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Budget Deal Reached; President Trump Continues Attacks on Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN); Boris Johnson to Become Next British Prime Minister Tomorrow. Aired 10:30-11a ET
Aired July 23, 2019 - 10:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And acting OMB Director Russell Vought were very, very sharply critical of this deal throughout the course of the last couple of months. They were pushing hard for significant cuts to domestic spending. They wanted to bolster defense spending, but they did not want the domestic cuts to go along with -- domestic spending to go along with it.
The reality is, when Democrats control the House and you need 60 votes in the Senate and you only control 53 seats, you need Democrats and Democratic priorities are that domestic spending.
I think the big issue now -- even though the president announced the deal, the president, I'm told, supports the deal. Mitch McConnell, just a short while ago, Senate majority leader, said on the floor, the president supports it and so does he -- is whether or not that conservative pressure.
Take a look at what one congressman tweeted out yesterday. He just said, "Budget deal." And then look at the gif that went along with it. Do you see that?
POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: Yes, yes.
MATTINGLY: That's Mark Walker burning money. And that's where conservatives still sit. Now, it's easy to do that when you're in the minority in the House. You're not responsible for giving the 218 votes to get this passed.
But conservatives -- and Mick Mulvaney and Russ Vought are among them -- are uncomfortable with this deal. However, in order to get the defense spending and (INAUDIBLE) debt ceiling off their plate, this was the path.
JIM SCIUTTO, CONN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: Yes. And are they willing to vote against the president --
SCIUTTO: -- if they -- if the president does go through and support it.
Jackie, let's talk about the politics here. There's not suddenly a kumbaya moment between Republicans and Democrats to sign a bipartisan deal. They must both be making an individual calculation, this is in their political interest here.
And the fact that it's two years, both Democrats and Republicans don't want this to be an issue during a presidential election year. Is that right?
JACKIE KUCINICH, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, THE DAILY BEAST: Well, right.
SCIUTTO: They don't want to be hanging over the precipice of a debt default.
KUCINICH: The president doesn't want the legislative drama, going into 2020. He wants Republicans to at least appear united. And Nancy Pelosi is in the same boat. She doesn't want to be dealing with things like the debt ceiling, going into the 2020 elections.
But, listen, I think it's only over until they -- until the bill is signed. Because we've seen the president reverse himself. And the vote isn't until Thursday. So there is -- there is time for conservatives to get to the president. You haven't seen that upswell yet.
But they've done this in the past, where he -- there's been so much negative attention at something that the president initially was like, "Yes, sounds great," and that he's reversed course. So we'll have -- all -- everything indicates right now, that he's going to sign it. But we don't know because of how this president governs.
HARLOW: And who's the biggest purchaser of our debt?
KUCINICH: China. Yes.
HARLOW: China, right? So this all brings that back to the fore as well, this president who says, you know, "I'm so tough on this," et cetera, et cetera. You do this, you make this country more and more vulnerable.
KUCINICH: Well, right, but he's not going to be talking about that. He's also --
HARLOW: Of course.
KUCINICH: -- he also says, "I love debt." Yes. So -- but this does go -- so when Republicans lost the majority the last time, it was in part for lots of reasons. But they were at a point where they were spending a lot of money, and there was no -- the fiscal conservatism that Mick Mulvaney and his class ushered in, now seems to have gone by the wayside. It's all fun and games until you're in the White House.
SCIUTTO: I mean, it's easy -- listen, frankly, it's easy for both parties to spend a lot of money without being held to account. Now, offsets are the hard thing to do, right? Because that means you have to take something away from each other. It's easy -- basically, both of them are being told, "All the money you want to spend --
HARLOW: But, yes -- SCIUTTO: -- "on your priorities, it's fine."
HARLOW: It's interesting. On the same day that they just did something, they went pretty under the radar. But that is, try to change the regulations for SNAP, for those that can get food stamps --
HARLOW: -- to try to cut spending as well.
KUCINICH: I mean, the Republicans have been trying to cut those programs for, you know, as long as I can remember --
HARLOW: All right.
