tv CNN Newsroom Live CNN December 29, 2018 4:00pm-5:00pm PST
you are live in the "cnn newsroom," i'm ryan nobles in for ana cabrera. president trump out of sight so far this weekend. he's not at his resort in florida. he's not taking part in new year's celebrations, and he's certainly not visiting or hosting any federal employees. any of the roughly 2 million american men and women who work for the united states government, especially anyone attached to the nine cabinet departments that are shut down for more than a week now. people working without pay or told to stay home because the president and congressional democrats can't settle on a dollar amount to earmark for a wall on the mexican border.
and now this. quite out of the blue today, president trump saying in no uncertain terms that it is democrats to blame when migrant children die on the southern border. these words from the president today. "any deaths of children or others at the border are strictly the fault of the democrats and their pathetic immigration policies that allow people to make the long trek thinking they can enter our country illegally. they can't. if we had a wall, they wouldn't even try." cnn's sarah westwood is at the white house now. sarah, this is the first time that the president has even mentioned those migrant children who tragically died on the border, and he made it a political attack. was there anything before or after that tweet to explain what he was talking about or even give it context? >> reporter: well, ryan, president trump has been fuming about democrats' refusal to provide any funding for his border wall and he's been searching for different ways to blame democrats for immigration
problems and for the partial government shutdown. now, since politicizing the deaths of those two migrant children, the president has also been going after senate democrats for their refusal to vote for any wall money. recall that a bill providing $5 billion worth of appropriations for the wall failed on the senate and that's the thing that ultimately triggered this government shutdown on friday. now, despite the white house trying to pin the blame for this partial shutdown on democrats, democratic congressional leaders have not actually been invited to the white house for further negotiations. that's according to acting chief of staff, slash, budget director, mick mulvaney, who said the white house at this point is pretty much just waiting for a counteroffer from the democrats, even though they haven't been invited here to present that kind of offer. mulvaney suggested that trump might be willing to come down off of that demand for $5 billion in border wall funding but he didn't specify by how much. and meanwhile, the president is reviving threats to shut down the southern border and to cut off funding to honduras, el
salvador, and guatemala, both of those things he's threatened to do before and neither of which he's followed up on, fully, but it's clear that the president is very frustrated at this moment with his inability to get any funding for the wall. it's also clear this partial government shutdown has no end in sight with the democrats preparing to retake the house and shake up the dynamics of negotiating power just five days from now, ryan. >> all right, sarah westwood, live at the white house. sarah, thank you for that update. while both president trump and congressional democrats refuse to budge over paying for some type of wall on the mexican border, the u.s. government remains partially shut down. several cabinet level departments and the people who staff them operating with no money. that means to paychecks until, well, who knows. more now from cnn's kaylee hartung. >> reporter: there's no end in sight to the government hutdo shutdown, forcing thousands of federal workers and their families to make tough sacrifices.
