tv Inside Politics CNN February 15, 2019 9:00am-10:00am PST
welcome to inside politics, i'm phil mattingly, john king is off today. the president has declared a national emergency. the president just forced the reallocation of $8 billion to fund his border wall. a declaration that could fundamentally change the balance between presidency and congress. seated in the front row a group of angel moms, women who lost loved ones to crimes committed by undocumented immigrants. >> we're going to be signing today and registering national
emergency. and it's a great thing to do. because we have an invasion of drugs, invasion of gangs, invasion of people and it's unacceptable. it's very simple. we want to stop drugs from coming into our country. we want to stop criminals and gangs. >> so the big question, where does this $8 billion actually come from? $1.3 billion is included in the government funding bill passed yesterday but the president can't use any of that money for a concrete wall. it can be used for fencing, steel slates, but no concrete. $2.5 billion will be from the pentagon's drug interdiction program. $600 million from the treasury forfeiture funds and $3.6 billion from the department of defense's construction budget. nancy pelosi says, quote,
congress cannot let the president shred the constitution. they vow to fight this. in today's announcement, the president makes it pretty clear he expects challenges. >> we will have a national emergency, we'll be sued, they'll sue us in the ninth circuit, even though it shouldn't be there. then we'll possibly get another bad ruling. get another bad ruling and end up in the supreme court and hopefully we get a fair shake and win in the supreme court. just like the ban, they sued us in the ninth circuit we lost, we lost in the appellate division. then we went to the supreme court and we won. >> and joining me now to talk about this more -- it was funny. but seriously, joined by cnn's supreme court reporter. it was funny, but the hypothetical process going forward the president laid out, you've been talking to a lot of legal experts on this, a lot of
lawyers on this, is that realistic how you see this happening in the weeks and months ahead? >> it is. phil i learned already one lawsuit is in the works. it could be several hours away. but they're starting, these liberal lawyers have been on the phone burning the phone lines. keep in mind they're veterans of the trump administration and the policies, they're been through the travel ban, the asylum ban, the effort to push back daca. they're ready to go. there's a variety of people who can try to bring suits, for instance, states, counties, cities. we've seen el paso talk about they would move forward. then there was the house, nancy pelosi, her lawyers have been working around the clock on this. there were contractors, people who thought they were going to get these funds and then there's property owners. but i have to say the biggest
fear for the conservatives are going into this is this relatively new judicial phenomenon which is nationwide injunctions. they were afraid they would get slammed immediately in a favorable court ruling that would stop the policy in its tracks, that's what they're going to be looking for. they fear it's going to happen. you saw the president lay it out there. he said he sees it going through the courts. he sees probably it going to california, that ninth circuit that he so criticizes. and that's where we -- that could be the next step, and that's where we think we could see one of these injunctions. >> i think you're going to be busy over the course of the next couple months. it's a kbraet poigreat point. there's a road map that's been laid out that the lawyers can ascribe to over the coming months and years. and joining me now is caitlyn
collins, jonathan martin, and martha tallin. there's a lot of ambiguity in what a national emergency declaration means. traditionally they're not this contentio contentious, there's not this immediate backlash. i want to play back what the president said about whether he needed to do this, which would seem to be the crux of declaring a national emergency. >> i want to do it faster. i could do the wall over a longer period of time, i didn't need to do this, but i'd rather do it faster. i want to get it done faster, that's all. >> that would seem to undercut to some degree -- >> good call. >> pick up on things. didn't go to law school to the disappointment of my parents. but that would seem to under cut the legal theory of declaring a national emergency. you're talking to the white house, what's the read of this.