KUCINICH: -- but right now, because they don't control the House, they're not going to get --
KUCINICH: -- what they want.
SCIUTTO: Jackie Kucinich, Phil Mattingly on the Hill, thanks very much.
[10:33:30] President Trump claims that he is going to win Minnesota now in 2020, because of the back-and-forth with Congressman -- Congresswoman Ilhan Omar. How likely is that, really? Is it really in play? We'll discuss.
SCIUTTO: It hasn't stopped. President Trump is going after Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, once again, in what appears now to be a new, broader re-election strategy. Trump tweeted that he will win Minnesota in 2020 because of, quote, "America hating anti-Semite Representative Omar," calling the Squad a, quote, "nightmare for America."
TEXT: Donald J. Trump: In 2016 I almost won Minnesota. In 2020, because of America hating anti-Semite Rep. Omar, & the fact that Minnesota is having its best economic year ever, I will win the State! "We are going to be a nightmare to the President," she say. No, AOC Plus 3 are a Nightmare for America!
SCIUTTO: Just a few minutes ago, Congresswoman Omar said she would not let the president's continuous attacks go unchallenged.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ILHAN OMAR (D-MN): It's not that I'm going to allow it to distract me, but I'm interested in unmasking it and taking it to task. Because if we don't fully confront it and push people, we're going to be stuck here for another generation or two. (END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: Omar, there. As Trump noted in his tweet, he did not win Minnesota in 2016. Let's discuss now with the former governor of Ohio, John Kasich.
Governor, always good to have you on our broadcast.
JOHN KASICH, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Thanks, Jim. Thank you.
SCIUTTO: So let's talk big picture here. Because there a reason, an obvious one, that the president is doubling, tripling, quadrupling down on these attacks on Omar and the Squad. He sees political benefit here, not just in the state of Minnesota, as he tweeted today, but nationally.
And I wonder if you think -- let's set aside whether it's right, because I know you disagree with these attacks very firmly. Politically though, do you see it as benefiting the president in 2020?
KASICH: Jim, any time there is a tactic that's designed to damage somebody or divide, I don't care how successful it is. It has to be rejected. So I just don't buy that. I think the best politics is the best policy. The best politics is a policy of unification.
[10:40:01] What he's trying to do, though, I mean, to comment on it, is to say that you know, that Democratic Party is this far-left party. And so what he does is, if he can damage the other side, it kind of helps him.
I reject it. I mean, I would just reject it out of hand. And I don't think at the end, it will work. The question is, will the Democrats become the face of, you know, "We're for socialism," or "we're for Medicare for all, we'll destroy private insurance, we'll have a wealth tax." Because if the Democrats pick somebody who's far left, then people are going to say, "You know what? I think I'll just stay with him because I'm uncomfortable, moving this country hard-left."
That's what I think the issue is. And the question is, can they separate themselves from those who are far-left. And you know what, media doesn't help. They're focused on these people --
KASICH: -- they get eyeballs. You know? But they're not the -- they're not who the Democratic Party is.
SCIUTTO: I hear you. And I hear that concern, and I've heard that concern from Democratic lawmakers as well, that we can't allow ourselves to be so caricatured. But let's be frank. There was a Republican Party presidential candidate just a couple of years ago named Donald Trump who went far-right, hardline on a whole host of issues and won, right?
I just -- KASICH: Yes.
SCIUTTO: -- wonder, in this environment, is it so politically divided, right? You know, that folks are just getting driven into their own corners.
KASICH: Well, I think there is no question that we're seeing this tribalism. But at the same time, when you think back, I was -- I mean, the fact is, is that people really didn't like Hillary Clinton. It's just amazing. They liked her husband, but they didn't like her and they did not like Barack Obama.
And so those things worked against the Democrats. And remember, though, they did win the popular vote, although they lost the electoral college, which really matters because you don't want to have these massive wins in a country like California, just kidding. And then, you know, the rest of the states don't matter.
