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INSIDE POLITICS

Donald Trump Swipes at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Mitt Romney at National Prayer Breakfast; Donald Trump Calls Opponents "Enemies" At National Prayer Breakfast; Any Moment: Donald Trump Speaks On Impeachment Acquittal; Donald Trump Responds To His Impeachment Acquittal; Donald Trump Speaks After Impeachment Acquittal. Aired 12- 12:30p ET

Aired February 6, 2020 - 12:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[12:00:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: --to call it reaction to his acquittal after the impeachment trial in the Senate. Thank you all so much for joining us. "Inside Politics" with John King starts right now.

JOHN KING, CNN HOST, INSIDE POLITICS: Thank you, Kate, and welcome to "Inside Politics." I'm John King to our viewers in the United States and around the world, thank you for sharing this news busy day with us. A peak here at the East Room of the White House any moment now the President of the United States will offer his thoughts on his impeachment trial acquittal. Already this morning, a preview, proof the President's emotions are raw and that this is personal.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We have allies, we have enemies sometimes the allies are enemies but we just don't know it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: The setting for that the Annual National Prayer Breakfast that's a bipartisan Washington event. The headlines says it will focus on faith and healing, but the President came to punch, not to reflect, lashing out at the Democratic Speaker of the House, who was seated nearby, and at the one Republican Senator who voted to convict the Presidency as a about betrayal.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I don't like people who use their faith as justification for doing what they know is wrong nor do I like people who say, I pray for you, when they know that that's not so.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Speaker Pelosi just moments ago responding. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): I don't know if the President understands about prayer or people who pray, but we do pray for the United States of America, I pray for him, I pray hard for him because he's so off the track of our constitution, our values and our country. He really needs our prayers. So he can say whatever he wants. He can say whatever he wants, but I do pray for him and I do so sincerely. He's talking about things that he knows little about, faith and prayer.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Let's get straight to the White House and CNN's Kaitlan Collins. Kaitlan, the scorn from the Speaker there and then the crowd in that room House members who support the President political operatives who support the President you're at an inside an official White House event but that's a political pep rally.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it certainly is, and John, all you have to do is look at how the President spoke at the prayer breakfast this morning, Normally an event that's largely really muted, and you could already tell how a grieve to President was.

So essentially officials have been saying you can expect that on steroids at this event here today because in the President's eyes he feels like he's been restrained over these last several days, he hasn't spoken out publicly, and now this is his time to come out here in a room full of his cabinet members, his friends, and essentially try to take a victory lap.

Now of course the President has portrayed himself as a victim throughout all this. He has not heeded those comments from Republicans saying that he acted inappropriately and that it was wrong to want to ask those investigations into the Bidens from the Ukrainian officials.

But the other thing that is also you are treating the President today is the fact that his headline of him being acquitted by the Senate yesterday is now being distracted by Mitt Romney's vote, of course, to convict the President on that first article of impeachment a Republican breaking with the party and voting to remove his President a President from his own party from office.

The President has been incredibly irritated about that. You've got a sense of it during that prayer breakfast this morning and we're essentially being told to expect more of that, John. The big question is going to be does the President take questions from reporters at the very end?

Because he's inflated, he has got rows and rows of staffers and his friends, reporters here in the back. We'll waiting to see if he wants to continue to speak more about this and take our questions.

KING: Kaitlan Collins live at the White House, we will keep in touch. We expect the President any moment. With me in studio to share their reporting and their insights CNN's Nia-Malika Henderson CNN's Phil Mattingly CNN's John Harwood and POLITICO's Laura Barron-Lopez. John, I want to start with you. You're spending time at the White

House in recent days. The President wants to view this as a vindication, and yet you can hear in his words he also has a vindicate streak right now an enemies list.

JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Exactly and the President just like at the State of the Union speech, when he was coming out and was talking about great things happening in America, there was an edge of anger because he had been impeached. Here the anger comes from the fact of the impeachment that Nancy Pelosi did, but also Mitt Romney's decision.

