tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN February 8, 2018 3:00pm-4:00pm PST
three or four people will vote to pay attention to the rules. we are in a terrible state as a country. $20 trillion in debt is bigger than our entire economy. you wonder why the stock market is jittery? one of the reasons is we do not have the capacity to continue to fund a government like this. we've been funding it with phony interest rates that are concocted and given to us by the federal reserve. but they aren't real. what if interest rates become real again? anybody remember when interest rates were 5, 10, 15? i remember as a teenager them being 19% or 20%. but historically they've often been at least 5. you know what happens to the government when our interest rate goes to 5 and they have to borrow for social security and medicare and all the other stuff we do? there will be a catastrophe in this country. already interest rates are ticking up. stock market is jittery. if you ask a question why, maybe it has something to do with the
irresponsibility of congrespend money we don't have. the bill's going to exceed the budget caps by $296 billion. and that's not counting the money they don't count. these people are really, really clever. imagine them running their fingers together and saying how can we hide stuff from the american people, how can we evade the spending caps so we can be even more irresponsible than we appear? so 296 is the official number. about $300 billion over two years that will be in excess of the budget caps. but there's another $160 billion that's stuck into something called an overseas contingency fund. the budget caps don't apply there. $3 hupp billion for two years over the budget caps, then we're another $160 billion over the caps and they just don't count it and act as if it doesn't matter, we're just not going to count it. and then we come to catastrophes. and you might say to yourself, i
have great sympathy for those people's houses that were flooded in texas and florida. i do. my sister's house was flooded in houston, or near houston. and so i have great compassion. but even for my family i can't take the money or borrow it from the next generation and say here's a pot of money, go rebuild your house. we should do it in a responsible fashion. we've already i think spent 30-some-odd billion on emergency relief for the hurricanes. there's another 90 billion. but you know what i've said? instead of just plunking 90 billion down or printing it at the federal reserve or borrowing it, instead of just doing that why don't we take the 90 billion from somewhere in the budget that it shouldn't be? people come to me all the time, they want something from government. i say, well, if you want something from government tell me where to take it from because i'm not going to borrow anymore. we should take it from? other place in the budget. where do you get the 90 billion from? so i've had suggestions. and you know how many votes they get?
about 10 or 15 people will vote with me. i say with well, let's not send it to pakistan this year. they burn our flag. they put christians in jail. they put a guy in jail, dr. afridi, who helped us find bin laden. we finally found bin laden, he'd been living high on the hog in the middle of a town a mile or two from a military academy. everybody probably knew he was there in the pakistani government, and he lived uninterrupted. we finally got him when a guy named dr. shaquille afridi gave us information. you know what pakistan did to this doctor? he's in jail for 33 years. you know what they did by w. a christian by the name of asia bibi? pakistan has her on death row. she went to the well in a small village to draw water, and as she was drawing water the women of the village began stoning her and beating her with sticks. as she lay on the ground beating. and everybody watched and gaukd as she lay on the ground bleeding, she was crying out for help and the police finally arrived and she thought she'd been saved, only to be arrested
for being a christian. and yet we've given $33 billion to pakistan over the last decade. good money after bad. almost everybody up here loves it. they just want more of your money to go to pakistan. saudi arabia, china, you name it. they'll send your money anywhere. and we've got a country that needs it here. instead of nation building abroad, why don't we build our country here at home? why don't we do? nation building here at home? so we have $90 billion we need for emergency relief. even as conservative as i am i'd say we can probably find that, we're a great rich country, we can probably rebuild and the government can be part of that. but you know what? why don't we quit sending it to pakistan? why don't we quit sending it to countries who burn our flag and chant "death to america"? why don't we keep that money here at home? why don't we say to the government writ large that they have to spend a little bit less?
anybody ever have less money this year than you had last? anybody have a 1% pay cut? you deal with it. that's what government needs, a 1% pay cut. if you take a 1% pay cut across the board, you have more than enough money to actually pay for the disaster relief. but nobody's going to do that because they're fiscally irresponsible. who are they? republicans. who are they? democrats. who are they? virtually the whole body is careless and reckless with your money. so the money will not be offset by cuts anywhere. the money will be added to the debt. and there will be a day of reckoning. what's the day of reckoning? the day of reckoning may well be the collapse of the stock market. the day of reckoning may be the collapse of the dollar. when it comes, i can't tell you exactly. but i can tell you it has happened repeatedly in history when countries ruin their currency, when countries become profligate spenders, when countries begin to believe that
debt does not matter. that's what this bill is about. but here's the confusion. some at home will say we just want them to cooperate, if they would just hold hands and sing kumbaya everything would be fine. well, guess what. that's what you've got. you saw both of the leadership of both sides opposing me because they are now clasped hand in hand, everybody's getting what they want. everybody's getting more spending. the military, the right's getting more military spending. the left's getting more welfare spending. and you're getting stuck with the bill. not even technically you. it's the next generation getting stuck with the bill. your grand kids are being stuck with the bill. but mark my words, the stock market is jittery. the bond market is jittery. there is an undercurrent of unease amidst this euphoria you've seen in the stock market. a country go on forever spending
money this way. and what you're seeing is recklessness, trying to be passed off as bipartisanship. so we've gotten together. they're all holding hands. and there's only one bad guy standing in the way. one bad guy's going to keep us here till 3:00 in the morning. well, you know what? i think the country's worth a debate till 3:00 in the morning frankly. i think it is worth a debate on whether or not we should borrow a million dollars a minute. i've been saying that for a few years. we borrow a million dollars a minute. because i think it really brings it home. i was talking to my staff today, they were saying it's almost 2 million a minute now. $2 million a minute. can you imagine? and this is exploding. this deficit is exploding. and there isn't the alarm you should see. but guess what. every one of these people, you'll see them come home to your state. you'll see them come home and they'll tell you how earnest they are and how the deficit is bad and big government spending is bad and we have to reduce waste. it's dishonest.