>> this is the first of many gasp moments of the news conference. >> many. >> we don't know yet. mitch mcconnell was resistant to the president doing this, behind the scenes he tried to talk him out of it. and the president felt for policy reasons or political reasons that he was committed to declaring an emergency, so the question now is will it hold up. there was one point where before he said i didn't need to do this, the president said we have a chance at getting as much as $8 billion. a chance. i found that telling. because it was the president sort of on the front end of this news conference saying, you know what, at least i can say i tried. >> you take us behind the scenes better than month, particularly here at cnn. do administration officials feel they have $8 billion in the bank right now and they can go to work, or do they know this could get held up? >> they feel they have a billion
dollars in easy money. mick mulvaney was talking to reporters about that, talking about how much money he could get. it's interesting what the president kept saying was he was going to get so much money through the rose garden, it's so much money he doesn't know what to do with it. why would they allocate funds if the president doesn't have a reason to use them for. and it's higher than the $5.7 billion he demanded from congress, which he was citing numbers saying this is what they need to secure the border. >> part of the reason why we think is that even if the courts allow him to move at this pace, that money is restricted. even if if you declare an emergency, that money is restricted in the ways it can be used. so it might actually take closer to $8 billion to get 234 miles offensing than if you had a
$5.7 billion appropriation from congress. >> the concern, particularly from conservatives, is about precedent. the president talks about the fact look national emergency has been declared by lots of people. take a listen. >> it's been signed by other presidents from 1977 or so, it gave the presidents the power. it's rarely been a problem. they sign it, nobody cares. i guess they weren't very exciting, but nobody cares, they sign it for far less important things in some cases. in many cases. >> they weren't very exciting because they were traditionally emergencies and people were reacting to that. a couple weeks ago, mitch mcconnell, who behind the scenes had been opposed to this and warned about the danger of doing this, made it public, this will be contentious which is not normally how this is supposed to be. my question to you, is the administration's calculation that the fight is worth it, no
matter what the end game is? >> that is a big part of the calculation. this is seen as a potential offramp to get this issue off their table. as margaret was saying to say at least we tried. there is some truth to maybe he can do that. we have reported about the more than 100 statutory powers that the president has. the sources i talked to tell me that congress has given the president too much power to do these kind of things. there's no question that the ninth circuit will most likely get it. i talked to sources who tell me the briefs are already being written and he will likely lose in other courts and as he said, he won the travel ban in the supreme court and he has a more favorable supreme court there. >> when trump won in 2016, it was revealing in a lot of ways, and one of the ways it was
revealing, it showed the base didn't care about small levels of conservatism. that's not a priority. i think this once again demonstrates that. to him taking the pr hit for not getting his wall is far worse than offending whatever small government purists exist on the right when it comes to, in their eyes, misusing a national emergency. he may lose some votes from the right and congress. but i think most of them are concerned about keeping their trump-loving base happy than sticking to whatever pre-trump principles they purported to have. he was never invested in the movement, trump himself, obviously. what he has revealed here is how little a lot of the voters on the right care about the principles of small governor conservatism. >> this national emergency didn't come out of nowhere. they've been preparing for this
since the government signed the short-term bill spending three weeks ago. they knew the president wasn't going to get the money he wanted. so they've been preparing for this behind the scenes, knowing what they're going to say, and they know they'll face legal battles and it could get tied up in court. all they'll say is congress didn't get us the money and we're fighting for the wall. that's enough for the president's supporters. >> i know the white house staff legal operations have been working on developing this for months. doesn't mean it's going to go through, but they've been working on this. up next, congressional democrats calling the president's national emergency declaration, a power grab. so what will they do about it?