And so the President is showing us who he is. He is somebody who thinks not in terms of right or wrong, not in terms of true or false, not in terms of the values the faith teaches, he's somebody who thinks in, does this help me or hurt me in the moment, and he is both vindicated but also stung by what's happened.

KING: Also stung. And as we wait for the President, Phil, it was a dysfunctional relationship, anyway. But if you need any proof, it have divided the Democrats from the President have divided the Speaker of the House was from the President, the most powerful people in Washington you could argue.

She could certainly the most powerful person of the Democratic Party. She ripped up his speech. He would not shake her hand. She was asked this morning, she was scornful in her tone about the President almost dripping.

At one point saying after ripping up his speech, after being so mad would you invite him back next year if he wins reelection? Nancy Pelosi making it clear she hopes that doesn't happen.

[12:05:00]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Give you pause and would you like another, but would you invites him back for the State of the Union given what you're describing?

PELOSI: Well, next year we will have a new President of the United States. That is an absolute imperative for our country, for our constitution, for the land that we love from sea to shining sea which he degrades almost every day.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: We don't know what's going to happen in the election, but just the idea that she's just adamant now and dripping in her scorn for him.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, she said something during that press conference that maybe other people missed given some of the acidity of on her remarks. But it is something she told her Caucus behind closed doors I'm told yesterday which were as she feels liberated now.

She feels like she over the course of the last couple of years has given the President the respect that he deserves, and the respect that the office deserves, that she has given him every opportunity to come across the aisle and work on things that they may agree on.

And now she feels liberated, she feels like she gave him that opportunity, he didn't do anything with that opportunity, and based on what transpired over the last couple weeks, she's basically over it. And I think you're going to see what she was trying to tell her Caucus and I think what you saw very clearly today is that, she's in a different place.

She doesn't still like that is necessary anymore. Still respects the office, but the man, especially, she's in a different place with. And I think if you're going to see more of the tone and tenor of what you saw in that press conference from here on out than what you've seen perhaps over the last couple of years where she's repeatedly said you know she prays for the President.

She wants the office to succeed she wants the country to succeed. She is now very personally aggrieved by what's occurred over the course of the last several weeks and she is in a different place.

KING: And as we wait for him to walk in that room. I'm sorry we wait for him to walk in that room though. She says there will be a new President next year. If you look at the recent metrics, the President's actually in a term we don't know how long it's going to last has gone up during impeachment.

If you look at the electoral map I was looking NBC, Wall Street Journal the day and the other day and going state by state the President is in the strongest position he has been in perhaps in his entire Presidency, but certainly in months. If you're looking at a map today, it is plausible, viable, you can get a Trump reelection strategy and he is about to show one of the great advantages he has.

The Democrats are divided fighting through the nomination. He has a united party with the exception of Senator Romney. A lot of them are in that room right and he has the White House the power of the Rose Garden strategy, the power of this platform any incumbent that's a great weapon.

LAURA BARRON-LOPEZ, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, POLITICO: And add on to the fact that this start for the Democrats in Iowa did not go as smoothly as they had hoped and so still days after Iowa - right not as quite as in that - so days after Iowa that is still in the news that is something that is still being discussed.

We don't even have the full 100 percent results yet from Iowa as Democrats head into New Hampshire. But back to what Phil said about Pelosi, I think impeachment was the ruby corn for her, it was the crossing of it. Now that she has done that she does feel as though there is no reason for her to try to keep up any kind of relationship with Trump unless they do want to pass anything, which realistically, it doesn't seem possible as he enters this year ahead of the election. But she also - they haven't spoken for about, I think, a little bit

more than a month, and what we saw at the State of the Union was their first interaction with each other after I think she was in the room with him pointing at him that photo that went viral. It was really stunning to see the degradation of this reels relationship from the beginning of his Presidency all the way until now.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: And you saw in that State of the Union, his road map for reelection, the groups he thinks he needs to hang onto, of course the base talking about all the issues that while up the base and keep the base committed to him like the wall on the southern border, and then reaching out, right?

