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AT THIS HOUR
CNN: White House May Replace Secretary of State Tillerson Within Months; Senator McCain Says He Supports GOP Tax Reform Bill; Graham: U.S., North Korea May Be "Headed To A War"; Graham: "The Antidote To Terrorism Is Not Racism"; Pelosi Calls On Representative Conyers To Resign. Aired 11-11:30a ET
Aired November 30, 2017 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan. We begin this hour with what could be a major shakeup coming for the Trump administration. Is the Secretary of State on the way out? Sources are now telling CNN that there is a plan taking shape to push out Rex Tillerson after just 10 months on the job.
Let's get over to the White House right now for the details of what is coming out at this moment. CNN's Abby Phillip is there. Abby, what are you picking up?
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Kate. Well, our government sources are telling us that CIA Director Mike Pompeo is a leading candidate to replace Rex Tillerson, who has had a rocky relationship with the president over the last several months.
This scenario would put him in that role and open up a slot at the CIA. That slot we are also told could be held by Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton, who is a close ally of this White House, has several allies within the administration senior officials and also is close to the president.
We know Tom Cotton is simpatico with President Trump on a number of issues whether it's immigration or national security. We are cautioned that this decision, these decisions are not totally final yet and that the plans for this move could be taking shape over the course of the next few months.
So Tillerson's rift with the president, we know, has burst into the public sphere with reports that he called the president a moron in a private meeting. The White House batted that down.
But sources tell CNN that that relationship continues to deteriorate and a plan is being contemplated to replace him sooner rather than later -- Kate.
BOLDUAN: The fact that a plan of who would be coming in and then filling in the slot afterward is out there, sure says something. And to reiterate, though, there is no deadline, no date, no expectation yet on when this could all come to pass? PHILLIP: There is not. And we also know that for a while now, White House sources have been saying that Rex Tillerson might last about a year. We're close to that mark now. So, it could very well be that we are weeks or months away from a final decision being made.
But you're right the fact that there is a plan being contemplated, names are being put forward, is a significant indication that this is under serious consideration.
BOLDUAN: All right. And we will be seeing President Trump, he will be meeting in his -- sitting down in the oval office with the crown prince of Bahrain this hour. We will see if he will answer questions about this. Cameras will be going in. We'll bring you that as soon as that comes back to us. Abby, thank you so much. I appreciate it.
Let's turn now, though, to some more breaking news, just now on Capitol Hill, the Republican tax overhaul winning a key yes vote just now.
CNN's Suzanne Malveaux is on the hill with the very latest. Suzanne, John McCain has been an undecided, big question mark, but what is he saying?
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's a big wild card and now Kate, you cannot really overstate the significance of this. He is a yes vote now. He just put out a statement from his office saying that the legislation is far from perfect, but that overall it boosts the economy and it gives relief to the middle class.
He goes through his process the way he's thinking about all of this. He was one of the people who was a holdout, certainly not sure. He was the one who killed the health care -- repealing the health care Obamacare bill.
And so what he is saying now, is that he's satisfied with the process and thinks that the corporate tax rate being lowered to 20 percent is very strong, that it will, in fact, boost the economy.
He points to the idea of the child tax credit that is doubling. He also says the repeal of the Obamacare individual mandate is essentially a tax for poor people who cannot afford health care, that this is actually going to help them in the long run.
And finally, Kate, interestingly enough, he does address the deficit hawks who say look at this, this is going to cost $1.5 trillion, what is going to happen to the federal deficit here, the cost of this.
And he essentially says he recognizes their concerns, but it's far from perfect and that overall, he believes the net outcome is going to be good for the economy and this country.
Kate, we just heard about 20 minutes ago from Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who in his words said that they are on the cusp of a great victory, perhaps that is why he was so optimistic about that.
Because we're looking at about 16 hours or so of debate on the Senate floor over this. We'll see various amendments being introduced, impassioned discussions and speeches, but ultimately in the end, McConnell saying that he believes they're going to get the vote and as early as tomorrow -- Kate.
BOLDUAN: Let's see how much this bill changes between now and then. Suzanne, thank you so much. I appreciate it.
All right. Joining me right now to discuss, a key member of the Senate, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, of South Carolina. Senator, thanks for coming in.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Glad to be with you.