>> it's pretty scary not knowing when you're going to get paid. >> reporter: angela's husband is an air traffic controller for the federal aviation administration. >> he's considered an essential employee so he has to go to work and i can't go to work because i've just had a baby. >> reporter: with no income, they're slashing expenses, focusing on the mortgage and feeding their family. workers like angela's husband are entering a second week of work without pay, another 380,000 federal employees are on furlough, effectively put on a leave of absence without pay. that's why the trash is piling up at some national parks around the country where they're unstaffed with no one to supervise the land and facilities. at joshua tree national park, volunteers from the local community are stepping in to do the dirty work during the park's busiest days of the year. >> i'm guiding every day and then in my free hour or two in the evening, i'm running to the park and cleaning toilets, not to mention we're about $400 out on cash buying toilet paper. >> reporter: the impact spans the country. americans are talking about the
tough financial challenges they face on twitter, using #shutdownstories. in wyoming, ernie johnson says thankfully his auto loan deferred his truck payment in january but if he doesn't receive back pay, he'll likely be evicted february 1st. lauren in pennsylvania tweets that she depended on child support from a federal corrections officer paycheck. without it, she says she won't have the funds for afterschool care or school lunch. and sarah waterson, who describes herself as a marine core veteran on twitter, puts her family's struggle into perspective saying, my children don't care about walls. they do care about having a warm house to live in, a car to ride in, clothes to wear and food in their bellies, none of which is possible if their mom can't go to work. candid thoughts from americans about the toll of policymakers bickering and the longer the shutdown drags on, the more widely the effects will be felt. let's discuss this now with u.s. spectator contributor and
commentary editor and writer for the "washington examiner." thank you both for being here on a saturday night on a holiday. kelly jane, let's start with you. lawmakers are at home. some are on vacation. president trump keeps blaming democrats for the shutdown, saying essentially it's too bad but necessary to keep our country safe. you know, at the end of the day, it's easy to forget that there are actual human beings that are hurt by this on many different levels. do you think that is lost a little bit in what the president is saying? >> yeah, the optics here in washington, ryan, don't look that great. i mean, you do have president trump, who publicly in that meeting with chuck schumer and nancy pelosi a couple weeks ago said he would be proud to shut down the government for the border wall. i think since then, maybe some of his advisers have told him that a shutdown is not necessarily popular. but at the same time, you do have nancy pelosi right now vacationing in hawaii. i'm not sure the optics of that were that -- were very good. i wouldn't have done that personally, but i think one of the reasons that lawmakers haven't -- there's many reasons, of course, they haven't been
sitting down with each other but part of it is when the shutdown started right before a couple of federal holidays, a lot of people had taken time off this time of year so the shutdown wasn't going to be felt as immediately for federal employees, but now that the new year is coming and, you know, a lot of people with worried, how are we going to pay our bills, and a lot of people are already tight on cash after the holidays so as we see more stories come out, things may change. the shutdown hasn't changed donald trump's approval rating by very much. it's within margins of error but that could change. >> people may be paying attention to it more once the new year starts as well. white house press secretary sarah sanders was asked what president trump would be willing to accept. this is -- was her response. >> can you give us any idea what the president would be willing to accept, financially, for border security for his border wall where we could reach a deal if democrats would get there. >> we made that clear to the
democrats. i'm not going to negotiate in the press but the president has been willing to negotiate on this point. >> isn't that part of the problem, that the white house's goals here seem to be a moving target. we don't know definitively what they're looking for. what if they put a number on the table and said, we'd accept that, wouldn't that put pressure on the democrats to accept it and at least move this conversation forward? >> well, right now, there's no pressure on the democrats to even move on the deal so long as nancy pelosi isn't yet speaker of the house. and i think people haven't really acknowledged the politics of the speakership race that, you know, once nancy pelosi becomes speaker of the house, the democrats will then have more leverage to negotiate with the trump white house. but the trump white house needs anywhere north of $1.8 billion for funding for the border wall. they're willing to probably accept something less than $5 billion for construction of the border wall, but they need to move somewhere because 2020 is on the horizon, and president trump needs a victory here and the democrats don't want to give
it to him even in the slightest. >> you know, kelly, there's been a lot made about the president's kind of shifting position on all of this. you know, right now he is putting all the blame on the democrats but we have to remember that he originally said that he would take responsibility for the shutdown. we also know that the senate passed the continuing resolution. the vice president went to capitol hill and told senate republicans that the president would sign it. he then went back on that deal that caused the shutdown. now he's demanding all this money for a wall on the border with mexico and he said repeatedly during the campaign that mexico was going to pay for this, it wouldn't require taxpayer money. how can he credibly blame this on democrats? >> that's a great question, ryan, and it reminds me of some of the supporters of donald trump when he was a candidate saying that you have to take him seriously but not literally. but you know, he said it almost every campaign event. we're going to build that wall, mexico is going to pay for it. and yeah, you know, just -- this is why i see, you know, part of me thinks, why don't the
democrats compromise a little, come to the table, move a little. well, they have the upper hand and that's because of donald trump and this administration. you know, as you pointed out, just a couple weeks ago, you had the senate voting unanimously on a continuing resolution that would have funded through february 8th, $0 for that border wall. >> it was a voice vote. they didn't even need to have a roll call. >> and the administration, donald trump was going to support that and once that came out, you had prominent conservatives, you know, his -- part of his base, people like ann coulter and laura ingraham who said they were disappointed and some said it was outrageous. it was only then that he decided, well, wait, i promised this. i got to do this. and keep in mind, as some people have mentioned, that he hasn't yet -- the administration has not yet spent the money that was already passed for building up some of that border wall. so, yeah, there's mixed messages coming out of the administration, and you can see in a way why democrats are sort of holding firm, because they know the republicans have already voted once for funding with no money for a border wall.