they're not doing anything about the waste. the waste has been out there for probably half a century or more. nothing's been done in the last 40 years for one precise reason. there is no oversight. you realize what they are passing is all of the money gone together in one bill. no one will read the bill. no one knows what's in it. and there is no reform in the bill. that i can say with absolute certitude. no one will read it. no reform. nothing gets better. the debt will grow. when the democrats are in power, republicans appear to be the conservative party. but when republicans are in power, it seems there is no conservative party. opposition seems to bring people together and they know what they're not for, but then they get in power and they decide we're just going to spend that money too, we're going to send that money to our friends this
time. the hypocrisy hangs in the air and chokes anyone with a sense of decency and intellectual honesty. the right krooz out our military is hollowed out even though military spending has more than doubled since 2001. the left is no better. democrats don't oppose the military money as long as they can get something for themselves. as long as they can get something for their pet causes. the dirty little secret is by and large both parties don't care about the debt. the spending bill's 700 pages. and there will be no amendments. the debate, although it's somewhat inside baseball, we're 15-minute debate.ver me having a and they say woe is me, if you get one everybody will want an amendment. well, that would be called debate. that would be called an open process. that would be called concern for your country, enough to take a few minutes. but they're like it's thursday and we like to be on vacation on
fridays. and so they clamor. but we've been sitting around all day. it's not like we've had 100 amendments today and we're all worn out, we can't do one more. we're going to have zero maemts. zero. goose egg. no amendments. so it's a binary choice. they love that word. it's a binary choice. take it or leave it. i'm going to leave it. i didn't leave my family for the week and travel up here to be a part of something that is so much inertia and so much status quo that they're not leaving the country, they're just following along and it's a big ball rolling down the hill. grabbing up your dollars as the boulder rolls down the hill and gets bigger and bigger and it's going to crush us. but nobody's got the guts to stand up and say no. over the past 40 years only four times have we actually done 12 individual department of government appropriation bills.
you've heard of like the appropriation committee. this is where the spending is. you have the department of defense, the department of commerce, health and human services. we're supposed to pass each individual bill. and what would happen when we pass the bills, they would go through committee and each committee would look and see, well, this spending seems to be working, we're getting a great result and we want some more next year. and this spending appears to have been put in a closet and lit on fire. so next year we're not giving that person who put the $10 million in the closet and lit it on fire, we're not going to give them any money. but guess what, it doesn't happen. people keep putting your money in a closet and lighting it on fire. you've heard about fema. it's this emergency organization. you've heard about people without food. so there was like 300 million meals they needed i believe for puerto rico, 350 meals. you knew about the contract. a person that had no employees. now, raise your hand -- you're not allowed to, actually.
but let's say raise your hand in a figurative way if you think it's a good idea to give a contract for 2350 million meals to someone who has no employees, who's 99 this business. they just know how to fill out the forms in the federal government to trick us into giving them the contract. they were woefully short and there were still people waiting in line for meals. stonts even compassion or no compassion. it's idiocy versus more idiocy. we gave the money to someone who doesn't do this. 350 million meals. over the past four years four times have we done the right thing, passed appropriations bills, done the right thing. there's no guarantee everyone will be watching your spending but it's got to be better. it can't be worse. what do we do instead? it's called a continuing resolution. we glom all the bills together in one bill. like we did tonight. republicans and democrats
clasping hands. and nobody's going to look at it. nobody's going to reform the spending. as a consequence wasteful spending is riddled throughout your government. only four times in four years have we done the appropriation process the way we're supposed to. recently they did a pentagon study. they audited a part of the pentagon. this partial audit shows that $800 million was misplaced or lost. just 800 million. i don't think they actually put it in a closet and burned it. but they can't find it. a while back they looked at some of the military expenditures and they had $29 billion worth of stuff they couldn't find. overall they found that over $100 billion in waste was found at the pentagon. $100 billion. their budget's like $700 billion. so we're talking about a significant, over a 10%, you know, problem with figuring out
waste. but it doesn't get better because we don't vote on these things individually and we don't parse out the difference. i'll give you another example p the department of defense, last yaefr we found th year. spent $45 million on a natural gas gas station in afghanistan. $45 million. it was projected to cost $500,000. 86-some-odd cost overruns. $45 million. so you're scratching your head and saying natural gas gas station, what is that? we don't have one in my town. we don't have any in my town either. they didn't have any in afghanistan. but you know what? they decided they needed to reduce the carbon footprint of afghanistan. all right? they would reduce the carbon footprint of afghanistan. the military's job now is to reduce the footprint. so they bought a $45 million gas station that uses natural gas.