BOLDUAN: So, with this news, a lot of news, let's start with this, with John McCain an official yes, are you prepared to say that the votes are there, and this thing is cooked?
GRAHAM: It's almost ready to take out of the oven, yes. We're going to get there. A matter of how we get there. It's not if we get there, how we get there. We will get a pass, pass this tax cut bill this week.
[11:05:12] BOLDUAN: I mean, Ron Johnson has been one of the people on the fence and you've been working with him. You two are now pushing for a change that would increase one of the key things, a credit for pass through entities, the credit be higher, that would get Ron Johnson on board. Do you have any indication the leaders are on board with that, though?
GRAHAM: I don't know. But I know this, C corporations can deduct state and local taxes, individuals can't, and pass through entities cannot, so I want to put the C corporations who get a tax cut from 35 to 20.
That they put in the same boat as everybody else and take that money that would have gone to C corporations in terms of deducting their state and local taxes and helping pass through entities with a higher deduction.
I'm on that amendment with Ron Johnson. I think that's good policy. Whether or not we get it passed today, I think eventually we'll get that done, I hope.
BOLDUAN: Even if it's not part of the bill, though, you're a yes on this?
GRAHAM: I'm a yes, but I'm trying to make the bill as good as possible, and I think taking this away from corporations which nobody else gets, just makes good policy to me.
BOLDUAN: Let me ask you about the other big news that's coming out of the White House out of the administration right now, the fact that they're now contemplating a scenario, a plan in the works, to replace Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with CIA Director Mike Pompeo, and then the leading candidate to replace Mike Pompeo would be your fellow senator, Tom Cotton, over at the CIA. Would you support all those moves?
GRAHAM: If that's what the president wants. I had breakfast yesterday with Secretary Tillerson, great meeting about his effort to reorganize the State Department, a lot of what he's doing has been misrepresented that he needs to push back -- misrepresented that he needs to push back about what he's doing, how he's doing it and why he's doing it, but I don't know.
I don't know the palace intrigue at the White House. If the president wants to change Secretary of State that's his power to do so. Pompeo would be a good pick. Tom Cotton is a very capable man, a national security expert as far as I'm concerned. So, we'll see what happens, but I don't have any knowledge of what you're saying other than reading it in the paper.
BOLDUAN: Absolutely. But when it comes to it, though, has Rex Tillerson done a bad job, Senator?
GRAHAM: I think he hasn't been forceful enough in explaining what he's trying do. What he did is he asked the people in the State Department how can I make your job better. Can we do more with less? Where is duplication, how can we eradicate it, what are the hurdles to getting your job done?
He's asked really good questions of how the State Department operates. He needs to explain to the public what he's doing. There's only 10 people less in the State Department this year than there was last year.
There are a lot of people in London that probably some of them should be out in the field. When you go on a one-year tour, it should probably be two. If you're a linguistic expert, so you can get the most bang for the taxpayer buck. He's doing things that makes sense, but I don't think he's done a very good job of explaining what he's doing.
BOLDUAN: But do you think he should go? Do you think he hasn't explained himself enough that he should be out?
GRAHAM: I have no reason to want to replace Secretary Tillerson. I enjoy working with him. I think he's been loyal to the president. I think he's a smart guy, but that's up to the president of the United States.
The Secretary of State's main job is to give the President of the United States good, sound advice and explain the president to the world. The Secretary of State's job is try to explain the president to the world and, you know, I know he's doing the best he can.
BOLDUAN: Well, and one of those areas where the Secretary of State is so important and key is the area of North Korea and the nuclear threat from North Korea right now.
BOLDUAN: You've offered a pretty dire warning earlier this week that the United States is headed to war if things don't change with North Korea.
BOLDUAN: Senator, what is next here?
GRAHAM: Well, if they continue to test missiles and perfect their missile technology, so it can deliver a nuclear weapon to the United States, they would have crossed a red line that President Trump drew. Whether or not they should have drawn this red line or not he did.
He told the North Koreans and the Chinese I will never allow you to build an ICBM with a nuclear weapon on top to hit America. I'm not going to contain the threat. I will prevent the threat from occurring.
So, this new test puts him closer to being able to hit America with a nuclear weapon. We are headed towards a preemptive war with North Korea if things don't change. China provides almost all of the oil to the North Korean economy.