why won't they do it again. >> you know, siraj, kelly makes a great point. there's certainly an advantage to nancy pelosi and chuck schumer not doing anything to allow the president to kind of flail here, looking for some sort of an offer, but isn't there an opportunity here as well? couldn't they come to the table and say, okay, we'll give you, you know, a pittance but in exchange, you give us protection for dreamers, you agree to some sort of a protection for robert mueller. are they missing an opportunity here to kind of put this back on the white house and in exchange get something they're looking for that he likely would not be an agreement to under normal circumstances? >> possibly. i mean, the democrats have wasted plenty of opportunities to try to negotiate with the trump white house in exchange for something that they want to get done, say, daca reauthorization in early 2018 and we had a government shutdown or partial shutdown because of that. but you have to look at the fact that the "san diego union
tribune" reported that another migrant caravan is on its way, leaving in january, mid-january, and basically president trump is going to have another immigration crisis on his hands, and this particular caravan is supposed to be somewhere around 15,000 people, according to organizers who are rallying these people together. so, president trump has to act soon and get something done with respect to, you know, construction of the border wall. he's talked about shutting down ports of entry or shutting down the border altogether. that might help at least with getting the democrats to the table, but right now, it's up in the air. >> okay, all right, we got a very finite amount of time but i want both of you on the record here, we're taping this, kelly, who caves first? >> the republicans. >> republicans. all right. siraj? >> you know, chuck schumer and nancy pelosi caved last time. i can't see them doing it again. i think trump will at least have a partial win. he will get some funding but he
won't get $5 billion. >> okay. all right. we've got you both on the record now. this is forever going to mark your career, so good or bad, you came on cnn on a saturday night and you paid the price for it. thank you so much. >> happy new year. >> have a great new year. a new report alleges that donald trump's former campaign chairman was pressured by a former russian spy in 2016 -- in the 2016 campaign over money that manafort allegedly owed to a powerful oligarch. those details ahead. plus new threats from the kremlin, russia claims its new super sonic missile is invulnerable and ready to deploy. so what does that mean for our national security? with my hepatitis c, i felt i couldn't be at my best for my family. in only 8 weeks with mavyret, i was cured and left those doubts behind.
