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Schumer Withdraws Offer For Border Wall; Trump's Trade Talk; Trump Slaps New Tariffs On Foreign Goods. Aired 12:30-1pm ET

Aired January 23, 2018 - 12:30   ET


[12:30:00] RACHAEL BADE, CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER, POLITICO: So I don't think they're going to try that again, you know, you have progressive activist following it now that Schumer sellout which obviously doesn't help Senator Schumer try to grow out his conference. But we're going to be on this exact same position and the issue here, you're exactly right. The Senate has decided that they're going to try to move forward on a bipartisan basis. Now, the details of that are still very unclear, so we don't know what that final bill is going to look like.

The House, Speaker Paul Ryan has made a promise that no, he would not put no immigration bill on the House floor that does not get a majority of the majority of the Republican conference. And that's a problem because a majority of the Republican conference likes the bill you're talking about. That will go virtually nowhere in the Senate, so he is going to have this impossible position. The one way out for him is going to be President Donald Trump.

Donald Trump has to say what does he want and would he support a bipartisan bill. If he supports one in the Senate, the House members potentially could get behind this.

JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: And it has to tell them what not to put in it. What not to put in it. The president would have to come out and say, I want this for the dreamers and I want this, let's assume it's the border wall, and then one more thing it's probably all he could get to get Senate on board, to get enough Democrats on board. But he has to make that clear and then tell the House Republicans then go back and do whatever you want, after that try again and do another bill. But in this first phase do that, but when we see that from the president.

And you just mentioned the House conservatives, they see this moment, they lurch right. On the Senate side, Chuck Schumer taking a lot of heat from the progressives in his party, our Phil Mattingly confirming from a democratic aide that Chuck Schumer today has taken significant border front into the wall off the table.

He offered that to president last week, now Chuck Schumer says never mind. That'll go back into negotiating. And so where are we, both parties running back to their base. And as you jump in, Karen, I just want to read this from Luis Gutierrez, a liberal House Democrat mad at his party, mad at the Senate Democrats.

"They blinked because they'll always put the party and the success of the party first. It's the one word they know in Spanish, Manana." Ouch.

KAREN TUMULTY, NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, I think the Democrats have learned as the Republicans learned before them. Two things, one is that shutting down the government is a terrible way to try to get policy enacted that you can't get enacted through legislation. The other thing they've learned is that in the government shutdown, the party that has the White House always has the leverage.

So, at this point, you're right, the only thing that has any chance of getting through the eye of this needle is a very narrow, specific package that would deal with the DACA kids and would deal with the wall. The only person who can sell that package Nixon to China style is Donald J. Trump.

KING: And the morning after, though, from his budget director and throughout the shutdown where the president was silent. He tweets but he didn't' speak publicly at all. They don't seem to going to lay their cards just yet. Now, I guess we could say all they have is three weeks, why would you do that? But why no if you think this is going to be a mess again, why not try to get ahead of it?

ASTEAD HEMDON, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, THE BOSTON GLOBE: Exactly. I mean the White House, the president could provide cover for House Republicans to go back on the limited bill and say, you know, we got funding for our border wall. We were able to secure some additional funds and, you know, for that we'll get -- we'll do something that the majority of Republicans polling wise say they support in terms of providing protections for DACA recipients.

But that can only come from the president. In a universe where he is not providing that cover, in the universe when he is not doing that type of leadership things, they're going to run back to that base B (ph) the anti-immigrant native side of that wing which will really support nothing that includes amnesty. And so that's what's creating the (INAUDIBLE) if you will.

KING: It's interesting, my colleague Chris Cuomo trying to get specifics out of Nick Mulvaney, and Nick Mulvaney, I get it, I wouldn't give them either. Unless I'm using the president to be finally have a plan and sort of I'm going to stick to because the president has been, shall we say, fungible in the last couple of weeks.

But Michael, from the president's tweet in this morning, this is a win. Does he really think this is a win for him when even Republicans on Capitol Hill would say the reason the shutdown ended so quick was because the president stayed out of it and let us deal with it on Capitol Hill.

