Return to Transcripts main page

Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

McCarthy Confident He'll Have Votes To Be Elected Speaker Tonight; President Biden: "America Is A Land Of Laws And Not Chaos"; McCarthy Team Prepping For A Win. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired January 06, 2023 - 21:00   ET




ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: We are now about an hour away, from the House reconvening, and Kevin McCarthy hopes of vote, either immediately, or eventually, that will make him the next Speaker of the House. He and his allies will spend the night, trying to twist arms, namely, these arms, belonging to the six hard-right Republicans that you see there on your screen.

It is so close that absent members, some of them came straight out of surgery, or other medical procedures, have been making their way back to the Chamber, one even flying, back to Washington, from Colorado.

All of this has an extra resonance, because this is happening, on the second anniversary, of the attack, on the Capitol.

CNN's Manu Raju has been working his sources, all night, and frankly, all week. He joins us. And much longer than that, frankly!

Manu, so we talked to you, in the last hour. It seems to change almost by the minute. What's the latest?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, there is still growing confidence here, in McCarthy world that they will get the votes, tonight, in the 14th attempt, to become the Speaker of the House, the longest Speaker's race that we have seen, since the mid- 1800s. But they believe that they have gotten there, after furious negotiations, over the last several days, with some of the key holdouts.

Now, the question will ultimately be on which members ultimately flipped. You showed the six that are on your screen. Some of those don't need to -- if all members come, and they vote for a specific candidate, they will need four of those six.

But there are other strategies that are now being discussed, including urging some of those members, to vote "Present." Doing that lowers the voting threshold. They may only need a couple of them to flip. And the question will be how many of those members ultimately decide to vote "Present." All those discussions now, happening behind-the-scenes.

But after this vote, tonight, the McCarthy team, are putting out word, to the members, to prepare for a very late night. There'll be a swearing in of the members.

McCarthy would finally make the speech, accepting the Speaker's gavel, make a speech to the full House. And then, afterwards, that full House would vote, to adopt a rules package, governing how the House would operate. That includes some of the concessions that he has been negotiating, over the past several days, here.

So, Anderson, after the furious week of negotiations, the McCarthy team believes they are finally there, on the cusp of the Speakership. And now, the question will be which of those holdouts ultimately flip.

COOPER: You've reported on a number of the concessions that he's made, over the course of negotiations? Some of which have not been made public yet. What are they?

RAJU: Yes. That is one of the big questions is exactly what all these concessions are. In fact, they have not publicly released what all the concessions are.

While there is this rules package that will be adopted, later, that includes the, what is known as the motion to vacate? One member of the House can call for a vote, to oust a sitting Speaker. That has prompted some concerns within the ranks that it could create some instability among the Speaker. But that is just one of the many other concessions.

The other ones are just assurances that Kevin McCarthy made, to some of these members, on the hard-right, dealing with spending cuts and domestic programs that could potentially affect some defense programs, as well, as well as giving some key committee assignments, to some of these members, including on the very powerful House Rules Committee that sets the terms, of floor debate, on legislation and amendments.

And also, on some other key issues, namely the debt limit. That is going to be a huge issue, in the new Congress. What McCarthy has agreed to, with these members, is to pair raising the debt limit, to avoid a national default, with spending cuts. That is a red line, for Democrats, in the Senate, as well as in the White House, and what could set up a huge fight, and potentially the first ever national debt default.

But that fight will wait for another day, as McCarthy had to make these promises, Anderson, in order to secure the Speakership, which something that he believes he'll have, in a matter of about an hour or so.

COOPER: Yes. Manu, appreciate it.

Let's go to CNN's Melanie Zanona, who's also at the Capitol, tonight.

So, six key GOP holdouts, as we mentioned, who among them has signaled they might switch their votes, or vote "Present?"

MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Well, I can tell you what McCarthy's team is looking at.

They're looking at Eli Crane. He's a freshman from Arizona.

Matt Rosendale, from Montana, someone who might be running, in the Senate, in a primary, so he's had those considerations, to think about, and choosing whether to vote for Kevin McCarthy or not.

And then, Lauren Boebert of Colorado. She's someone, who is a fierce Donald Trump ally. She has been very critical, of Kevin McCarthy.

But McCarthy's team is hopeful that they can at least get some of these people, to vote "Present." That would lower the threshold he would need to become Speaker.

There are a couple other pathways. If they can flip two of the six holdouts, then they would get it. If they can flip one to "Present," and flip one to "Yes, to McCarthy," that would be another potential pathway as well. But they are confident they can get there.


And even Matt Gaetz, who was considered a never-ever-ever-Kevin, in that camp, he said, at this point, there's nothing else really, they could even ask of McCarthy, because he has essentially given in, to everything that they have demanded. So, that really gives you a glimpse into just how much Kevin McCarthy has given, in terms of concessions.

But, in these final moments, it really has been a pressure campaign, to grind down the remaining opposition, and to try to convince them, to at least vote "Present," as they're heading towards this final vote here, Anderson

COOPER: And talk a little bit, I mean, we've talked about this in the last hour, some of the lengths, to which some members have made to get to this vote, tonight.

ZANONA: The attendance has been so important today. Because, the margins are so slim, there's no room for error.

So, Democrats have been making sure every single one of their members is here, to be here, voting, against McCarthy. And McCarthy's allies have been making sure every supporter is here, voting for McCarthy.

But we had a couple of absences today, for various reasons. And those members have been hauled back. I mean, it just shows you how high stakes these are.