a guy sitting next to the pump you can imagine him sitting on a stool and waiting for customers. no one ever came. then someone said oh, my good ne ness, they don't have any cars that run on natural gas. that would be the same if you came to my town in kentucky. almost nobody's got a car in america. they live in a primitive state in afghanistan and you were expecting them to have natural gas cars? so they said, well, gosh, we already built this ha million gas station, maybe we should buy them some cars. they bought them some cars with your money, paid for the gas station with your money, now they bought them cars with your money but then the people still wouldn't come in. and they said we don't have any money. so they said okay, we've got the gas station, we've got your cars, you need a credit card. so we gave them credit cards. so they have a u.s. credit card you pay for to take your natural gas car you pay for to go to a natural gas gas station because we're reducing the carbon footprint in afghanistan. when did that become the job of the military? and why does that go on year after year after year, the
waste? for 17 years we've been trying to get the pentagon to be audited. and do you know what the response has been? we're too big to be audited. how's that for your government? your government telling you they're too big to be audited and scrutiny, that's just not your business. is it any wonder, really, our debt's a $20 trillion debt? so 50 years ago william proxmeyer was a senator, conservative in some ways. he began handing out something called the golden fleece award, and we'll talk about a few of them. this is 50 years ago. and the reason i want to point this out is as you look at this and listen you'll find that some of the stuff we're doing today is just as bad as 50 years ago. some of it's the same agencies. and so you scratch your head and say 50 years? we've been through a couple of generations of politicians and they're still not learning anything from finding this
waste? some of it's the budget process, the process that we pass these enormous bills that no one reads, that now. noh one scrutinizes and do not reform the spending. i remember this as a kid in the early '70s. here's a couple things we pointed out. the national science foundation spent $84,000 trying to find out why people fall in love. that sounds like a really worthwhile science project with a real specific answer. i think the conclusion was they're not exactly sure. the national science foundation which you'll see is a recurring theme in bad and wasteful spending also spent about $500,000 to try to determine why rats, monkeys, and humans bite and why they clench their jaw. you can say that's really importantish maybe we'll discover something from that. or you can say when we're reagan
deficit and borrowing money that maybe some of these things may not be the most worthwhile to borrow money for. this is a good one from the earearl '70s. federal aviation administration spent $50,000 studsying the body measurements of what they called in those days airline stewardesses. these were trainees, and these were port purpose of purchasing their safety equipment but somebody got $50,000 to measure the body measurements of airline stewardesses. the federal energy administration,'s in still from william proxmire 15 years ago, spent $50,000 to find out if drunk fish are more aggressive than sober fish. i'll let you ponder that one. this is your government. this is your money. and this is the debt you're handing on to your kids and grandkids. and this is 50 years ago. so now we'll get into some of
the things we've been doing more recently. we do a waste report where we point some of these things out. and every week we have a new one. if you want to look at our waste report we've got that up on our facebook and on our website. this is one of my favorites. you remember when neil armstrong landed on the moon? he said "one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." or some people think he said one small step for a man, one giant leap. there's been some discussion, some very heated discussion of whether he said one step for man or one step for a man. the preposition a. did he or did not use the preposition "a"? so your government in their infinite wisdom took $700,000, which by the way was supposed to go to autism research, and they decided to study neil armstrong's statement. somebody at some university decided to play the tape over and over to see what he said. $700,000 later, they couldn't
decide. inquiring minds want to know, but we just still don't know. did he say a man or did he say man? so this is the same kind of stuff you were seeing with william proxmire 50 years ago but this is last year. i think it's the same group, national science foundation. i think i'm probably going to get some hate mail from them. so this is $850,000. and we call this one the game of waste. this was spent -- you think when we're spending money in afghanistan well, surely it's to kill the enemy. sometimes it's building bridges, sometimes it's building roads. stuff we don't do in our country anymore. but this one was $850,000 for the development of a televised cricket league. you see, self-esteem is important and we want the afghanis to feel good about themselves.