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named victor boyarkin and his boss, oleg deripaska. boyarkin says manafort was deeply in debt to deripaska. manafort began offering ways to pay that money back. now here's where the twists begin. you may recall "the washington post's" previously reported in which paul manafort promised to give deripaska private briefings on the 2016 campaign. now, "time" reports this may have been one of the ways that manafort was attempting to pay deripaska back and remember this isn't the only time that deripaska has been linked to the trump campaign. earlier this year, a russian model who had spent time with deripaska offered to give up information about an alleged link between the trump campaign and russia in exchange for asylum. now, a spokesman for manafort declined to comment to cnn about time's new report. cnn did catch up with deripaska
last year. >> did victor boyarkin owe you millions of dollars when he was the head of the trump campaign? >> my next guest is here to try and help us make sense of all this relatively complicated report. seth is the author of "trump/russia." so, seth, try and help us understand who oleg deripaska is and who victor boyarkin are, how powerful are they, and is it realistic to think that the connection between them would lead ultimately to the kremlin and possibly donald trump? >> definitely. yeah, it is a complex picture, but here's how to explain it. oleg deripaska is one of a few oligarchs who are extremely close to putin and the kremlin. he said on a couple of occasions he doesn't separate himself from the state and he would basically do anything when asked by putin to do. so, you know, what we have is a trump's campaign chairman, paul manafort, in deep debt to a man
like deripaska. victor boyarkin was the bag man. victor boyarkin was the missing link here. we knew that there were these e-mails. we knew that deripaska was involved. we didn't know how they were connected and boyarkin was the go-between. he was hammering manafort for money while the campaign was going on, and as you mentioned, one of the ways manafort suggested paying -- may have been suggesting paying it off was to offer private briefings on the campaign. so you know, you have a campaign manager in debt to a russian oligarch who's connected to putin who's been pressured for money in the middle of a campaign. he's running on behalf of the republican nominee for president. >> so, in the context of everything that we have seen reported about russia and the investigation up until this point, i mean, where do you rank this in terms of important developments? it seems as though this connection now, drawing boyarkin into this, is a very significant development. >> it's one of -- there's this kind of constant mosaic, this
shifting mosaic of puzzle pieces out there, and we're -- what we're getting is detail that's being filled in here. so we're getting color. and boyarkin is, you know, he's an interesting character. he's a former intelligence agent, and what he did -- his job was, was running special projects for deripaska in africa and other places, and that may have included, you know, collecting debts from people like paul manafort. but what's important to see is that this is just one of many pieces out there that are all connecting trump to the campaign. the interesting question for me is, what did trump know? the best case for trump here is that he didn't know that boyarkin -- that there was any boyarkin connection or deripaska connection with his campaign chairman. the worst case scenario, the darker scenario, is that he knew and that's why he chose paul manafort to be his campaign chairman. >> that's interesting. so, now, if we're trying to play this situation out and see how
this could potentially be impacting the administration in its current form, a few weeks ago the trump administration lifted sanctions on a company that is tied to deripaska. what do you think the reasoning for that could be? >> to me, that looks like a sweetheart deal. you know, deripaska -- they hammered deripaska very hard with these sanctions. deripaska runs one of the world's biggest aluminum companies, and those sanctions bit hard, and almost as soon as they were implemented, the trump administration has been trying to soften the blow, the sanctions were delayed, deripaska's hired lobbyists, you know, the information i've seen is that boyarkin came back into deripaska' inner circle to help get rid of these sanctions, that was part of his role, and it looks like a sweetheart deal because deripaska's charity is now one of the shareholders -- he was -- deripaska was supposed to cut his ownership in half, so now half of the shares are owned by his charity, by a russian bank, and it doesn't look like control has been really given up at all.