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schumer issuing a statement during the event reading quote this is plainly a power grabby a disappointed president who's gone outside the bounds of the law to try to get what he failed to achieve in the constitutional legislative process. the congress will defend our constitutional authorities in the congress, in the courts and in the public using every remedy available. some are rolling out actions to block the president's action but the house is in recess next week. manu raju joins me now. take me behind the scenes where are democrats right now on this action. >> reporter: the house democratic leaders and their key committee chairman, staff are discussing various legislative options. there is going to be their top priority when they return from next week's recess. afterwards they plan to move forward on a plan. they're not sure how it will be structured but it will be a joint resolution that will be offered first in the house to vote to disapprove of the
president's action declaring the national emergency and because of the special procedures granted to them by this process, the senate is required to essentially take it up. there's nothing that mitch mcconnell, the majority leader in the senate, can do to prevent a vote from happening even though he supports what the president is doing here. that's what mitch mcconnell has feared all along, he can't stop the vote from happening. the question is will republicans join with democrats to block this action in the senate. we expect there will likely be enough support in the house, what will happen in the senate remains a question. of course, the president would veto this, that would require a veto-proof majority in the house and senate to ensure this executive action cannot move forward. that's the question whether or not there's enough. but one item that will generate a lot of concern on both sides of the aisle is where they're getting the money from,
including $3.6 billion from military construction projects and those are things that members guard here on capitol hill. so a lot will have to be done here at the white house to keep his party in line. >> everything sounds great until it comes from your district. manu hits on a key point here. we know where the democrats are going to go with this. the biggest question right now and this is the question that senate majority leader mitch mcconnell has been raising the last couple weeks is the republican conference, particularly in the united states senate. listen, there's a clear divide but there is a divide. listen to what they were saying yesterday. >> this approach does set a very bad precedent for future presidents, whether it's a democrat or republican, to feel that they can get around congress' constitutional role to allocate funding is very serious and troubling to me. >> consider this a downpayment.
and find the difference between 1.375 and 5.7 through executive action. he has all the legal authority in the world to do this. >> senator lindsey graham, a close ally of the president has been urging the president to do this because he didn't think they'd find a legislative solution, they found a legg legislative solution. it's a procedural nerds dream to go through what could happen next, i'll spare everyone that. but the question for senate republicans, they have 53. this is a problem. >> and fundamentally, assuming the house goes forward with this and passes it, the senate is going to have to take it up and republicans have to go on the board where they stand with this. the procedural nerd part says what if the senate passes it, the president vetoes it, but does the president want to get into that kind of conflict? i think the real question is, is mitch mcconnell going to try to attempt to convince republicans not to do what he believes is
the right thing to do which is check on the president, other efforts to do this. will republican leadership make the argument we're not going to win this anyway, why embarrass the president or put a line in the sand so this and future presidents don't run over them. putting the constitution aside for a second, it's a matter of political preservation, what's the point of being in congress if you don't have power and appropriation has always been the most important clear power. >> i think the equation to that is, if you're not in power, you don't have that strength and i think that is a political equation that mcconnell is making. he's running for reelection next year. he needs president trump's trump. he knows he needs president trump's support with republicans for new senate candidates. he's got a lot of close races. take kansas for example, and president trump still has great support among republican base, almost 90%.
>> it's nating -- that role call will be a fascinating test for republicans on capitol hill in 2020 what their priority is, winning the primary or the general election. you saw it there, playing the collins and graham clip. collins more concerned about an election in maine, graham concerned about south carolina. >> you made a great point yesterday, mcconnell coming out and supporting the president declaring a national emergency shows how much he was worried the president was going to reject this bill. we know they had several phone calls yesterday. we could see today the president was not excited about doing this because when he came out to make the remarks he started out talking about china, syria, and north korea before he got to making a national emergency. and he did it without a teleprompt
teleprompter. the white house wants to keep something like this, in court, making an legal argument about it, but the president was offscript in the rose garden speaking. and the president hasn't signed the bill to keep the government funded. >> stop it right now. >> i'm not saying he's not going to but yesterday he came close to not signing the bill and people had flashbacks to the last time he came close to not signing the bill. >> the fact that it has implications for the trump presidency is not serious. if republicans feel they have to do this in order to save themselves in cycle it will have implications on the way future presidents of both parties can behave. we had a briefing from white house officials that that wasn't the point, this didn't mean this was end arounds on gun control or climate change. but i think it's not true if the
republicans in the senate help the president do this. >> you can't overstate how much mcconnell wanted to end this. >> he hates shutdowns. >> he hates shutdowns, he has an agenda, this needed to end and this was the way to end it. up next, william weld is running for president in 2020 as republican. his reason for why -- >> why you, mr. weld? >> i have a boy's regular hair cut to start with. we're still working on our letterman top ten.