we want them to be able to watch the national sport on tv. so we spent $850,000 to get it televised. the only thing we didn't reckon was it was kind of like the natural gas cars, they didn't have tvs. so i don't know if we're in the process now of buying them tvs, but we did spend $850,000 of your money to get 'televised cricket league for those people in afghanistan. want to do the next one? this is a good one. everybody likes to do a selfie. your kids will do them with them. your grandkids do them with them. this was a study of $500,000 to tell if taking selfies makes you happy. whether you're frowning or you're frowning. and you look at yourself in the picture, does it make you happy. now, you know, inquiring minds want to know. and if you want to study that, good for you. go get somebody to voluntarily give you some money to study that. all right? i really would like to watch you
going around the neighborhood knocking on doors, asking for money to tell you whether selfies make you happy. this stuff has been going on for 40 years. why don't we root this out and stop it? well, one, they'll come to you all high and mighty and say but sir, it's science and you are just a layperson and don't understand how important selfies could be and you aren't qualified to talk about selfies because you don't know about happiness, we have experts in happiness that can tell that we could make the world happy again, we could all be happy if we had more selfies. it goes on. they give us this scientific mumbo-jumbo that somehow we're not smart enough to have common sense enough to know what we should be spending money on. but this goes on decade after deca decade. school lunch program. and you might say you know, we need to help those who can't buy school lunch. so we have a school lunch program. except for what we discovered was $158 million was given, federal money, to a los angeles
school district and turns out they were buying things other than lunches because nobody was watching them. nobody was auditing the program. nobody was doing the individual appropriation bills. they were passing class pans together, continuing resolutions, where nobody looks at it. 700 pages and nobody reads it. and when nobody reads it, they buy sprinklers and buy things for themselves. new televisions for the faculty. $158 million that was not spent on school lunches but was wasted and spent on other items. everybody's heard about climate change and there's some undertones and overtones of climate chan politics in climate change. in case you haven't heard of climate change the people who want you to know about climate change want to spend some of your money. they spent $450,000 on a video game. this is also national science
foundation. so a whole new generation will be able to play this video game on climate change. and you know, complete with great graphics. and we've got this game that your kids can play on climate change. and it's like -- it's just one thing after another. you may have bet on this if you're in washington. this one we call a street car named waste. there's a street car over here a few blocks on h street and they spent $1.6 million on it. i think they'd already spent nor more on it before that. it goes a mile. it goes from nowhere to nowhere. and you get on and there's nobody on it. it cost a fortune. you could walk from one end to the other in about the same time it takes you to go on the subway, or on this trailway. tramway. $1.6 million.
you have to ask yourself when you see this would you give money to this? i ask people at home if you had $100 you could give to help people would you give it to the salvation army or the frafl government that spends $1.6 million on a street car that goes from nowhere to nowhere and no one rides? so i talked about whether or not we should be spending the money somewhere else or here. this is $250,000 that was spent on bringing 24 kids from pakistan to space camp and to dollywood. and you can say that's good relations, now we're going to have good relations with pakistan, they're no longer going to kill christians, put them in jail or burn our flag. maybe. and i'm not against interaction. and in fact, if this were some kind of privately funded group that wanted to have some money to have interaction between us and pakistan, i'd be all for it. but first, the price tag's a little scary to me. $250,000 for 24 kids.
but then i also think, i represent a lot of people in kentucky who don't have the money to drive down to huntsville and go to space camp with their kids. so really should we not sort of readjust our priorities and start thinking, you know, do we need to take care of ours at home here before we start shipping our money overseas? or do we really need to think about can we afford to just keep borrowing money for projects like this? this is the department of defense. and think think referred to earlier. this was the $29 million worth of heavy equipment that they lost, can't find it in afghanistan. it's even worse than that. see, they lost that, but we also made the decision as we were downgrading the war in afghanistan after the last surge we did in afghanistan that we didn't want the other side to have our stuff. so we blew up a lot of our own stuff. we blew up billions of dollars worth of humvees, tanks, you name it. when they were looking and counting it up they found $29
million worth that they couldn't find. but this is -- if you really think about it and you're thinking how could we have more money for both our national defense and how could we have more money for infrastructure? you hear people talk about nrkt. people want to build roads. republicans and democrats want to build roads. but guess what? there's no money. we're a trillion dollars short this year because we passed these class pans, spend whatever the hell you can tienfind, both sides spend it like there's no tomorrow. but if you say how can we change our government, where would there be some money you can actually save? really some of it is in our foreign policy. we do not have enough probably for our military to be involved in seven wars. we might have enough to be involved in maybe three or two or one or maybe we should not be involved in any of the ones we're involved in at this point. we said after 9/11 we're going to go after those who attacked us, those who aided the attackers, and those who supported them. they're all dead. we killed them all.