If China denied oil to North Korean economy tomorrow, in return for their change in behavior, they could get it. So, clearly, China doesn't believe Trump is serious about a military engagement as a last resort.
Clearly, North Korea is not listening to China. Something has to change or we're going to have a conflict to protect the American homeland. If there's going to be a war, it's going to be over there, not here.
BOLDUAN: So, then what could the change be? I mean, do you think it has to be -- it has to be imminent?
GRAHAM: I think the change is to start talking with North Korea. The Chinese share the same goal as President Trump.
[11:10:12] No nuclear weapons in North Korea or South Korea. The Chinese, if they wanted to, could change behavior in North Korea tomorrow. They own their economy. There would be no nuclear North Korea without Chinese help.
So, President Trump is right to look to China to solve this problem, and he's telling the Chinese don't miscalculate where I'm coming from. If I have to pick between homeland security and regional stability, I'm picking the American homeland. You see all these graphs about how the North Korean missile program can reach every city in America --
GRAHAM: -- I want China to have a grasp of what America can do in their backyard to North Korea.
BOLDUAN: How does he show that then?
GRAHAM: I think you'll be seeing pretty soon some escalation of military capability. I think the president and his administration are going to begin to build up American capability to deal with the North Korean threat to our homeland.
We're not trying to spread democracy to North Korea. We're not looking for regime change. We're not trying to unify South Korea and North Korea. We're trying to prevent the North Koreans from hitting America with a nuclear tipped missile.
And if it takes military action to do so, we're going to start preparing for that day and I think you're going to see a ramp up in military capability.
BOLDUAN: And are you on board with a ramp up in military capability over there?
GRAHAM: I am like 100 percent on board with the idea that if it takes military force to protect America from a crazy man having a nuclear weapon that can hit our homeland, so be it. I don't want a war with North Korea, it would be devastating to South Korea, and it would be devastating --
BOLDUAN: And you don't think that ratchets it up?
GRAHAM: I think it makes it real to the Chinese. We're running out of options here. For 25 years, we've been begging the Chinese to help us with North Korea. We've been cutting off food. We've been giving them food. We've been sanctioning them, relieving sanctions, and everything we do doesn't work.
The North Koreans believe in spite of all these sanctions the best bet for them is to get a nuclear weapon and missile to hit America. Donald Trump has said rightly so we're not going to live that way as Americans.
I'm not going to let my country live under the threat of a nuclear attack from North Korea and if I have to go to war to prevent it I will. If the Chinese want to help us, they need to do it quickly, and if there is going to be a war, it's in China's backyard.
BOLDUAN: Do you know what that escalation will look like, though?
GRAHAM: Just stay tuned.
BOLDUAN: I think we all will have to and I think everyone over there is definitely listening now, Senator. Let me -- keep going.
GRAHAM: It's a step forward if they are.
BOLDUAN: Well, we will see. Nothing you're going to announce here at the moment, I assume?
GRAHAM: Good assumption.
BOLDUAN: OK. Thank you, Senator.
Let me move on to something else that is all over the place and has become an international -- something of an international incident.
BOLDUAN: The president pushing out these unverified anti-Muslim videos on Twitter. Yesterday when you were asked about it, you called it particularly inappropriate. Someone else who clearly agrees with you is the British prime minister who today spoke out against President Trump on this very issue. The British prime minister, who is in Jordan, speaking out against this.
BOLDUAN: Is the president doing harm with this?
GRAHAM: Yes. I think it was a very unhelpful decision by the president to embrace a right-wing website in Britain that markets an islamophobia, religious bigotry, and give it credibility.
I will put my zeal to win the war up against anybody including that of President Trump. I have been pretty forward leaning in terms of fighting radical Islam, fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them here, keep the troops we need over there to protect America.
Open up Gitmo, don't close it. Change the rules of engagement, but the one thing I've learned after 42 trips to the region is that the antidote to terrorism is not racism and religious bigotry.
When you embrace religious bigotry, when you say that all Muslims are the same, then you're under cutting our effort to win the war. All of our Muslim allies throughout the world have to be disappointed that President Trump chose to embrace this website.
To the British prime minister, I understand your concerns. I think it was very inappropriate for the president of the United States to retweet these videos because they just breed hatred and contempt.
The way to fight the war against radicals Islam is to side with those in the faith and reject the radical elements of their own faith, not cast the entire faith under the same -- with a broad brush, and I just cannot tell you how big a miscalculation this is.