So I believe in the electoral college. But, you know, the politics of division -- the question is, Jim, when you look at the '18 midterm elections, the president lost suburban women, college-educated --
KASICH: -- people. Can he rev up enough of the base to offset all those people he's going to lose? I don't think so at this point. We'll see.
SCIUTTO: And it's a good point because Trump tried the wall strategy, the anti-caravan strategy in 2018. And that failed him, failed Republican candidates in a lot of those key districts. It's a good point.
I want to ask you about tomorrow. Of course, Robert Mueller --
KASICH: But if the Democrats -- but, Jim, if the Democrats go hard- left, then he's going to be able to point to them and say, "I mean, this is taking the country in the wrong direction." And that's what gives him a chance --
KASICH: -- that's why he's doing this.
SCIUTTO: No, I hear you. Fair point. Because in a lot of those swing districts, it was more moderate Democratic candidates that ended up taking the day.
SCIUTTO: Mueller's on the Hill tomorrow. I know that you do not support impeachment. You don't think that that's warranted at this point. Is there something that the special counsel could say tomorrow in clear terms, that would change your mind as to whether this president has met the standard of high crimes and misdemeanors?
KASICH: Well, it's not my mind, Jim, it's the public. The public, I think, basically, is saying, "Move on." Now, I don't know Mr. Mueller but I think he's a pretty straightforward taciturn guy. And I don't think he's going to waver much from what he wrote in his report. I think that's where it's going to be.
The danger are Democrats believing that they can beat Donald Trump on this issue. I don't believe it. I don't think that's what's going to happen. The country doesn't support impeachment. I don't think Mueller's going to change his position. We'll have to wait and see. But at the end, you're not going to win on that issue.
And I don't think Trump's going to win by being extreme. I mean, it's a combination of things here. But I just don't see that Mueller's going to change anything. But that's why, I guess, you play the game or play the ball game, I should say.
SCIUTTO: Yes. Do his -- do his spoken words make more difference than a wordy publication?
Final question, if I can ask you this. Because this moment struck me. I know that there are a lot of moments that strike all of us every day. But we have the sitting U.S. president, sitting in the Oval Office yesterday, speaking lightly about, it seems, nuking a country, wiping out 10 million people, a figure that he repeated twice, in Afghanistan as a way to win the war quickly. He said, "Well, I'm not going to do that."
You've served in government. What's the meaning of that? What's the impact of that, when a U.S. president speaks so lightly about killing so many people, supposedly as just one option of many?
KASICH: It's astounding to me, you know? I mean, what it should do is to give the members of Congress a great degree of independence.
You know, I talked to a pollster yesterday. And I said, "The culture of silence among Republicans, is it because they don't think they can win election if they stand up against him? And by the way -- by the way, if they stand up against him, can they win?" he said, "Absolutely."
And give kudos to a guy like Fred Upton from Michigan, who stood up and voted for that resolution. I mean, these comments are -- they're inane, is what they really are. I don't know what they even reflect.
[10:45:07] And by the way, Jim, one other final point. They're about ready to reach an agreement on a budget that's going to affect your kids for their lifetime.
KASICH: It's like debt is rising, I'm going to just call the warning now like Paul Revere, like I did years ago. This debt crisis is going to -- is going to find America in a difficult situation. And nobody down there seems to care about the red ink. And it is a tragedy. HARLOW: Yes.
SCIUTTO: A tax on your children.
SCIUTTO: It's a tax on your kids. Go --
HARLOW: He's totally right, yes.
SCIUTTO: Governor John Kasich, always good to have you on the program.
KASICH: Always good to be with you guys. Thank you.
HARLOW: We just need his horse, you know, to be -- probably needs to take a horse down there --
HARLOW: -- and warn them all.
All right. So a changing of the guard in Britain. Boris Johnson is set to become the country's next prime minister, effective tomorrow. He has promised to deliver on Brexit. How is he going to do what his predecessor could not?