MICHAEL BENDER, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Yes. I mean he definitely believes it's a win for him and so with a lot of Republicans and as well a lot of Democrats. It's a -- for Democrats it was more of a letdown than a shutdown here.

But, you know, for Trump, he is -- I understand he stayed quiet over the weekend. He skipped his own party down in Palm Beach. He didn't -- he barely came out of the residence on Saturday. He didn't come out in the public at all. But I would like to see a comparison to how that compared to President Obama's behavior during the 2013 shutdown. I think we know that Obama was probably less active on Twitter, but I have a sense that Obama did the same thing and put it on Congress.

So, you know, I think that -- I wouldn't quite characterize it as being sidelined, but, you know, playing -- carrying out a strategy here that ultimately worked. You know, that the shutdown's over, it's only through the weekend. And now he's back with the -- and now we start the immigration deal up again.

The problem here for Trump is that his brand is as a dealmaker, and we're far apart on the deal yet. There are -- and he's got two big voices pushing him away from a deal. We got John Kelly, the chief of staff who implemented a lot of Trump's policies, immigration policies at the Department of Homeland Security and is a real hawk on border issues.

[12:35:15] And you have Stephen Miller who he wants the immigration deal to reflect the electoral victory. He believes that President Trump had a sweeping victory in November and that Democrats need to give up more of this -- give more on this debate than they have already.

KING: The question is, can anybody give and that's especially if you mentioned three weeks that we're in another fiscal standoff. March is the deadline. Is the Trump administration prepared if they don't get this deal to start supporting the dreamers? The optics of that been interesting tests for the president this decision compassion versus Trump on immigration. We have few funny interesting weeks ahead.

Up next, the big announcement from the president on trade. Expected next hour, it's all part of what he's called "America first".


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We've made clear to all countries that we cannot continue to be treated unfairly when it comes to trade any longer.

We have trade deficits with everybody, virtually every country in the world we have trade deficits with.

We've had people sitting in this position that have made some of the worst deals I've ever seen in trade.

The other countries have become very, very spoiled with taking advantage of us. But take advantage of us no longer.



[12:40:51] KING: Welcome back. Some new details now about a morning school shooting in western Kentucky. At least one person is dead, seven others wounded after a shooter opened fire in a high school in Benton earlier today. Authorities confirmed the shooter is in custody and an agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms and Explosives now assisting in that investigation.

Senator Mitch McConnell spoke a short time ago on the Senate floor about the tragedy in his home state.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNNELL (R), KENTUCKY: I know I speak for communities across my home state in sending praying of comfort and healing to students, faculty and everyone affected by this violence. Our hearts are with the entire community in Marshall County and our gratitude is with the first responders who rushed into harm's way.


KING: At least three of the victims were airlifted to Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville. The motive for the shooting is still unknown at this point.

Let's move on now to some stories on our political radar today. Pennsylvania lawmakers have two and a half week to withdraw their state's congressional map or the state Supreme Court says it will do it for them. The court rolled Monday gerrymanded districts like this one it help Republicans gained a two to one advantage in congressional representation. The court says that violates the state constitution

The government watchdog group wants the Justice Department to investigate whether the alleged hush money payment to Trump lawyer supposedly gave to an adult-film star just before the 2016 election. The Common Cause complaint says the reported settlement with Stormy Daniels in its hue may have violated the campaign finance laws. The president hasn't commented on the alleged affair, but officials close to him call those charges baseless.

And when the government shuts down, lawmakers need every tool at their disposal it seems to find a way out. In the case of Senator Susan Collins of Maine, it was a colorful stick from Africa that helped manage a debate among senators inside her office. Anyone who wanted to speak in these bipartisan meetings could do so, but only if they held the baton. But word got out that the talking stick not always passed politely.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN JOURNALIST: Is it true, senator, that someone threw the stick during the meeting?

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: I think a more accurate word would be that there was -- usually I would pick up the stick and take it from person to person, but sometimes it was tossed. And in this case, the toss went slightly amiss.


KING: The toss went slightly amiss. OK. See if that's used again in the next three weeks.