This is embracing people who are religious bigots. This lady is charged with religious harassment inside of Britain. The parliament member who was killed by a right wing crazy man, he referenced this site.
[11:15:05] The president is trying to inform us all that radical Islam is a threat. I understand that, Mr. President. You're right to want to take on radical Islam, but when you embrace sites like this you're undercutting the war effort and you're putting our allies in Britain in a bad spot.
So, to the British prime minister, I understand your concern, and I think a lot of people in America don't want to go down the road the president is going, and I hope he will not do this in the future.
BOLDUAN: Senator, you've had a lot of meetings, you've had an evolving relationship with this president from the campaign onward. But you've had meetings and played golf with him and a lot of conversations and many of them about foreign policy.
Does he not understand in your view what you just said? Because the White House defending him yesterday said, that basically that this is not a big deal. They downplayed the fact that he put these videos out.
GRAHAM: Well, I respectfully disagree. The president wants to defeat radical Islam. He wants to take the gloves off. I support that. He wants to change the rules of engagement to go after terrorist more aggressively. He had a chance to declare this guy as an enemy combatant and gather intelligence.
I hope he won't make that mistake again. I support the idea of going on the offensive, but after 42 trips to the region the last thing you want to do is make this a war against Islam itself.
I just met with the king of Jordan a couple days ago. There is no better ally when it comes to winning the war on terror than King Abdullah. What he's done by embracing this website he's embracing people who traffic in religious bigotry.
That's -- the antidote to terrorism is not racism and religious bigotry. The antidote to terrorism is going after terrorists in cooperation with those in those faith who reject terrorism.
BOLDUAN: So many people agree with you. Can you then trust the president to project that abroad? Do you trust the president making these decisions then, if this is what he's putting out?
GRAHAM: I think the president has done a good job of changing the rules of engagement. I think we are going to -- against ISIL in a strong way, a good relationship with the Saudi royal family and leaders throughout the Middle East because he's been hard on Iran.
Iran is the cancer of the Middle East, I think this was a miscalculation. I don't doubt what he was trying to do in his own mind was to make the problem radical Islam more real, but embracing this radical website is not helping the cause. It's hurting the cause.
And we have no better ally than our friends in Great Britain. The special relationship is just not a word we use or a term we use. It acts out over time. When we go to war, the Brits go to war. When you put the British leaders in a bad position, you're not helping the cause.
BOLDUAN: So, has that special relationship been damaged with three retweets?
GRAHAM: I don't think it was helped. It is a strong relationship. The president respects our British allies. All I can say is I support the president's decision to get tough on the with war on terror.
I do not support the idea of embracing religious bigotry as an antidote to terrorism and that's what this website is all about. This website markets in hate and religious bigotry. I don't know if the videos are accurate or not.
I can tell you this, the last thing we want to do as Americans is to put our British friends in a bad spot, declare war on the faith itself. We need to be building relationships in the Muslim world, Islamic world, not embracing religious bigotry.
BOLDUAN: There are also reports out in both "The New York Times" and "Washington Post" that the president is now denying in private that it was his voice on that "Access Hollywood" tape from the campaign and also, he is now returning to questioning once again President Obama's birth place. Has he ever talked to you about this?
GRAHAM: No. The point I'm trying to make about the president is that I do enjoy his company. He did a masterful job in the conference yesterday selling this tax cut plan. He's going to do things on immigration that Bush and Obama could never do. He's a dealmaker at heart.
He sees the Iranians for the threat they really are. He is now changing the rules of the game on the military by building it up, not tearing it down. I have a lot in common with the president. But there are times that we disagree.
The tactics we need to adopt in winning the war on terror does not include this website. So, I will continue to work with the president, I will continue to play golf if he would like me to. I want to help him every way I can to defend the country, cut taxes, build up our infrastructure and do something to replace Obamacare.
At the end of the day the only way I can be helpful to the president is to be honest and honestly, Mr. President, embracing this website, was a step backward not forward.
BOLDUAN: This ultraright nationalist group, political group, in Great Britain. Separate from these retweets the fact that there are these multiple reports coming out about what he -- what he is talking about in private again, about the "Access Hollywood" tape.
[11:20:09] And about the debunk conspiracy theory about where President Obama's birth place, the fact that he's going back there right now, in the midst of everything you and I have discussed, does that concern you at this point?