All the people that he was talking about, African-Americans for instance, school choice, HBCU some of the folks in the gallery reaching out to I think suburban white women, the trillions trees initiative. Who thought this was a President who cared about those kinds of things, but he's knows that he is got this weakness with those folks who had been traditionally are Republicans but also have issues with the Presidents seeming intolerant of other groups in his approach to the office his undignified manner, in some ways.

So I think yes, I think Democrats some of them didn't want to go to that State of the Union some of them walked out during the State of the Union. We obviously saw Nancy Pelosi's very mean worthy reaction to it, ripping up that the State of the Union in the most elegant way I've seen anyone rip up anything.

And so yes, but she obviously doesn't want to hide her feelings at this point in terms of how she feels about this President?

KING: She called that his state of the mind address, not a State of the Union Address, and she said she was ripping it up because she wanted a signal to the American people to let them know that it was full of mistruths.

Their personal divide though is the country's divide. It is the country's divide and again the advantage the incumbent Republican President has, sure, he's likely to lose the popular vote again. But he has a map strategy that viable for reelection.

He has this platform John of the White House that any incumbent President would have. He has economic numbers to envy. My question is should or was there anyone who can get him to try maybe he needs to get it out of his system today is this going to be from now to election day, anger?

[12:10:00]

Raw anger or is it going to be you know what I'm going to try to dial it back even if I don't want to because in his political interest that might be the better approach?

HARWOOD: I don't think he can control himself. When you think about Trump, everyone else here was a toddler mean worthy wasn't even a word. But in 1999 when Bill Clinton got acquitted, he came out to the Rose Garden, he apologized to the country for what he had done wrong, what he had put the country through, and to Congress for putting them, a Republican-controlled Congress, for putting them through impeachment.

That is not in Donald Trump. What we heard at the prayer breakfast today was him saying he was the victim, they put me through something. He is not going to acknowledge it. It is possible that some how he can mute some of it, but all the evidence we have with Donald Trump suggests he will not be able to.

KING: And all of the evidence we have and who he invited to this event is well. These are his most local supporters, these are the people who wanted him to fight, these are the people who told it a punch. We wait for the President of United States this will be in the White House.

What he wants to deliver a post-impeachment trial statement. We'll hear from the President of United States in just a few moments. Please stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[12:15:00]

KING: The East Room of the White House here, we're waiting for the President of the United States, Donald Trump, to come into that room and make remarks. His cabinet is there his senior White House staff is there. Members of Congress who support him are there. The Attorney General of the United States you see right there, Bill Barr.

The President to come into this room it's a bit of a pep rally. This is this is an official White House event but this is sort of a political pep rally the president to deliver his remarks on what he considers a vindication. The Senate voted yesterday to acquit him on the two impeachment counts one abuse of power, one obstruction of Congress.

The President feels vindicated, he celebrating to a degree where we also heard earlier this morning at a prayer breakfast and we hear from his top aides. He is also white hot at the Democrats who impeached him and at one Republican Senator, Mitt Romney, who voted to convict him.

You see that is the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell they're just double checking on the screen in the room as well. So John Howard, President with his friends, he has some thanks you to Mitch McConnell and others where getting through this process, and then he's looking ahead to an election and using this platform to air his grievances' and keep his base.

HARWOOD: Right he's trying to keep his base, but as Nia indicated in the previous segment he's also doing a little bit of narrow casting to some groups to trying peel off a couple of percentage points of votes from African-Americans, from millennials, from working class women.

And you've got messages about HBCUs you got messages about black unemployment, that sort of things. So it is a mix of both. There is only so much blood you can squeeze out of the stone of that base. It is a shrinking base. He has got to add to it, he can't go backwards. He had three states to tip the balance that he won by you know a few thousand votes in each case and he has got to try to hold that.

