry reid tells the "new york times" magazine that the president is not immoral but amoral. and asked during an interview if he thought trump was immoral, stanley mcchrystal responded, i think he is. joining me is pennsylvania republican congressman brian fitzpatrick. congressman, thank you for being with us. i know you've heard this criticism going on. you have been an outspoken critic of the president but do you think he is immoral or amoral as some of the others say? >> yeah.
i haven't had a chance to read mitt romney's op-ed, i will tell you he's a good man and i'm looking forward to serving with him in congress but what i have focused in on really and this has been a concern for a lot of people is the tone and the demeanor of the president. it's been unbecoming quite frankly and it detract answer what he's trying to accomplish. i saw this play out in the last immigration debate, particularly with my problems solvers caucus and the language was counterproductive. >> you focus on language and tone do you think weighing in as mitt romney and stanley mcchrystal have done, as harry reid is doing, weighing in on the morality of the president, is counterproductive or productive? >> yeah, i mean, getting into, like, psychological assessments
orb kha or character, that's a vicious downward spiral. if we focus on the tone, the language which is something that needs to be improved, brianna, it does and that's something we can agree on and the policies as well. >> i wonder what you think about jerry falwell, jr., a prominent evangeli evangelist, president of liberty university, he says evangelicals may be immoral for not supporting trump because his policies have helped so many people. you're shaking your head. what do you think. >> that's ridiculous. once we start questioning people's morals and arker the -- again, what we need to focus on, the way we talk to each other, civility, these things matter and when we go down the road of cutting down the core of people's character and psychological assessment and morals, i don't think that's productive. does the tone and civility -- should that be a question and hold the higher standard. you better believe it. that translates into the ability or inability to get things done like immigration.
which is front and center right now. >> let's talk about the shutdown. what do you think is going to come out of this meeting at the white house between the president and top democrats and republicans. we're hearing pessimism on both sides. >> i sure hope everybody acts like an adult. i hope they try to learn from each other and i'm a big believer, as is our problem solvers caucus in viewing people that think differently as a strength to be harnessed, not a weakness to be criticized. i hope they act like adults and not children. i hope they try to listen and find out where the other people are coming from. congress should be no different, the white house should be no different. >> i think a lot of people would agree with you as they say i don't think that's going to
happen. you have democrats that have been unbending on this. the president isn't giving, who needs to budge when it comes to this money for the wall or border security? >> everybody. everybody needs to compromise. people feel passionately on both sides of the immigration debate. i believe we need robust border security and we need to protect our daca kids unequivocally. that's what the problem solvers caucus, the package we came up with did. but you have to ideologues, the far right and far left that are dug in and nothing gets done and the problem is perpetuated and that's not what people in this country want. >> i wonder, though, when you
look to 2020, do you think he should be renominated? are you glad he's going to be the nominee for your party? >> we don't know what will happen in 2020. i didn't vote for him in 2016 and got criticized. >> should a republican primary him? >> i think anybody who wants to run should run and anybody who has a view of america they want to get support of, absolutely. >> the more people, the more dialogue of good people that want to is work for better. should get in. >> who do you think might get in. >> who knows. nobody knows who will get in on the democrat or republican side. we haven't gotten sworn into the new term. >> any perspective 2020 challenger you like, though? >> i like a ton of my
colleagues. that's -- there's an endless number of people i love and respect. that would be great but who know knows. we don't know what will happen in the next year or year and a half. be respectful in our analysis and withhold judgment until we get all the information. i think that's all any of us should do. >> should trump run again? >> if he wants to run again he should. but that's a decision for the voters. >> the president -- it's also a decision for your party when you have members like yourself who have been concerned about his tone. but you don't want to weigh in on that? >> well, i didn't vote for him in 2016 but my belief is in
campaigns is everybody who wants to run to offer their voice up. >> i think we need to be consistent in all case there is. >> congressman fitzpatrick. the president as you know has taken aim at failed generals, that's what he called them in a tweet. he's describing military leaders who have criticized him. maybe they've criticized his policy. there's general mattis who resigned as his defense secretary, retired jeh general, stanley mcchrystal, who was fired after his criticism of president obama became public years ago. then there's retired admiral mccraven who criticized president trump. to be clear, these men have good representations as military leaders. i wonder what your reaction is to the president taking aim at them. >> very concerned, very concerned. i was deeply troubled by the resignation of secretary mattis who has universal bipartisan support as not only a good military leader but a good human
being and we need as manyover those as we can and to have all that knowledge walk out the door at this point where we have so many threats. the decision in syria concerns me.know, brianna, i just left spending christmas day with the troops in the middle east. it reaffirmed what i believe beforehand. the leaders need to make the military decisions. there's nothing more disturbing as an fbi agent for 14 years than when you had policymakers who never recruited a source, never wired up an informant making decisions for the street agents having never done the job. i don't think it should be different here. we need to listen to the border patrol. we ought to listen to military leaders when it comes to military strategy.