that's good. we should declare victory and come home from afghanistan -- >> all right, rand paul continuing his delivery on the senate floor preventing a final vote by the senate on this compromise budget proposal, a spending deal. he's going to continue talking we're told for some time. phil mattingly, it's a little complicated. cloture. a lot of senate rules. but the delay is going to be -- the vote is going to be delayed i take it at least till 1:00 a.m., meaning at midnight there will be a government shutdown. >> that's basically where things are headed right now. as long as senator paul decides to object to any efforts to move that vote up, and again, this is senate procedure and senate rules, basically how long it has to take before they can have that vote, that vote will happen now after midnight, which means we will breach the shutdown deadline. i'm told senator paul does not plan on giving in anytime soon. and you've heard on the floor what his issues are. obviously he objects to the deal. he's not the only senator that objects to the deal. his issue is he wants a specific amendment, just the opportunity
to debate the amendment and then have a vote on the amendment. that amendment would maintain the current budget caps, which is the $300 million spending deal does away with. what you saw before senator paul started speaking was senate majority leader mitch mcconnell and senate democratic leader chuck schumer come to the floor and essentially do something that was a little bit choreographed. senator schumer making clear if senator paul gets an meantime i have a lot of guys that have problems with this deal, too they're going to want amendments. what they were trying to say there is given the deadline, given how this deal came together, they're not willing to open up the bill as it currently stands for any type of amendment, that would just kind of create a major problem. with that being said, if leaders as they currently plan will not give senator paul that amendment vote, wolf, we are very clearly on the path toward a government shutdown. how long will it be? that's a great question. because the senate right now i'm told has the votes to actually pass this deal. right now this is because of the time limits of senate rules.
but it's very clear, if senator paul sticks with where he is right now, and by every account he plans, to we will absolutely cross that midnight threshold, wolf. >> stand by, phil. we're watching this unfold. a government shutdown now likely, the deadline midnight tonight. david chalian, the president, he tweeted yesterday, he said publicly this is a good deal, the compromise worked out by mitch mcconnell and chuck schumer, he wants it to be passed. it's being delayed at least right now by rand paul. >> it is. that is a headache for the white house, it's a headache for mitch mcconnell and it's a headache for paul ryan. here's why. the president is saying he favors something that cuts against the grain of some of his supporters and some of in his party. the last eight years of republicanism, the obama-era republicans, this has been a rallying cry, to cut spending. you could pull press conference after press conference of mitch mcconnell and paul ryan and their members saying over and over again spends too much, spends too much, spends too much. here they are as rand paul
points out correctly, here they are proposing a lot of spending. yes, the president is in favor of something, and the republican leaders are pushing something that actually cuts against the grain. here's the hiccup they have now, is it's not so easy to get everybody to go against where they are ideologically like rand paul is being ideologically consistent with where he's been on this issue. it's not easy to just say get on board because leadership wants it this way. >> jim acosta is getting reaction from the white house. jim, it looks like that government shutdown at midnight tonight will happen. >> reporter: it looks like it's going to happen, wolf. and i've just been told by a senior administration official in the last few minutes that the white house has started to advise agencies of the federal government to begin their shutdown operations. and so they are now preparing for a shutdown here at the white house and inside the trump administration. this is sort of a standard operating procedure that happens every time there's the prospect of a government shutdown, they
start to talk to agencies seven days in advance. but typically on the evening before a shutdown the word goes out to get ready for a shutdown. and apparently that word has gone out. we did talk to a senior white house official earlier today who thought this vote was going to be close but the senior administration official i was just talking to a few moments ago conceded that yes, this is a bit of a surprise. they did not think the government was going to shut down tonight. but we should point out that it was just a few days ago when president trump was over here with lawmakers, law enforcement talking about the immigration issue, when he said i would love to see a shutdown. well, wolf, looks like he might get one. >> not because of the issue he wanted to see it, because of border security. he was referring to immigration, not necessarily to what rand paul is talking about right now. >> that's right. >> chris cillizza, rand paul makes the point that government
spending is going to go up dramatically if this two-year plan is put in place. it's going up zramtically as a result of the tax united states because less revenue, tax revenue will be coming in. and let's not forget, he makes this point but it's an accurate point, that during the obama administration in the last few years, the annual deficit was around 500 or 600 billion dollars. if this goes through with the tax cut legislation, this year with a republican in the white house, a republican majority in the senate, a republican majority in the house, it will be over a trillion dollars. >> yes. he's right. and the line that he had in there which is when democrats are in control the republican party is the conservative party, when republicans are in control there is no conservative party, he's not wrong. the 2010 version of the republican party, david touched on this, would be nodding their heads vigorously at everything he is talking about. paul ryan is -- you can connect a straight line between paul ryan's budget, which was premised on the idea that we are
spending out of control, we are burdening our children, grandchildren, we need to cut spending, we need to make real cuts to entitlement, security, you can draw lines between paul ryan saying that and paul ryan being the speaker of the house now. that's what rose him to natural prominence, won him kudos among conservatives. it shows the fact that this is 100% donald trump's party. donald trump doesn't care about debt and deficit. he never has. he said i'm the king of debt, i love debt. when he wins, he conducts a hostile takeover of the republican party in the 2016 election, and they have capitulated to him. rand paul is the conscience of 2010, 2011, 2012 republicans saying wait a minute, mitch mcconnell could have given essentially the speech that rand paul is giving or paul ryan has given, which is saying we're spending well beyond our means, why are we doing this? look at these things we're spending on. and frankly, paul ryan may have given a similar speech at some