KING: And it is - who wait for the President as to what we don't know is how does the country process this? We know the Trump base is with him. We know the Democratic base wanted him impeached. We don't know if the Democratic base will be motivated by the fact that he was not convicted in turn out. The turnout in Iowa was the first contest, just one contest.

But the turnout in Iowa was not as high as Democrats anticipated. Is that because Democrats are just undecided among their many candidates are they somehow turned off by any of this? We don't know.

HARWOOD: Great question.

KING: Yes, we'll see it - just some headlines from around the country in important places. "The Columbus Dispatch", Phil Mattingly's favorite newspaper "Trump not guilty." The picture there Mitch McConnell giving thumbs up "Orlando Sentinel" Florida big swing state acquitted. "The Reno Gazette Journal" in Nevada, "Resilient President" that is a very good headline. He is a very resilient President.

"The Salt Lake Tribune" "Trump stays" and of course the big story in Salt Lake in Utah, "Mitt Romney the one Republican to stand up and defy the President" and the President of United States mocking him this morning. Senator Romney stood on the floor and said he took an oath to God. And his oath his religion is the most important thing in his life he said in his oath required him to convict and a President mocking him.

HENDERSON: Yes, listen and the President had to watch that all day yesterday because it was such a big moment I think a surprise for a lot of people. The President likely thought that he had all of those Republicans on board. That is part of his strength. The idea that he's been able to keep all of these Republicans on board I think his approval rating according to Gallup Poll with Republicans was 94 percent.

So the fact that he had to sit at home and watch television, cable news, we know he loves to do that, and see Mitt Romney giving that very powerful and passionate speech centered on his faith. We all know that Mitt Romney is a deeply devout Mormon and he spoke very powerfully about his place in history and wanting to do the right thing by his God as well as his family.

KING: And Senate Republicans have been saying Mitt Romney's is part of our family we're going to move on. We don't plan on retaliating. The President and his allies have a different prospective.

MATTINGLY: Yes, Donald Trump Junior's tweets and you had a pretty good idea of work the President and his allies are. But I think Mitch McConnell has made clear and someone is at the - file the Republican conference that they're going to need Mitt Romney's vote at some point and therefore they're going to reject him or kick him out of the conference or any other absurd idea-- KING: Applause in the White House. This is the President's legal team. His White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, Jay Sekulow, Mr. Philbin there Pam Bondi, Jane Raskin and other members of the President's legal defense team tells you everything you need to know about the politics of the moment as we move on, the legal team being applauded as they walk into the East Room.

We expect the President of the United States to soon follow and they get a front row seat, the president's legal team, for this statement.

HARWOOD: John, I was going to say even though Senate Republicans are going to move on, they're not going to have retribution on Mitt Romney, they weren't happy about what he did yesterday. The White House legal team was not happy about what he did yesterday, and the reason is that he exposed the tortured rationalizations that they have used. Remember they have started by saying when the - came out - well, we got the President.

KING: So it is the President of the United States. Here we go.

[12:20:00]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States.

TRUMP: Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: Thank you very much, everybody. We've all been through a lot together, and we probably deserve that hand for all of us because it's been a very unfair situation. I invited some of our very good friends, and we have limited room, but everybody wanted to come. We kept it down to a minimum, and believe it or not, this is a minimum.

But a tremendous thing was done over the last number of months, but really, if you go back to it, over the last number of years. We had the witch hunt. It started from the day we came down the elevator myself and our future First Lady, who is with us right now. Thank you, Melania.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: And it never really stopped. We've been going through this now for over three years. It was evil, it was corrupt, it was dirty cops, it was leakers and liars, and this should never, ever happen to another President, ever.

I don't know that other Presidents would have been able to take it. Some people said, no, they wouldn't have. But I can tell you, at a minimum, you have to focus on this because it can get away very quickly no matter who you have with you. It can get away very quickly.