Let's move on to another big story. President Trump today slapping new tariffs on foreign made solar made panels and washing machines. If there is any surprise here it is that it took until the first week of year two for this president to take such a major punitive action. Candidate Trump you recall, promised protecting American workers from unfair trade practices would be a priority starting on day one.

The political reaction is quite telling. "Increased tariffs have proved themselves to sound grate but set countries on a financial road to ruin" says South Carolina Republican Congressman Mark Sanford. "Moms and dads shopping on a budget for new washing machine will pay for this, not big companies" says Republican Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse. On the other hand, this from Ohio, Roosevelt Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown, "These tariffs will help level the playing field, and show anyone who tries to cheat our trade laws that they won't get away with it.

This is one place during the campaign where Donald Trump was essentially aligned with Bernie Sanders. He sounded much like a very liberal protectionist Democrat, a very different kind of Republican, old-style Republican fearing way back in the history books, a protectionist. It took more than a year but this was a big deal.

BENDER: Yes, definitely. This is -- and this is one of the fascinating areas with Trump. This is like the, you know, the Trump photo, the Trump base with these sort of criss-crossing politics between the two parties. It did take a while and I think it's for a couple of reasons. One is there is actually a process to go through some of this here and to get to this point.

Inside the White House, though, there's been, you know, the globalist versus nationalist battle going on for a while. It hasn't exactly subsided with the departure of Steve Bannon. It's lessened to a degree but it hasn't subsided. And, you know, so that is still going on.

And we know that Trump was really pushing his team for tariffs. He didn't like -- remember way back at the beginning of the year, the border adjustment taxed the House was talking about to try to get to some of these conservatives of Trump. He didn't like that because it didn't have the ring of a tariff.

[12:45:09] The White House said -- launched an investigation into intellectual property and whether or not China is taking advantage of U.S. companies. They ultimately did that, but again, it was Trump, he didn't like the ring of that. He wanted his tariffs and now here we are at the start of year two and he's got his tariffs.

KING: He's doing this right before he goes to Davos. So the America first president goes to, I think, it was (INAUDIBLE) General Antonio Gutterres (ph) we are the World Meeting at Davos, so this will be controversial there. But we do know the president, in the Republican primaries, it was his hard stance on immigration and it helped him a lot. In the general election, he thinks he flip Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan through trade. The president has been pretty clear saying himself.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: During the campaign, I traveled the nation and visited the cities and towns devastated by unfair trade policies, probably one of the major reasons I'm here today, trade. Nobody has ever made bad trade deals like our country has made.


KING: I can't really remember since when Bill Clinton got NAFTRA through. But with this issue, I've been waiting, waiting because I find the politics -- both the policy and the politics are so fascinating, and we've been waiting for this to bubble up in the Trump presidency.

TUMULTY: Well, the politics around the solar panels I think are really interesting because there was a time when the manufacturing of solar panels was below -- have a great future in the United States. You know, U.S. invented solar panels.

During the Obama administration we had something of a controversy because they gave loan guarantees to a company Solyndra that ended up going under because of cheap Chinese imports. This really pits the people who want cheap, renewable energy against, again, how are American manufacturers going to take advantage of these big changes that we're seeing.

KING: Can they take advantage of them if the president helps them? And when they do, when us and people watching at home more importantly go to buy something, whether you buy a new washing machine or picks up a solar, does the price go up? That's when the politics -- the economics and the politics collide. We'll see what happens.

Up next, if the 2020 election, sorry, but if the 2020 election were happening today, guess what? Polls show President Trump losing big to big name Democrats like Bernie, Joe Biden, even Oprah. So have you heard that before?


[12:51:37] KING: All right. Allow us a little fun, please, as we close the hour and don't toss a brick at the TV as we make this important calendar note. The next presidential election, now just 1,014 days away. Yes, we're counting.

Now, some other numbers that are not at all encouraging to President Trump, but again, I wouldn't go running off to Vegas to make a bet on these.