time in those years. >> i want to quickly go over to april ryan. she's over at the white house for us. april, we thought the drama was going to be in the house of representatives but there's a lot of drama unfolding right now in the u.s. senate. >> yeah. and the crazy thing about this is wolf, yes, the president thought that this was a great deal once it came to him. but what people could remember, and this could hurt him, he said i would love a shutdown. and even though he accepted this compromise on the budget he said okay, but now those words from a couple days ago could hurt him. especially as he's been touting the economy. and who knows how long this could go? it may go beyond the two or three days of the last shutdown. sought president's words are still lingering even though he agreed to a compromise. >> kaitlyn collins, what rand paul is saying now on the senate floor will certainly resonate with a whole bunch of conservative republicans who will have to vote assuming this eventually does pass the senate. >> that's right. and we should note rand paul
spoke with president trump this afternoon he said and tried to get him to be receptive to this idea, tried to get him to actually call the senate majority leader mitch mcconnell, he said this afternoon. but he said that the president was not receptive to his pitch. so keep that in mind while we're going back and forth on what the white house's role in all of this has been. >> and let's not forget that conservative republicans who think this is too much government spending, raising of the deficit, the annual debt, it's too much. on the other side, there are a whole bunch of democrats who don't like it because it doesn't directly deal with the fate of hundreds of thousands of dreamers. >> that's absolutely right, wolf. we've heard house speaker paul ryan openly say some democrats will need to vote for this to get it through his chamber, but a number of democrats including democratic leader nancy pelosi say they're not willing to vote for this without permanent solution for daca. paul ryan of course has argued that congress needs to first pass the budget, deal with, that then shift the focus to
immigration. but democrats say they're giving away leverage if they allow the house speaker to do that, so it's just not clear if some of the conservative republicans that kaitlan discussed don't decide to vote emboldened by what they're seeing rand paul do in the senate, if there are enough democrats to make this happen. >> that is so critical. this is, yes, slowing down the process and potentially causing a shutdown for some period of time as they try to moffett process forward. but what happens, and we saw this a bid with ted cruz years ago when he was shutting down the government, the time allows the psychology of the house members to change as well. so while paul ryan and his whip team have been trying to make sure they have enough republicans on board so they figure out we only need this many democrats to get this over the finish line, now rand paul is out there galvanizing some conservatives, are they risking losing some of the republicans in the house they were counting on therefore making their challenge even greater to get more democrats? you also mentioned the tax cuts. we should note rand paul voted
for the tax cuts that added to the deficits. >> even though it added a trillion dollars. >> sew was a yes vote at the end of the day even though initially expressed some reservations about adding to the deficit with the tax cuts. but he was a yes vote on that. >> and take one more quick step back. why are we here? because we have set up a system of governing by crisis. the reason this is such a big deal is not because rand paul is doing anything that is outside of his rights to do. it's because -- and chuck schumer said this right before rand paul started speaking. i don't disagree with you that we should have some amendments to a bill like this because we're talking about $300 billion in spending. the fact we don't is because we govern crisis to crisis and because the government will close in 5 1/2 hours. so no one can focus on -- this
is what happens, is you have a 700-page bill. he has -- rand paul, no matter what you think of him ideologically, he has a very valid -- >> he makes the point it's not just $300 billion in extra spending it's more than $500 billion in extra spending and he's very angry about that. phil mattingly, you're talking to your sources up there on capitol hill. how long could this drag on? >> look, it's an open question. if you talk about the senate timeline right now, how this actually all works, by 1:00 a.m. the cloture motion, basically what we're on right now on the senate floor will ripen. after that point the senator could ask for another hour or two -- hour to speak. this could go a couple hours beyond that. then there would be a vote to actually get to the budget deal. that just kind of gives you a sense 6 how far away we could be from actually getting a resolution to this in the senate if senator paul continues to object to two agreements to actually move forward. here's kind of the best encapsulation of the u.s. senate. it can move extremely fast so
long as all 100 senators agree with that. if they don't, there are a lot of time limits that are in place, hours on end. and i think that's what we're looking at right now. the big question right now is how far does senator paul wants to push this? and i can tell you, wolf, behind the scenes top republican aides and lawmakers have been aware of this issue all day. he made very clear that this was his problem, that he wanted an amendment vote and he wanted this addressed. what they offered was essentially a procedural vote. he rejected that, said that wasn't enough, he wanted the amendment vote. i think the big thing right now you that hear when you're talking to aides is senator paul has done things like this before, not just the stand with rand on the national security issues, intelligence issues but also threatened other types of spending deals, budget deals in the past and then has backed down eventually. it's very clear, at least in talking to some of the people that are close to senator paul and what he said on the senate floor, that at this point he's not planning to do that. so i think the real question right now is obviously there are time limits that will allow votes to occur but that could
stretch honestly over the course of days if he wants it to. i think the real question right now, wolf, is trying to figure out how far he's willing to push this. underscoring a key point here, senate republican and democratic leaders are sure they have the votes for this deal. they just need to get to the vote to make that happen. >> given senate rules that's by no means easy as rand paul is underscoring right now. 9 white house is informing federal employees here in washington, around the country, get ready for a government shutdown at midnight tonight. we'll have a lot more opt breakibreaon the breaking news right after this. highest in investor satisfaction with full service brokerage firms... again. and online equity trades are only $4.95... i mean you can't have low cost and be full service. it's impossible. it's like having your cake and eating it too. ask your broker if they offer award-winning full service and low costs. how am i going to explain this? if you don't like their answer, ask again at schwab. schwab, a modern approach to wealth management.