so, you know, another interesting twist to this is that boyarkin was himself -- the spy who was talking to manafort, he was sanctioned in december, so that may have been part of the trade here is that we'll lift sanctions on your companies if -- and we'll give sanctions to boyarkin. there may have been some horse trading going on here. >> well, it's an incredibly complex story. seth, we appreciate you at least helping us to unpack one thread on this story. thank you so much for your perspective . >> thank you. and speaking of russia, a new arms race challenge for vladimir putin. he says russia is ready to deploy a hypersonic nuclear missile that it is impossible to stop. cnn's fred pleitgen has the story. >> reporter: vladimir putin in command observing his armed forces test what they claim is a hypersonic missile, capable of defeating america's missile defense systems called avant-garde. >> translator: the new avant-garde system is invincible
when faced with current and future air defense and missile defenses technology of a potential enemy. this is a great success and a great victory. >> reporter: while some experts doubt whether the avant-garde missile is really combat ready and as capable as moscow says, russia claims it flies up to 20 times the speed of sound and is capable of evasive maneuvers if confronted by missile defense systems. >> translator: next year, the avant-garde system will be put into service, a regiment will be formed which will start combat duty. this is a wonderful, tremendous gift to the country for the new year. >> reporter: the missile test came at the same time president trump was in iraq standing by his decision to pull u.s. troops out of syria, giving massive boost to russia's influence in the region and amid growing tensions between moscow and washington over trump's decision to pull out of the decades-old intermediate range nuclear forces treaty. vladimir putin unveiled plans for a variety of nuclear weapons in march, including the
avant-garde and an unmanned underwater drone which the russians also claim will be invincible. >> translator: we've achieved major breakthrough in developing new weapons this year. there's nothing in the world like these weapons and i hope that our new systems will make those used to militaristic and aggressive rhetoric think twice. >> reporter: while moscow says its new generation of nukes are not aimed at threatening anyone, experts fear russia, china, and the u.s. could be on the brink of a new nuclear arms race as tensions between them rise and arms control treaties are scrapped. fred pleitgen, cnn, moscow. still to come, a guest is kicked out of a hotel for talking on the phone and the hotel now responding by firing two workers. plus, democrats take control of the house in just five days and they promise a litany of presidential investigations, so where may they start? (burke) parking splat. and we covered it.
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a doubletree in portland, oregon, is apologizing for an alleged racist incident in its hotel lobby. jermaine massey says he was racially profiled and discriminated against for taking a phone call in the hotel lobby last saturday. the hotel says it has fired two employees seen in this video. miguel marquez has more on this incident. >> reporter: well, ryan, this seems to be another case of basically breathing while black. white people calling the police on black people for either small or no offense at all. in this case, it was a gentleman by the name of massey. on december 22nd, he checked into a hotel in portland as part of the hilton chain of hotels. he had just gone to a concert. his mother had texted somewhat urgent text. he walked into the lobby. it was rather crowded. he went to a excludsecluded par
the lobby and started making a phone call. that's when he was confronted. we've put together a little highlights list for you. >> he's calling the cops on me because i'm taking a phone call at the doubletree hotel. >> portland police will be here in a minute. >> thank you. call them. i'm waiting. >> okay. >> they're coming why? why are they coming? >> escort you off the property. >> because why? and i'm staying here? >> not anymore. >> how am i loitering in an area that's public? >> you're sitting here. >> so this area is off limits after a certain time? >> only if you're a guest. >> i am a guest. >> you didn't tell me that. >> i said that i'm a guest. >> no. >> i told you that. >> mr. massey was on the don lemon show and don asked him why do you think this sort of stuff happens? >> it's hurtful. it's humiliating. and i don't understand why it continues to be an issue.
i'm a person, at the end of the day, just like everyone else, and i deserve respect, and fair treatment, and i did not receive that on saturday. i think that there's a lot of perceptions about black males in particular, that we're threats, and we're harmful and we're just fearful individuals, and you know, that bias, it impacts these situations, and it's harmful to us as a people. >> as far as the doubletree and the entire hilton hotel chain, they've issued a lengthy statement saying they don't condone discrimination, they've apologized and clearly they have fired the two individuals. cnn has reached out to those two individuals, one we could not get ahold of. the other didn't return our messages. even the mayor of portland, ted wheeler, tweeting that all of this is part of the systemic nature of discrimination.