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it's a long shot, and i want to reiterate that point, it is a long shot but president trump may have some competition for the republican nomination in 2020. former massachusetts gop governor william weld announcing his presidential aspirations today. weld who ran as a lib retearian for vice president saying too many republicans are showing stockholm syndrome. >> they say the president has captured the republican party in washington. i see himself my tweet sad. i have established an exploratory committee for my running for president of the
united states in the 2020 election as a republican. >> all right. mark, what i was struck by actually -- >> big red, bill weld. >> track back through. former governor of massachusetts lost bids to the senate to john kerry. >> yeah. >> the interesting thing was he acknowledged in his interview with "the washington post." if i get to play spoiler that might be good enough as well. what's your read on any of this, i guess? >> he won't be the last person to get in the primary against president trump. i think we'll have more individuals run and sort of like deem themselves the sort of representative of the real pre-trump gop. >> name names. >> i think you'll see other former members of congress perhaps get in. we'll see. there's still plenty of time left. but this does get at a challenge the president is going to have. that 20% plus, as of right now, of his own party is uneasy with him.
that might not be enough to beat him in a primary, but it could create a buchanan-like nuisance, speaking of new hampshire. if you talk to the trump people, they're so conscious of that scenario, not that trump could lose the primary but he could get damaged, have a messy convention -- >> sounds like someone's race in 2016, doesn't it? i mean, the other party. >> exactly. but as a sitting president, though, in trump's case. i'm not sure that bill weld is the best messenger for this case. but his entry does suggest the opportunity that does exist in the marketplace. >> what is bill weld's message? you heard some of it. here it is on the issues. take a listen. >> we need the opposite of socialism. federal taxes near serious downward adjustment. consumers should be permitted to
establish personal health care savings account and choose their health care provider. we don't need a path to citizenship for 11 million people but we need more and longer work visas and we need to consider abolishing the united states department of education. >> there's been a lot of angst on what the current republican party is, what its ideology moved towards under the age of president trump, the administration of president trump. is that something that appeals to the 20%? >> i think he could shift some of the conversation a little bit. there's a big push, as he just talked about immigration. there's so much focus on illegal immigration. there's a push in the business community for more visas for more legal immigration to hit these jobs. and trump has kind of started to shift his reor the ik on that. we saw it in the state of the union, we saw it the next day when he was talking to a small
group of reporters he was talking about more workers for companies, and that's a shift for american buy american. >> it's a kind of libertarian flavored gop. you mentioned he ran for the libertarian party nomination in 2016, and that's what it sounds like. it also sounds like a message to college-educated or even advanced degree holding republicans. here is a place you can go. if you don't like trump but you can't swallow socialism, here's a third option for you. not saying he'll be a viable candidate but that's what this sounds like. i'm trying to create a place that's not populism on the right or left but a kind of pre-trump party. >> you ask, the "inside politics" team delivers. 2016 convention, i was there. flash it back. >> i pledge to you i will stay with the libertarian party for
life. it feels good to be back there with the r on my name. >> that's some good work cnn "inside politics" team. accountability. >> before we go to break, stacey abrams responds to whether she's thinking about running for anything. >> i'm particularly excited to be here, special when you were announcing your campaign for president. and so, it's like -- >> my hoa is looking for a leader, yes. no, i do not want to run the dnc. >> are you going to run for senate? >> i do not know. you want more? k for fracture now might not be the best time to ask yourself are my bones strong? life is full of make-or-break moments. that's why it's so important to help reduce your risk of fracture with prolia®.