[10:50:56] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BORIS JOHNSON, ___: We are going to energize the country. We're going to get Brexit done on October the 31st. We're going to take advantage of all the opportunities that it will bring in a new spirit of can-do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: Be prepared for that machine gun fire rhetoric. That is the new U.K. prime minister. This morning, Boris Johnson, new leader of Britain's Conservative Party. That means he will become the U.K.'s next prime minister. But Johnson's grip on power will be challenged almost immediately.
HARLOW: That's right. Several cabinet members plan to resign the moment that outgoing prime minister, Theresa May, steps down tomorrow. Johnson's also facing this big Brexit deadline. He says -- promises, you just heard it there -- it will happen by October 31st, deal or no deal.
Nic Robertson joins us from Downing Street.
His rise to power comes at a critical time for Britain. And by the way, he's not taking off the table the very likely possibility that the U.K. just crashes out of the European Union. NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: He's almost
making it part of what's on the table. It's certainly the impression he's creating with the European Union as part of a negotiating tactic. Didn't really work terribly well for Theresa May, not that she applied it in the way that he says he intends to apply it.
But, yes, he arrives with all this can-do. That's what he said. But already it's no-can-do from the leader of the opposition, that says essentially, you know, putting to a vote the leadership of the country to 130,000 people in the country is not representative. There should be a general election.
The E.U., saying no-can-do on changing up the Brexit deal that Theresa May got. That stays the same. He might be able to negotiate slightly differently, the political arrangements, going forward.
You know, Boris Johnson does seem to have President Trump in his corner, does seem to have the Australian prime minister in his corner. But when you listen to the voices outside of the U.K., particular Iran as well, it really is the pressure applied from the get-go, everything that Boris Johnson aspires to with this energy, vitalism, the parameters are closing in on him, shutting down the options.
SCIUTTO: No question. So let's test that relationship with Trump. Because Boris Johnson has not always had the nicest words for the U.S. president, what has he said in the past?
ROBERTSON: Well, if you go back a few years to when he was mayor of London and President Trump was alluding to the fact that there were no-go areas in London, Boris Johnson criticized him for that.
He criticized President Trump just in the past couple of weeks, for President Trump's comments about those four Democratic congresswomen. Boris Johnson called those words, "racist." And said that they were wrong and that it was essentially backwards-looking.
So there are differences. But you know what, Boris Johnson has really been a big proponent of President Trump, has been close to him, has met with him in the past. And even, you know, speaking to sources in the Foreign Ministry here, they've said there are times when they explain to Boris Johnson, "You don't need to explain what President Trump is doing. Let him do that."
So you know, he -- there is a keenness to -- probably, to pursue that relationship.
HARLOW: It's going to be fascinating to watch. I mean, someone who called the president "unfit" to be president, three years ago, is now leading, you know, our greatest ally.
Nick Robertson outside 10 Downing Street, thank you very much.
[10:54:20] SCIUTTO: Last-minute mock hearings, a small group prep session. Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller and lawmakers, they're going to be on the Hill, of course. They're busy today, hours before tomorrow's high-stakes hearings. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
SCIUTTO: This is the FBI director, Christopher Wray. He is speaking before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill.
HARLOW: Wray faced questions about Russian interference in the 2016 election. He says Russia's still trying to interfere in the election, despite many efforts to deter them. Listen to what he just said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTOPHER WRAY, DIRECTOR, FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATIONS: The Russians are absolutely intent on trying to interfere with out elections through foreign influence in particular
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): Is it fair to say that everything we've done against Russia has not deterred them enough? All the sanctions, all the talk, they're still at it?
WRAY: Well, my view is until they stop, they haven't been deterred enough.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: Well, that's saying a lot.
SCIUTTO: Listen, folks are still debating whether they interfered in 2016 and how many million times can you hear --
SCIUTTO: -- intelligence officials say it's still happening. But that's where we are.
HARLOW: And the president's own appointee, right?
OK. Well, thank you all for joining us today. It's good to be with you from D.C. I'm Poppy Harlow.
[10:59:57] SCIUTTO: And I'm Jim Sciutto. "AT THIS HOUR" starts right now.