what mr. massey and his lawyer are pleased for the apology and for the firing from hilton hotels, they do want more. they'd like to hear from them on paper about the policy that led that security guard to confront mr. massey in that way at their property. ryan? >> miguel, thank you, and miguel mentioned that statement from doubletree. it goes on to say, quote, our hotel is committed to engaging outside advisers and experts in diversity and inclusion to evaluate our processes, protocols, and trainings to ensure something like this does not happen again. we reiterate our sincere apology to mr. massey and for his treatment this past weekend and deeply regret the experience he endured. coming up, she is a long-time conservative known for pushing the envelope. but did the wife of a supreme court justice go too far with her latest facebook posts? from the very beginning, it was always our
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congress about to come back to washington. a more polarized supreme court is also a few days away from a new session. and the far right trump supporting facebook posts of one of the justice's spouses are raising new questions. for years, ginni thomas, justice clarence thomas' wife, has been a vocal presence in conservative circles, but as cnn's jessica schneider reports, her more recent rhetoric is #maga all the way. >> i, clarence thomas. >> reporter: a supreme court spouse for decades, virginia thomas, better known as ginni, is well known for speaking out among conservative circles. >> the second reagan revolution is growing. >> reporter: but it's her recent rapid succession of facebook posts blasting democrats and promoting highly partisan views that are prompting pushback. earlier this month, thomas put up this meme, asking, where is the wall? portraying california as a war zone where undocumented
immigrants attack and carjack americans. she reposted this claim of democratic voter fraud after the midterms with no proof at all. she has even derided republicans for not going after the left, who she's labeled as liberal fascists, one week after a nazi sympathizer killed a woman in charlottesville. one user responded to a recent post, you're literally married to a sitting supreme court justice and you put out this partisan propaganda. you tarnish the people's faith in the court and you ought to be ashamed of yourself. >> ginni thomas has every right to have whatever opinion she wants. she has every right as an individual to express those opinions publicly. the question is whether, by expressing those opinions publicly, she is calling into question, she is providing fodder for those who want to attack the impartiality, the credibility, the institutional legitimacy of the supreme court. >> reporter: ginni thomas didn't respond to our requests for comment. >> you're the best man walking the face of the earth. >> reporter: she did interview her husband in january as a
contributor for the conservative site, "daily caller." >> oh, god, you make me laugh. >> reporter: their banter offered a window into their close and playful relationship. >> i keep a sign on my desk, don't make fun of your wife's choices, you were one of them. >> thank you. i really appreciate that. and that's so true. okay. what do you -- what do you say -- >> plus i love my wife. >> reporter: but he also seemed to distance himself from her outspoken conservative commentary in that "daily caller" interview. >> as a judge, you don't get to be on one team or the other. you have to think independently in order to live up to the oath that you take. >> and the best part of being a justice? >> it's, first of all, it's -- it would be impossible without you. i have to be honest.
>> that was jessica schneider reporting. one of the messages that democrats ran on this year was keeping president trump in check, so where could those house investigations start and just what could they uncover? that's next. at t-mobile we believe in going big for the holidays. get unlimited with the new samsung galaxy s9 included. for just 40 bucks a month. seriously? seriously! noooo!
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that means their first chance to demand answers and actually expect to receive them by issuing subpoenas. cnn's randi kaye takes a look at one area where they could start, the trump family business empire. >> reporter: is the trump organization mixed up in money laundering? that's what some members of congress want to find out. deutsche bank has a history of illegally laundering russian money and a relationship with the trump organization. >> they paid hundreds of millions of dollars in fines to the state of new york because they were laundering russian money and this apparently was the one bank that was willing to do business with the trump organization. now, is that a coincidence? >> here it comes. >> reporter: there's also the michael cohen problem. the trump organization's long-time lawyer pleaded guilty in august to eight counts, including campaign finance violations tied to his work for trump which cohen says included payments designed to silence