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topping our political radar, senate majority leader mitch mcconnell just issued a statement on the president's national emergency declaration, quote, president trump's decision to announce an emergency action is the predictable and understandable consequence of democrats' decision to put obstruction ahead of the national interest. he also urged democrats to put partisanship aside as the wall gets built. ruth bader ginsburg is back after her surgery. she's now completely cancer free. the u.s. commander in the war against isis is breaking ranks with president trump on his plan to pull troops out of
syria. the general tells cnn the group still has leaders and fighters and resources. and he said when the president made the pullout announcement in december, local troops were not ready to handle isis on their own. >> it would not be my advice at the time. i think the approach we've had in place has been working so we were keen to stay along that track and make sure we finish the mission for which we were assigned. just in to cnn, new developments in the special counsel investigation and more fallout for paul manafort. robert mueller plans to file a paper with the court indicating paul manafort violated his agreement. >> now we have the special
counsel filing the submission in this case, we're looking for a couple things, one is will they reveal new information, the question here will be is there any information that we learn about paul manafort that is part of a conspiracy or part of crimes that the special counsel's office feels that the judge should know he participated in when it comes time to sentence him. we'll also learn from the special counsel's office how much time they think paul manafort should serve in prison, especially after the judge in the washington d.c. case decided that he intentionally lied to the special counsel's office and breached his plea agreement. and also the timing of this, we have the special counsel's office saying they're going to file the submission today, they're going to ask the judge also to set a sentencing date as soon as is practical. so we're seeing the special counsel's office want to speed this up, which could indicate -- it's another indication we're getting possibly to the end of the road in this investigation, phil. >> everybody keep their head on a swivel.
we've heard from another individual who's been in the news the last couple days, former fbi number two andrew mccabe, what is he saying? >> he's been in the news since he gave the interview to 60 minutes where he said they talked about around the 25th amendment where the cabinet would get together and vote whether president trump is not suitable for office. his spokesman came out today trying to put this in context saying mccabe was not present when there were discussions among officials. saying at no time did mccabe participate in any discussions about the use of the 25th amendment. mr. mccabe has merely confirmed a discussion that was initially reported elsewhere. so his spokeswoman saying mccabe was not present when there was any discussion among cabinet
officials merely that he heard the deputy attorney general, rod rosenstein, discuss this in a meeting that he was present in, phil. >> seems like an important clarification. thanks for keeping us up to date on everything. up next the 2020 election may be 620 days away, but you wouldn't know it on this weekend's campaign trail. somethg that requires effort, like an obstacle we have to overcome every single night? with tempur-pedic, it doesn't. and now is the best time to experience the most advanced pressure-relieving material we've ever created. so you get the deepest sleep you've had in your entire life. this presidents day, save up to $500 on select adjustable mattress sets. there's nothing like tempur-pedic sleep. find your exclusive retailer at tempurpedic.com.
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2020 democrats are heading into a very busy weekend on the campaign trail across eight states just through monday. this hour senator kirsten jill brand is in new hampshire while kamala harris is in south carolina. it's her second visit to the state since she announced she was running for president in 2020 just one month ago and one day after picking up an early endorsement from congresswoman
barbara lee. i can't believe this is starting but you're in the thick of it right now. what are you seeing on the ground from the harris campaign? >> what we're seeing is she's going to get intimate with some of the democratic base. she's stopping at rodney scott's barbecue. she's going to walk through the restaurant. she's going to be arriving here in just a few minutes. she's going to take time to talk to voters here about her lift act. she's going to tailor it to voters here. they said there are critical numbers she wants to share with voters. there are going to be 1.8 people in south carolina if her tax cut is passed that would be lifted out of poverty. that's the larger issue here in south carolina, we're anticipating according to her campaign that she's going to be talking about news of the day,
hitting trump on this emergency declaration, she has already called his wall a vanity project, it is needless, costly, and she's going to continue to call this national emergency, quote, ridiculous and a waste of your money. those are her words put out by the campaign. we're expecting her to arrive shortly. the press is starting to gather where she's going to shake hands and we're told she's going to sit down and eat some barbecue phil. >> i'm jealous of the barbecue and you already racking up hotel and airline miles. up next the shutdown averted, a energy declared, is washington changed forever or is it just another day? y that have made the rx the leading luxury suv of all time. lease the 2019 rx 350 for $449 a month for 36 months. experience amazing at your lexus dealer. ♪