GRAHAM: You know what concerns me about the American press is this endless, endless attempt to label the guy as some kind of cook, not fit to be president. He did win. He beat me and 16 other --
BOLDUAN: I'm not labeling him anything -- but returning --
GRAHAM: I'm being honest with you. Every time you turn on the tv, there are three cable networks on one he can do no wrong, on the other two he's a constant mess and at the end of the day he makes mistakes. I hope I am capable of saying I don't agree with you here but agree with you there. It's pretty frustrating for most Republicans, quite frankly, that this 24/7 attack on everything the president does or thinks gets old after a while.
BOLDUAN: Well, it's not -- believe me, I would argue respectfully, Senator, it's not constant but when these reports come out and the White House is not denying them --
GRAHAM: Well, why don't you ask the president?
BOLDUAN: I would be happy to ask the president.
BOLDUAN: When you're golfing with him next, tell him that Kate has been -- would love to have an interview with him. I would love to. Regardless, thank you for your time, always appreciate it. Thank you, Senator.
GRAHAM: Thanks a bunch. Appreciate it.
BOLDUAN: Thank you so much.
All right. We're going to go from Capitol Hill, thank you, Senator Graham, over to the White House right now. President Trump has been meeting this hour with the crown prince of Bahrain. I think we have the tape in. Let's listen.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Thank you very much. It's my great honor to have the crown prince of Bahrain in the oval office. We're doing a lot of business. They're buying a lot of things. I heard $9 billion is thrown about. That's a very nice trip. We appreciate it.
We've had a long relationship and great relationship and it will only get better. I can tell you they've been, and you have been a great friend and we appreciate it very much and we appreciate you being at the White House.
CROWN PRINCE SALMAN BIN HAMAD AL KHALIFA, BAHRAIN: Thank you, Mr. President.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you.
AL-KHALIFA: It's a great honor to be here. This is a very important trip for us. And, indeed, we are building on 100 years relationship between the kingdom of Bahrain and the United States of America. The peoples of both countries have benefited from this relationship and we continue to seek ways to strength than. Thank you, Mr. President, for honoring me with his meeting.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: It's a great honor, believe. Thank you very much.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Rex Tillerson on the job, Mr. President?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: He's here. Rex is here. Thank you very much, everybody. Thank you. CABRERA: All right. Right there. President Trump sitting with the crown prince of Bahrain was asked about Rex Tillerson at the very end and his -- Rex Tillerson, the Secretary of State, who we've now learned there is a plan in the works contemplating pushing Rex Tillerson out and who would be in his place would be Mike Pompeo, the CIA director.
That's coming from sources within the administration and the president there saying he is here, Rex is here. The president, of course, asking if he would stay in the job.
So, let's talk about that and everything that we've learned. This morning we also have learned as I was discussing with Senator Lindsey Graham, strong words are coming from British Prime Minister Theresa May, slamming President Trump for retweeting anti-Muslim videos from a far-right fringe group in the U.K. Take a listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: The fact that we work together does not mean that we're afraid to say when we think the United States have got it wrong and to be very clear with them and I'm very clear that retweeting from "Britain First" was the wrong thing to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: All right. Joining me now to discuss, Tony Blinken, CNN global affairs analyst, former deputy Secretary of State and deputy national security adviser under President Obama.
Tony, a lot to get to. We have the British prime minister speaking out today. We have what's going on over with Secretary of State, and we have this fascinating conversation I just had with Senator Lindsey Graham. I hope you had a moment, a chance to listen to it.
If we could start -- let's start with what I discussed with Lindsey Graham if I could because I want to get your take. I asked him about North Korea and in it, when I asked him he said I think you will be seeing soon escalation of military capability, a ramp up of military capability and said stay tuned. In the -- with everything that's going on right now what do you think that means?
TONY BLINKEN, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: I'm not sure. Look, I have great respect for Senator Graham. He's a friend. He's been a terrific senator and he was right, very much right on one point that I heard him make, which is that China needs to do more to put meaningful pressure on North Korea to come to the table and negotiate something.
[11:25:05] But I think that, you know, the notion that we would engage in some kind of military attack on North Korea leads us down a very, very dangerous road. The fact of the matter is that --
BOLDUAN: But just a buildup, what would a buildup do if it's not even a pre-empt of anything?