women who claimed they had affairs with trump, which trump has denied. >> he directed me to make the payments. he directed me to become involved in these matters. >> reporter: voters were kept in the dark as they headed to the polls, yet cohen admitted in court filings that in coordination and at the direction of a candidate for federal office, he kept information that would have harmed trump from being made public during the 2016 election cycle. and what about that proposed trump tower in moscow? cohen had previously said talks about the moscow project ended in january 2016, before the iowa caucuses. turns out, that was a lie. according to rudy giuliani, the talks continued into november, the month of the election. in court, cohen admitted he made his false statemented consistent with individual one's political messaging and out of loyalty to individual one. just who is individual one? donald trump. all of this matters because if it's true, it could prove trump
was seeking business with russia while moscow was secretly working to get him elected. and speaking of hotels, attorneys general for maryland and d.c. have filed a lawsuit and subpoenaed financial records from the trump organization and the trump international hotel in d.c. >> this is the most coveted piece of real estate in washington, d.c., the best location. >> reporter: the hotel plays host to foreign officials and leaders from around the world. the lawsuit suggests the president breached the emoluments clause of the constitution, which prohibits the president from accepting payments from foreign powers while in office. all said, at least five committees in congress now poised to probe the trump organization on everything trump's touched, including his yet to be released tax returns. randi kaye, cnn, new york. joining me now to discuss
this is richard painter, former white house ethics lawyer for president george w. bush. richard, we saw what randi had to say there. what stands out most to you about the trump organization and as a lawyer, what would you be looking at given the opportunity? >> well, first, for 25 years, since the end of the george h.w. bush administration, donald trump's credit rating in the united states has been terrible. american banks will not loan him money. western european banks will not loan him money if they are taking the risk. where is he getting his money? who is taking the risk on these loans that are made to donald trump by deutsche bank or other banks? it is very, very likely that it's not the americans or the western europeans. that's the first thing about donald trump. second, every time robert mueller wants to get anywhere near the financial records of
the trump organization, donald trump gets very, very upset and starts trying to fire robert mueller. obviously, there's something there. there's a reason he doesn't share his tax returns because that's where a lot of this information likely is. and last, this emoluments clause litigation is critically important. my work for citizens for responsibility and ethics in washington for about a year, we looked very carefully at this issue, filed a lawsuit at the very beginning of the administration, and there are two other lawsuits in the pipeline, but now we have an opportunity for the united states house of representatives as well as the courts to find out where the trump money's coming from. >> so, if you were a democrat and you saw, you know, the opportunity to start issuing subpoenas, how concerned would you be that the white house would be successful in preventing action on those subpoenas and fighting those
subpoenas from going forward? >> well, i'd just go ahead and issue the subpoenas and i would support those subpoenas whether i was a republican, a democrat, or an independent. this shouldn't be a partisan issue. it's shameful that the republicans have been blocking this investigation for two years and that's one reason i left the republican party. i'm now an independent. but this should not be partisan. a foreign power has infiltrated our elections, hacked computers. there was collaboration with the russians. and now we may very well have financial ties between the president of the united states and russia. it's critically important that we find this out. we're all americans, not democrats or republicans in this game. >> all right, richard painter, thank you for your perspective. we appreciate it. and as the partial government shutdown nears its ninth day, president trump is threatening to shut down the southern border if he doesn't get his wall. but is he even legally able to do that?