he promised to build a wall. and now, the president just forced the u.s. government to pay for it. whether or not he will be met with legal challenges to keep that funding is yes, a major question. but another important one, will the division and defiance that launched this stalemate 57 days ago change how this president and congress govern going forward. here is how we got to this moment. >> the president informed us that he will not sign the bill that came over from the senate last evening. >> president trump, you own the shutdown. >> we pushed the pause button until the president, from whom
we will need a signature, and senate democrats from whom we will need votes, reach an agreement. >> and to the speaker of the house, nancy pelosi, i extend to you this gavel. thank you. >> my administration is doing everything in our power to help those impacted by the situation. >> it's the 22nd day of the partial government shutdown making it the longest in american history. >> i'm not looking to call a national emergency. >> if we don't get a fair deal from congress, the government will either shutdown on february 15th, again, or i will use the powers afforded to me under the laws and the constitution of the united states to address this emergency. >> a state of the union is not planned now. get that. what i said to the president is
when government is open, we will discuss a mutually agreeable date. >> see-through steel barrier, not just a simple concrete wall. >> i've just had an opportunity to speak with president trump, and he, i would say to all my colleagues, has indicated he's prepared to sign the bill. he will also be issuing a national emergency declaration at the same time. i'm going to support the national emergency declaration. >> i'm very disappointed at person people, a particular one, for not having pushed this faster. >> speaker ryan? >> let's not talk about it. >> all comes back together. like it's a big circle. speaker ryan, no longer in congress. seemed like nine years ago he was outside the white house. i think a lot of times people in washington are maybe a little overdramatic, this is the moment that changes everything, this is the biggest moment, and two days later we've had 15 more major
headlines and stories. does this drive the relationship between the white house and congress going forward or does this disappear in two weeks? >> this isn't the last spending fight we're going to have. there are going to be more of these. we heard the president butt-h d butt-heads with the congress. and you heard the president saying republicans got outplayed by democrats and you heard him about paul ryan. i don't think this is the end of it. they're going to have more fights. >> phil, i'm going to go out on a limb and say maybe there's more trump news in the weeks or months ahead that step on the news of today if the last three plus years are any indication we'll see more trump news. i was in richmond for the crazy story about my home state and what's happening there, and the democrats are very depressed about the turn of events and
they're taking solace that there's a long time until election day and president trump has a way of creating challenges for his own party. >> it's easy to run against congress, even when your party controls one of the halls. >> we are starting to see distinctly -- he's been running for reelection since day one, but now a real turn toward that i think the president has done a much better job than barack obama did about staying in touch with lawmakers on a regular basis. you talk about the moment everything changes there's been a series of moments where everything has changed. we've seen republicans push back on a few things, russia sanctions, syria, yemen. but they've gotten much more conservative judicial nominees,
deregulation, and the tax cut. this could be long-term a turning point because fundamentally the implications for this, if the courts go along with it last well beyond donald trump's term, whether it's one term or two. >> i might subscribe to your theory. i'm usually not thinking that -- >> where do the voters of the party lineup? >> you mentioned the republican conference and the 20 plus senators up for reelection. you talk about relationships, an count coulter who the president spoke on tweeted this is not paul ryan's fault, this is not mitch mcconnell's fault, trump ran against the gop and won, responsibility is 100% his. >> what was the title of her book again? "in trump we trust?" is that what it was? i wonder what the next book will be. not to go sideways but the president acknowledging the rains he has with fox news
hosts, conservative talkers who are very important inside the movement, very important inside the base, maybe not usually so important inside the oval office, how does that move forward? >> it's a big part. how much he was out thing and speaking about rush limbaugh's skills of speaking for three hours without taking a phone call and asking reporters and everybody in the audience, could you do that? it's easy to take phone calls. this is obviously something that is very important to him. you guys were reporting earlier about how trump was -- and his staff were kind of reaching out to those media and asking them to kind of help sell this and kind of rewrite the narrative much like instead of build the wall, finish the wall, but much like show this is better than it was than the shutdown. >> it's a public relations presidency because the president himself has been consumed with
p pr and press for 40 years. >> thanks for joining us. i'll see you back here sunday morning. brianna kellar starts right now. >> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. i'm brianna kellar live from cnn's washington headquarters. under way right now, president trump declares a national emergency in an attempt to get billions for a border wall. in a rambling rose garden speech it will president turned to past talking points to make his case that a wall is necessary and that he has the authority to redistribute money to pay for it. >> i'm going to be signing a national emergency. and it's been signed many times before. it's been signed by other presidents. from 1977 or so it gave