From our new 2020 poll, a few hypothetical match-ups, former vice president Joe Biden beats President Trump, look at that, by a whopping 17 points. Senator Bernie Sanders could also win his lead if the election were held today in according to our poll. Oprah Winfrey also wins by 9 points in this hypothetical, and let me say again, very, very, very, very, very, very, very early survey. Which means the president should packed in and not seek reelection, right?

TAMULTY: John, those numbers are shocking. Oprah only wins by nine?

KING: Only wins by nine. You know what, we're having -- again, I asked for some fun here. We put these questions at the end of a poll. It's always fun to see these things. Joe Biden will love the fact he run stronger than Oprah against Donald Trump in early 2018.

The only thing that sticks out of me is you look at the president's numbers, 40% against Biden, 42 against Sanders, 42% against Oprah Winfrey. The 2020 matchups are meaningless, but just the president is sort of stuck where his approval rating is, right around or just below 40%, which if you're on team Trump politically, that's what you worry about, not in the 2020 hypotheticals, right?

BENDER: Yes, absolutely. And then that was -- that's one of the nearest coming out of 2016 is that Hillary Clinton is one of the few Democrats that Trump could have beaten and particularly, because independence disliked her so much. And if, you know, what this poll also shows is that these candidates get, you know, have high numbers among the independents as would, you know, probably, Mark Zuckerberg or Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson at this point.

KING: I'll add them to the next poll. I promise you.

BENDER: It sounds good.

KING: Yes, but it's interesting. This is, you know, we saw the Women's March again, the anniversary of the Women's March this past weekend, big crowds, big crowds. We see the flood of female candidates, mostly Democrats, not all. But the flood of these female candidates a lot of people think the midterm movement and the reaction to Trump that this is going to be a huge year for women in politics, women candidates and women driving the midterm elections. This again, not so much the horse race matchups, but for the president of the United States, white women voters.

Biden, 60 % to 37% for Donald Trump. Bernie Sanders, 58% to 41% for Donald Trump. Oprah, 55% to 41% for Donald Trump. So again, the hypothetical 2020 matchups are here for fun and for sport and for conversation. But if you look structurally at Trump, that's a huge problem.

HEMDON: Exactly. And we've also seen this matchup with real result. It's obviously in Alabama special election, in the Virginia governor's race. We've seen these hypothetical matchups bear out in a kind of an anti-Trump, post-Trump backlash. And so, not only do you have the approval ratings for Trump that are kind of stuck in that 40 percent range, but you also have an increased enthusiasm among Democrats, among Liberals increase in a women candidates, as you mentioned. And then you combine those things together, those are warning signs, not only for 2020 but for 2018. KING: And for all the Democrats silencing, we've got them. We got them. And just to remind you, this is early in the president's second year. Early in another of president's second year back in 2010, we asked this question, will Obama win in 2012 if he runs reelection. Yes, 44, no 54, so early in a president's first midterm year.

The incoming president usually not in good political shape. We saw that with President Obama. We're seeing with President Trump. So, the Democrat shouldn't go to Vegas, right?

[12:55:06] BADE: Absolutely. And I think that that's why Republicans on Capitol Hill are, frankly, nervous about midterm elections. They know that traditionally there is this sort of hubbub of energy pushing back against president, pushed back against him. And so, they are expecting they could potentially lose the House, potentially lose the Senate. That will be your first telltale sign of how much of a resistance against Trump there actually is and whether he could win again.

KING: You want to put the important consequential 2018 midterm elections control of Congress, control the country, the agenda ahead of Oprah versus Trump?

BADE: I think that Trump would react to that poll. He would say bring it on. Remember he tweeted right after there was talk about that. He said, I will win. Well, after that poll, I'm not so sure.

BENDER: That's actually a good point is how much Trump is going to be focused on 2020 versus 2018. There's a lot of people in his party that could use a lot of help this year, but signs are that he's already has his eye on 2020.

KING: Well, we'll keep an eye on it. We'll keep an eye on those days, I promise. Thanks for joining us on "Inside Politics" today. We'll see you back here tomorrow. Wolf Blitzer is up after a quick break. Have a good day.