>> military people serve a cause bigger than themselves. one of the amazing things about men and women over there. >> do they clear about what their submission? we are at this time of uncertainty. >> we are clear. the question is the timeline of it. they won't express their political beliefs, but i can as a member of congress. i think it's a terrible mistake to withdraw from syria. by most measures we have a limited footprint, roughly about 2,000 troops that serve according to general mattis as a stabilizing force against assad to keep turkey and russia and china and iran in check.
it's part of that overall middle east military strategy which is complicated when you talk about the kurds. they're not basing their decisions on politics and military strategy. that's the way it should be. >> congressman brian fitzpatrick, thank you for joining us and happy new year. >> happy new year. thanks for having me. coming up. streaming scandal. netflix bends to a request from saudi arabia, yanks an episode of a comedy show accusing the kingdom of a coverup in the murder of a journalist that the u.s. intel community believes it's responsible for. i'll get reaction from jamal khashoggi's editor next. plus, frightening moments at a florida zoo slips and falls into an exhibit and comes face to face with a rhinoceros.
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when comic hasan minhaj took aim at saudi arabia's crown prince over jamal khashoggi's death for which intel officials believe he's responsible, officials in the kingdom didn't find it funny. >> just a few months ago, crown prince mohammed bin salman, a.k.a. mbs, was hailed as a reformer the arab world needed. but the revelations about khashoggi's killing have shattered that image and it blows my mind it took the
killing of a "washington post" journalist for everyone to go, oh, i guess he's really not a reformer. meanwhile, every muslim person you know was like yeah, no [ bleep ], he's the crown prince of saudi arabia. >> netflix has pulled that episode of minaj's show "patriot act" from streaming in saudi arabia. that has caused widespread outrage including jamal khashoggi's editor. thank you so much for being with us. >> thank you for having me. >> what was your reaction to netflix pulling this. netflix is in a difficult situation, ultimately the fault lies with very wide ranging. the cyber crime law bans activity that upsets religious
morals. so it's used to silence journalist. it's used to silence all sorts of people for tweets and so in some ways it's unsurprising but i think where a lot of the shock comes from is that netflix so quickly decided to pull the show. it just speaks to hassan's show is brilliant. i commended him for being smart and unique and funny but also keeping attention on khashoggi's case and it shows he must have struck a nerve.
>> what did you think when you heard about this? >> well, jamal khashoggi's story is such a global story to see that it even penetrated the comedy world just goes to show just how much it angered and resonated with people and i think in particular in hassan's case in one part of the show he talks about being a muslim and feeling conflicted about saudi arabia's role in repression as well as being the sight of mecca, the holy site so in that case it added an extra layer of punch and complexity to this whole story so i'm glad to see hassan take up the case for justice for jamal. >> okay, you say netflix is in a tough position here and in an official statement netflix said saudi arabia threatened prosecution around cyber crime
law. netflix is available in over 190 countries. do you worry this sets a precedent for other oppressive or stricter nations to exploit. absolutely. to a certain extent. now for americans -- i think it's a chilling precedent that anybody who dares criticize saudi arabia might now find themselves dealing with tech companies or streaming companies that will be willing to kowtow to their demands for censorship. i hope in some ways that netflix can clarify what exactly this process was in their decision.