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2018 was a big year for the department of justice. indictments, investigations, and the ouster of the attorney general. laura jarrett looks back at the top eight justice stories of 2018. >> indictments, immigration battles, the departure of an attorney general, and the investigation looming over the presidency. here are the top eight stories in 2018. number 8, the rise of hate. >> 11 people dead, six people wounded in what one fbi agent calls the most horrific crime he has ever seen. the suspect, 46-year-old robert
bowers. his social media accounts littered with anti-semitic and anti-immigrant views. >> a massacre of worshippers at a synagogue in pittsburgh and a shooting at a grocery store, putting hate crimes in sharp focus. >> the fbi says hate crimes shot up 17% in 2017. the motivation for 60% of those, the government says, was race, ethnicity or ancestry. >> number 7, trump's war on the justice system. >> president trump making a strong demand on twitter just moments ago. >> trump upped the ante on the justice department and the fbi in 2018, demanding they investigate whether his campaign was spied on for political reasons. >> the president is on a tweetstorm this morning to make unproven claims of something that he is now calling spygate. just minutes ago he made this now a thing. >> while also going after his
political rivals. >> there's a lingering stench and we're going to get rid of that too. >> in unprecedented ways. >> i decided to revoke the security clearance of john brennan, former director of the central intelligence agency. >> number 6, the justice department versus capitol hill. the republicans pressured the justice department to turn over documents. >> the department of justice will not be extorted. >> the congressional intelligence committee accused the fbi of misconduct in obtaining a warrant to monitor former trump campaign adviser carter page under the foreign intelligence surveillance act. whereas others on the hill who reviewed the information said
the fbi did nothing wrong. >> i am convinced the fbi did exactly what my fellow citizens would want them to do. >> number 5, the immigration battle. >> we care! we care! >> a federal judge swiftly blocked the trump administration from separating parents from their children. and the president backed down. >> the republicans want security and insist on security for our country and we will have that at the same time we have compassion. we want to keep families together. >> then another judge blocked the administration's efforts to limit asylum, saying the president violated, quote, a clear command from congress. number 4, when the courts checked trump. >> you go to the ninth circuit and it's a disgrace and i'm going to put in a major complaint, because you cannot win if you're us. >> while the president often lashes out at the ninth circuit court of appeals on the west coast, in reality the administration faced a losing streak this year in courts across the country. but trump did score one major victory. a federal judge in texas
striking down the affordable care act, teeing up a fight all but guaranteed to land in the supreme court, a court with a new 5-4 conservative majority as the justice department is making a practice of regularly asking justices to weigh in on other controversial issues, aggressively skipping over lower courts. but chief justice john roberts also issued a rare warning against trump's criticism of judges, saying, quote, we do not have obama judges or trump jumps, bush judges or clinton judges. the independent judiciary is something we should all be thankful for. number 3, reshaping the federal courts. >> on this vote, the ayes are 50, the nays 48. >> the president secured a conservative majority on the supreme court for decades to come, after allegations by christine blasey ford that
justice kavanaugh tried to rape her when she was 15 years old. >> the senate process was contentious and emotional. that process is over. i take this office with gratitude and no bitterness. >> meanwhile senate republican leaders made stacking the federal judiciary with young conservative judges a signature priority, a legacy that will far outlast the trump presidency. number 2, justice shake-up. >> breaking news right now, the attorney general of the united states, jeff sessions, he has now resigned. >> the long-expected departure of one of trump's earliest supporters coming after months of blistering attacks all because jeff sessions stepped away from overseeing the russia investigation. >> he took the job and then he said, i'm going to recuse myself. i said, what kind of a man is this? >> trump tapped matt whitaker, sessions' former chief of staff,
unleashing legal challenges because he wasn't confirmed by the senate. but soon a man who was attorney general under george h.w. bush emerged is the president's pick. >> bill barr will be nominated for the united states attorney general. >> number 1, the russia investigation. the special counsel's investigation into russian interference in the 2016 election ramped up this year with multiple subpoenas, flipped witnesses, dozens of indictments, and five guilty pleas including from some high-level members of the trump campaign. the head-spinning volume of material turned out by robert mueller and other federal prosecutors puts trump's campaign, transition, and inaugural committee now under active investigation. while michael cohen, the parking lot's former attorney and fixer, agreed to cooperate with investigators. >> the man doesn't tell the truth and it's sad that i should
take responsibility for his dirty deeds. >> there's no telling what 2019 will bring. but the justice department delivered a series of blows to trump this year in his personal, business, and political life. all with a blast radius that remains to be seen. and you are live in the cnn newsroom. i'm ryan nobles in today for ana cabrera. hundreds of thousands of americans this weekend, federal employees, are either working with no paycheck or told to stay home from their jobs for the eighth straight day. the countdown clock is ticking. the partial government shutdown dragging into week number two. the reason, president trump and democrats in congress stubbornly refusing to make a deal on how much money to spend on a mexico border wall. so nine cabinet level departments remain shut with no end to this