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we're continuing to follow breaking news on the suddenly impending government shutdown because senator rand paul is blocking a vote in the senate on a bipartisan senate agreement. as we monitor those critically important developments up on capitol hill, i wanted to turn to another major breaking story out of the white house. right now the erratic attempts at damage control after the resignation of a top aide accused of domestic abuse by two ex-wives. let's go back to our chief white house correspondent jim acosta. jim, the administration's spin seems to be changing on this story sort of dramatically over the past 24 hours. >> reporter: that's right, wolf. and the white house did something pretty remarkable today. the white house spokesman, raj shah, who is filling in for the white house press secretary sarah sanders, at the briefing today, making his debut appearance we should point out in the briefing room, talking to reporters, did something pretty remarkable. he admitted that this white
house made mistakes over the last 24 to 48 hours in dealing with this rob porter matter. at one point he said to me in the briefing room that they could have done better, that they did not do as well as they could have in responding to all of this, and what he was talking about was essentially how they put out these glowing statements about rob porter as porter was essentially acknowledging to some extent that there was some abuse in his past marriages. now, we should also point out the white house spokesman raj shah was not very forthcoming when it came to the white house chief of staff john kelly and what he knew about these allegations. as we've been reporting, these allegations did surface during the background check that was going on last year to grant porter a security clearance. he never obtained that security clearance. he was working with an interim one according to raj shah. and when reporters were pressing shah about the timeline on all of this, as to when john kelly was made aware of all of this, he would not say. he only said that kelly was fully aware of what was going on
yesterday, but when he was pressed on that he said that was in preference to photographs of a black eye on the face of one of porter's ex-wives that surfaced yesterday. and that was all raj shah would say about that. he was pressed repeatedly, wolf, as to what kelly knew months ago when our sources tell us that kelly and other top white house officials over here at the west wing were aware there were problems in rob porter's past. we should also point out other questions were asked about the future of the dmuxs director over here, hope hicks, who had a hand in writing these statements yesterday. apparently, she did recuse herself in some of these matters, according to raj shah. but during the briefing shah told reporters that the president still retains confidence in the chief of staff john kelly, the communications director hope hicks, and the white house counsel don mcgahn, who through normal standard operating procedures in a white house would have had some knowledge about these background check issues. and so wolf, while we got some answers today and actually a
pretty remarkable admission from the white house that mistakes were made and they could have done better in all, this there are still some lingering outstanding big questions about john kelly and what he knew about all this, wolf. >> lots of unanswered questions. right now jim acosta, thank you very much. let's bring in our chief national security correspondent jim sciutto and our senior white house correspondent jeff zeleny. the security clearances that he had, they were temporary security clearances, not the full security clearances. even though he'd been there for more than a year and was dealing with some of the most sensitive issues affecting the president. >> i've spoken to a number of former intelligence officials involved in previous administrations, and they say very simply this is unusual, particularly for a position like this, where you are a gatekeeper to the president. as staff secretary you are in effect handling the information flow to the president. so you're going to see an enormous amount of classified material, highly classified material in that role. we now know why it was an interim security clearance, because in the background check the fbi spoke to ex-wives who said he had been guilty of
spousal abuse. that is an enormous for obvious reasons red flag during a background check. today as you heard raj shah, he he repeatedly laid off responsibility for this in effect on the security clearance process. in fact, we went through the transcript and we counted 25 times that he said or referenced the security clearance process here. the way the process works, though, in fact, is while the fbi does therecommendation. applies that information to the white house and it's up to tt white house to grant that clearance. white house gave the interim clearance. it would have been up to the white house to grant a fuller clearance. one last point is this. raj shaw interim clearance was an issue for administration because there was no national security risk involved. fact is, and i've spoken to investigations like this, the fact that you had spousal abuse in your past could very well be a blackmail issue. we don't flow that it would be but it's the kind of thing when
you do a security clearance comes up as a red flag for that area. >> and very quickly, jeff zeleny the fact that he didn't get security clearance should have raised flags not just white house staff but the president. >> certainly mcgahn knew and chief of staff kelly knew. we also know raj shaw was not completed. i am told it was not completed because if it's formally denied that sticks with you for the rest of your career. so they in fact made the decision to grant him an interim one. there is still the question who knew what when. would he still keep him on board? we talked to two top officials they would keep him on board. the knives are still out but the president needs and trusts john kelly. >> that's news. >> stand by. there is a lot of breaking news unfolding including an imgrent