It was a disgrace. Had I not fired James Comey, who was a disaster, by the way, it's possible I wouldn't even be standing here right now. We caught him in the act. Dirty cops bad people. If this happened to President Obama, a lot of people would have been in jail for a long time already many, many years.

I want to start by thanking some of and I call them friends because, you know, you develop friendships and relationships when you're in battle and war much more so than gee let's have a normal situation. With all that we've gone through more than any President or administration, and really, I say for the most part, Republican Congressmen, Congresswomen and Republican Senators, we've done more than any administration in the first few years.

You look at all of the things we've done. I watched this morning as they tried to take credit for the stock market from - think of that let me tell you, if we didn't win, the stock market would have crashed. The market was going up a lot before the election because it looked like we had a good chance to win.

And then it went up tremendously from the time we won the election until the time we took office, which was November 8th to January 20th, and that's all our credit. and leading up to that point was our credit because there was hope, and one of the reasons the stock market has gone up so much in the last few days is people think we're doing so well, they liked the State of the Union Speech.

(APPLAUSE)

[12:25:00]

TRUMP: It really is, it's a true honor given, and making the State of the Union speech, I was with some people that have been around they've been all over the world. And one of them said a highly sophisticated person said, you know, no matter where you go in the world, it doesn't make any difference.

There was nothing like what I witnessed tonight, the beauty, the majesty of the Chamber, the power of the United States, the power of the people in this room. Really an amazing and I don't there is anything like that anywhere in the world. You can go to any other country you can go to any other location, any other place. It's the beauty of everything. It's what it represents and how it represents our country.

I want to start by introducing some of the people that are here. I know some are going to be left out, but they worked so hard. And this is really not a news conference, it's not a speech, it's not anything, it's just we're sort of - it's a celebration because we have something that just worked out. It worked out.

We went through hell unfairly. Did nothing wrong. Did nothing wrong. I've done things wrong in my life, I will admit not purposely, but I've done things wrong. But this is what the end result is.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: We can take that home, honey, maybe we'll frame it. It's the only good headline I've ever had in "The Washington Post." Every paper is the same, does anybody have those papers, does anybody have them, because they're really like that so I appreciate that.

But some of the people here have been incredible warriors, they're warriors. And there's nothing from a legal standpoint. This is a political thing, and every time I say this is unfair, let's go to court, they say, sir, you can't go to court, this is politics.

And we were treated unbelievably unfairly, and you have to understand we first went through Russia, Russia and Russia. It was all bullshit. We then went through the Mueller report, and they should have come back one day later. They didn't, they came back two years later after lives were ruined, after people went bankrupt, after people lost all their money.

People came to Washington to help other people. Bright-eyed and bushy- tailed, I'd say. They came, one or two or three people in particular, but many people. We had a rough campaign. It was nasty. It was one of the nastiest, they say. They say Andrew Jackson was always the nastiest campaign they actually said we topped it.

It was nasty both in the primaries and then the election but you see we thought after the election, it would stop, but it didn't stop. It just started tremendous corruption, tremendous corruption. So we had a campaign. Little did we know we were running against some very, very bad and evil people with fake dossiers, with all of these horrible, dirty cops that took these dossiers and did bad things they knew all about it.

The FISA courts should be ashamed of themselves. It's a very tough thing. And then we ended up winning on Russia, Russia and Russia. I should have taken the one day as I said and it took years. Then Bob Mueller testified. That didn't work out so well for the other side. But they should have said that first week, because it came out - is that right, Jim Jordan?

They knew in the first two days, actually - Devin, is that right? Two days they knew we were totally innocent. But they kept it going. Mark? They kept it going forever because they wanted to inflict political pain on somebody that had just won an election that, to a lot of people, was a surprise.

I mean we had polls that said we were going to win, we had "The Los Angeles Times" and a few papers, actually, said we were going to win, but it was going to be close. We did win. It was one of the greatest wins of all time, and they said, okay, he won.

[12:30:00]