but i hope that doesn't show people -- chill people from speaking out and speaking the truth about mohammed bin salman, about jamal's death and the need for the united states to reset its relationship with saudi arabia which was basically the crux of hassan's show. >> i do think more people will watch it, i this you're right, karen attiah, thank you so much. >> thank you. any moment we are expecting new video of the president at his cabinet meeting taking questions from reporters. live pics of the white house here and we're told there is news being made in this meeting. but there's one high profile democrat who says joe biden has the best case on the democratic side.
we are awaiting video of a meeting, a cabinet meeting there at the white house where there's also some q & a between reporters and the president. we will bring that to you, we'll dip into that. in the meantime, senator elizabeth warren is very much looking into running for president, but does she have a shot? based on new polling based on electability alone, warren actually underperformed when compared to other possible 2020 democratic contenders in the 2018 midterms. the only other possible
contender to also underperform was also senator bernie sanders. let's talk about all this with u.s. cnn karoun demirjian. sorry for butchering your name. he looked at how a democratic senator performed compared to other democrats on the same ticket, compared to did they do better, did they do worse. what do you think about that, jackie, that it seems like elizabeth warren underperformed? >> i think some of the other candidates aren't as well known as elizabeth warren. and she's been more of a national figure since she's been -- since she was elected. so perhaps that's why. but, you know, listen, maybe
because of that she has a lot more campaigning to do. some of these recall statearly hasn't spent as much time at. the warren people are looking at that. >> that's a good point. when you think of the people that did better, you have amy klobuchar, sherrod brown. they're not as well known as elizabeth warren. >> and this a comparison of people in their home state, which is not what they'll do in a potential presidential run. i'm from massachusetts. i know it's actually one of the weird states because it's so independently liberal in certain districts. it's harder to run statewide, there is 35% of the state that's not as liberal as people think that they are, which is not the backdrop of ohio. the bar is higher for warren to clear to outperform absolutely
everybody else in the state. however, it does go to the question of is there something that she can do at this point to make herself that much more electable, that much more likable. weep know her. she's been out doing her thing. she's a kind of known quantity or at least people think she is. she's going to be able to get people more excited about her than it april pepears to show. >> and it's so early. >> it seems like one of the challenges, fair or not, from elizabeth warren is how does she avoid her run or messaging being determined by president trump. right? when he says things that -- they're just so crazy about calling her pocahontas, which he's using it as a pejorative, as a racial slur. she had to put out this dna evidence, which i'm sure she didn't want to have to do that. it sort of reminded me of president obama having to put out ultimately his birth
certificate but she did have to confront this because it had taken hold. how does she battle that, jackie, getting away from the president saying i'm going to get you talking about what i'm talking about. >> in is not an elizabeth warren problem, this is a field problem. let's not forget little marco or low energy jeb. the president is good at this. staying on message, making sure people know her for her message and not for hitting back at president trump over and over again. that is going to be a challenge for her and the other 30 people that are running. >> quick final word to you, karoun. >> she's been very good on the
stu stump. you know, it has not developed a relationship with the press like others have. she's got to show everybody who she's going to be and cover all aspect of it, which includes responding to trump. that's been the challenge for everybody, keep their message going through those responses and not let him dictate. >> the president for the first time on camera firing back against mitt romney's scathing criticism. hear why president trump invoked romney's race against obama.
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that pat and i sort of instituted. we like to have people do the work. so if we're building the wall, we're paying as they build it, we pay it as they finish. this way if they don't do a good job, we don't pay them. so not everybody has been paid but the money has been you'd. we want to finish it up. the 5.6 billion is such a small amount compared to the level of the problem. whup s when you see the democrats want to give away $12 billion extra, so we give away money to other countries but not to our own country. it's another thing i've been complaining about. it's unfair when we give money to guatemala and honduras and el salvador and they do nothing to us. when we give money to pakistan, $1.3 billion, i ended that. a lot of people don't know