we're back with analysts folgts t following the breaking news out of the white house former aide being accused of domestic violence. his ex-wife says she gave the fbi the photo of the black eye back in january of 2017 during the interview process. the background checks. if the fbi knew these details, would they share it with the white house, with the chief of staff, the white house counsel, someone there is a problem. >> absolutely, wolf. if this individual, if rob porter already had access to classified information and during the investigation process there was red flag that indicated he might not get security clearance, as soon as that information came to light,
someone on that investigative team would go to the white house, inform him that they have this information, and then the white house should have made a decision to revoke his classified information. it appears that did not happen in this case. >> sam, according to politico, i want to be precise, one of porter's ex girl friends went to the white house counsel, don mcgahn and spoke about the alleged abuse. what should he have done with that information? because he continued for more than a year in this really significant role in the white house. >> he should have restricted porter's access to classified information. i feel the need to say this. this is not normal. shawn, we worked in the white house for over a year. i was there for four years. i can't think of a single person that had interim clearance for this long who had as much access to classified information. because the fact this porter was a prime foreign intelligence target. he had secrets. didn't want stuff to come out. and access to most intelligence in the country. >> if he white house briefing
deputy press secretary kaitlan raj shaw said knew about the allegations but only saw the pictures as images of the ex-wife with black and blue all that there you see it there. when they emerged this week. what does that tell snu. >> tell you? >> well, that's their claim. as we reported yesterday, the cnn white house team senior administration officials knew in detail about these allegations made bins porter as early as last fall. and we also know that the chief of staff john kelly was aware about the allegations. we don't know specifically what he knew but we know he was aware of these allegations. so they are saying this. so not only were they aware two women said they beat them when they were married, that alone should be something to fire someone. but they tried to issue argument saying he couldn't think of enough nice things to say about him before he saw the photos of
the black eyes. okay the photos of the black eyes were tweeted around roughly 2:00 a.m. from another reporter. it was roughly 12 hours later in the white house issued that first glowing statement from john kelly that he stood by until many hours later and said he was shocked about the allegations made against him. so what we are looking about now is cover up in the white house who knew what when about these allegations because clearly know it was very high up, very high level of people who knew about it in the fall, and they could not have handled this in a worst manner. >> this former staff secretary, rebecca, been dating communications director hope hicks who apparently helped prepare the very positive statements about him. >> so clearly a potential conflict of interest, wolf, that the white house is going to need to address in more detail than they addressed today at the press briefing. but also this question of what did hope hicks know going into this relationship with rob
porter? if there were men in the white house, including chief of staff john kelly who knew about the past and very serious allegations against him, did that information ever get to hope hicks, and if it didn't why didn't it? if i were here lan didn't know, i would be very upset with this coming to light. >> i assume they have to do a full postmortem, shawn, to see were people lying, was he lying, get fbi involved? you lie to fbi in background information, that's a crime. >> it absolutely s and they have to go and look at what happened here. i think there are some members of congress calling for an investigation of the clearance process, and i think that's a good thing to do. i think this absolutely will change the process through which we grant clearances when a new administration is coming into office. we regularly have people who may need access to classified information and the fbi might do an exhibit pea dpi an expedited clearance process. but we sometimes have people have access that they should
not. i want to say with regards to general kelly this is particularly disturbing with regard to general kelly. he's a marin. i'm a marin. i served 21 years in the marine corps. and i think i speak for a lot when we look at this, it's embarrassing. he's a marine first and things about being a marine and i think he's for getting some of those things. and i think he needs to remember that we are all watching and as he behaves in hawaii inconsistent with our values as marines that he should think of making a change. >> yeah. a lot of people are suggesting that. sam, very quickly, the fact that he had had access to all these classified documents, even though he only had temporary interim clearance, that's pretty extraordinary. >> it's really extraordinary and dangerous. because if you are russia or china looking for someone with access to these classified documents that has information manipulated that you don't want
getting out and allegations of domestic abuse are that. >> security team is not going away, guys, thanks very much. that's it for me. thanks for watching. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." erin burnett outfront starts right now. outfront next breaking news, growing questions over what john kelly knew and when. how did top white house aide rob porter keep his job? and hope hicks dated him. and now government shutdown likely in just five hours. let's go outfront. good evening i'm erin burnett outfront tonight aids knew early last fall rob porter was