BLINKEN: Look, part of the problem is that because of the president's rhetoric on this over many months, fire and fury, et cetera, the signals that are being sent to North Korea are that we're basically lowering the bar on using military action against them.
And Kim Jong-un is already paranoid that we're out to get him, to take him down, end the regime. He could easily misinterpret some kind of buildup, something innocuous like flying B1 bombers over the peninsula as the start of an effort to take him down and in that case maybe he cashes in his nuclear insurance policy.
This is very, very dangerous stuff. And it's particularly important in this area to I think speak a lot softer, carry a big stick, but speak softer, be deliberate about what you're doing, but don't rile things up. And unfortunately, the president has done just the opposite.
BOLDUAN: We will see. As Lindsey Graham said, stay tuned. We will see exactly what that means and if that is fitting more into the category we're talking about, speak softer, carry a big stick.
On what I just played for you, though, as well, Theresa May, speaking out, in Jordan, against the American president and his retweets, these anti-Muslim videos that were retweeted. Are they a new territory here and now?
BLINKEN: Well, you know, Kate, first you have to work awful hard to pick a fight with your closest ally and the president managed to do that in the space of a few tweets. It makes life so much more complicated for us across the board.
It's going to be harder to get partners and friends in the Arab and Muslim world, united in the fight against extremism. It's going to create divisions in our own Tsociety. Of course, it makes life more complicated for Theresa May by legitimizing this neo-Nazi party in Great Britain.
You know, it would be one thing if the president was going after all extremists of every stripe, some of whom, a small number of whom happened to be Muslim. It's an entirely different thing to do what he's doing which is go after all Muslims, a small number of whom happen to be violent extremists.
So, this is actually playing into the hands of that fringe of the violent extremists. It's actually legitimizing the notion that we're in some kind of war against Islam. It will help recruitment down the road.
It's going to make people here in the United States more fearful, and unfortunately, what we're seeing is a normalization of incitement and bigotry. Just as he unfortunately has normalized not telling the truth on a regular basis, now he's normalizing incitement and again, that's a very dark place to go.
BOLDUAN: Well, with regard to the video, that is one area you and Lindsey Graham are absolutely in lockstep with.
BLINKEN: Senator Graham is incredibly eloquent and right on the money on that.
BOLDUAN: There is also this reporting coming out that we have from our White House team that there is a plan in the works, the White House is contemplating a plan, that would push out Rex Tillerson, the Secretary of State, and in his place, would be the CIA Director Mike Pompeo and in his place at the CIA could possibly be Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas. What do you think of this?
BLINKEN: You know, Secretary Tillerson has been a real paradox because on the one hand, on substantive issues from where I sit, he's taken good and I think moderate positions. He's tried, for example, to convince the president to stick with the Transpacific Partnership, Paris Climate Accord, Iran nuclear deal, to continue to take a tough line on Putin and Ukraine, across the board he's taken sensible positions.
He hasn't been effective, the president isn't listening to him, but he's trying to do the right thing. On the other hand, internally, unfortunately, he has gutted the State Department. And we've seen a lot of reporting on this in recent days, but freezing hiring, going along with a 30 percent cut to the State Department budget, encouraging senior foreign service officers to leave and they're leaving in droves.
That's going to have an impact not just today, but in five or ten years when these people normally would be in the most senior positions. So, the hard truth is, he's likely to go down when he does leave, as one of the most consequential secretaries in recent memory but for all the wrong reasons.
BOLDUAN: Well, we will again -- the plan is in the works. Donald Trump saying just now he's here, Rex is here, in terms of being asked about this whole thing, no word yet on exactly when the plan, if this plan is put in place, when it will happen. Tony, thank you so much for coming in. I appreciate the time.
BLINKEN: Thanks, Kate.
All right. We are following more breaking news and heading back to Capitol Hill for this. House minority leader, the top Democrat in the House, Nancy Pelosi, is now calling on long-time Democratic Congressman John Conyers to resign over the sexual harassment allegations against him. This has been an evolution we should say.
Let's go to CNN's M.J. Lee on Capitol Hill with more. M.J., what changed?
M.J. LEE, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER: Kate, this is definitely big news coming out of the House just a few minutes ago. Nancy Pelosi officially calling on Congressman John Conyers to resign.