Wesley Hunt, for example, he's a Republican, supporting McCarthy. He had a new baby, just days ago, who had to spend time, in the NICU. He was hoping to go home. He did. As far as we understand, he did go home, and had to come back, tonight, for the vote.

Another member, Ken Buck, he had a pre-planned medical procedure. He was just texting me, actually, moments ago. And he's back. He's landed. So, he's back in the Capitol.

And then, even on the Democratic side, we saw David Trone. He's a Democrat, who is voting against McCarthy. He had shoulder surgery, just this morning, and came straight to the Capitol. He was still wearing his hospital slippers.

So, it just shows you the great personal sacrifices that these members are making, and the personal toll, it has come. But that's how much pressure, there has been, on both sides, as the Speaker fight has drawn out.

COOPER: Yes. Melanie Zanona, appreciate it. Thank you.

Joining us now is Mike Lawler, the incoming Congressman from New York, who has supported Kevin McCarthy, all week.

Congressman, I appreciate you joining us. We are less--


COOPER: Or I should say, Congressman-elect, I guess.

We are less than an hour away, from the House coming back. Does Kevin McCarthy, you think, have the votes, to be elected, tonight?

LAWLER: I feel cautiously optimistic that we will get across the finish line, tonight. I said earlier today that we were making great progress, over the last 24 hours. And obviously, you saw that, in this morning's votes.

But we are on the precipice, of electing Kevin McCarthy, our Speaker, getting sworn in, and getting about the business of the American people, which is what I was elected to do. And so, I'm looking forward to that.

COOPER: CNN has been reporting that Congresswoman Boebert is in the mix as a potential "Present" vote, or at least a hopeful-present vote. Is that something you've heard? Do you know what the other holdouts may be planning on doing here?

LAWLER: I can't speak specifically to what they may or may not be planning on doing. I'm hopeful that all of us, all 222 of us, can come together, as a Conference, elect Kevin McCarthy as our Speaker, and move forward with the work that the American people elected us to do.

Look, Anderson, the American people wanted the House Republicans, to be a check and balance, on the Biden administration. And the only way to do that is to elect a Speaker, and move forward, with our agenda.

Reining in out-of-control spending, increasing border security, increasing domestic production of energy, those are the issues we all ran on and won on. And that's what we need to do, as soon as we get past electing Kevin McCarthy, as our Speaker.

COOPER: And I heard earlier today, I know you said that you're fine with the concessions that have been made.

I mean, is there any concern about how the House will function, when it only takes one member, to force a vote, to remove the Speaker? I know that's happened in the past. Also, raising the debt ceiling is going to require spending cuts that Senate Democrats, and the White House are opposed to.

LAWLER: Look, with respect to the motion to vacate, this is restoring a rule that was in place for over 100 years. Nancy Pelosi is the one, who changed the rules here. So, this is restoring what the rules were, prior to Nancy Pelosi becoming Speaker.

COOPER: Right. But McCarthy didn't want it that way.

LAWLER: The difference between five -- the difference--

COOPER: He wanted five.

LAWLER: Yes, but the difference between five and one, as evident, over the last few days, is nothing. I mean, obviously five people could clearly come together, if they want to do a motion, to vacate. So, in all honesty and sincerity?


LAWLER: I really don't think there's much difference between one and five, at this point.

The issue to me, with respect to the debt ceiling, obviously we need to pay our debts. But the reality is the Biden administration, and Nancy Pelosi, and Chuck Schumer, had exploded the national debt. And we need to rein in reckless spending. And so yes, there's going to be a fight. And the White House and the Senate are going to have to come to the table.

Working together to move forward is not the White House and the Senate dictating terms to the House. We are going to work together. But there needs to be a serious understanding that we need to rein in spending. And the White House is just going to have to come to grips with that.

COOPER: Congressman-elect Lawler, I appreciate your time, tonight. We'll be watching.

LAWLER: Thank you so much.

COOPER: Back now with David Axelrod, Karen Finney, David Urban, and Scott Jennings.

David Urban, are you excited? Are you?




URBAN: It's like, I said -- I think I said this before, when Manu asked the future Speaker, here, if he was confident, he said, "I'm confident, we got it." He said, "How do you know?" "I count votes." And yet, you still hear Manu saying, "Well we're hoping these folks do

this, we're hoping they do that." I don't -- I don't see. It's not in the bag yet, until it's in the bag. So, I'm nervous.

COOPER: Scott Jennings, is it--


COOPER: Is the bag visible? Is the bag showing?

JENNINGS: I mean, it's quite apparent that they feel like they have it, and nothing is done until it's done.

But it marks a huge turnaround, for Kevin McCarthy. 24 hours ago, we were all sitting here saying, "We have no idea how this math is going to work out. It doesn't seem like it's going to be possible." I mean, there was a lot of doom and gloom. And one day later, he's pulled it out. So, for all the carping about Kevin, and his team, and everything that's going on, I do think he deserves a lot of credit.

And I think what the Congressman-elect Lawler said is true. Every day this drug on was a day they weren't doing what they were supposed to be doing, whether it was on the policy stuff, or on the oversight stuff, which I think is important, to a lot of grassroots Republicans, all across the country. So, I think Lawler was on message, there. I think you're going to hear that from a lot of Republicans, tonight.

This middle-of-the-night rules package debate will be interesting. And presuming they get that done as well, then you can look for them maybe Monday, Tuesday, hitting the ground, running with the agenda they ran on.

And, by the way, House Republicans did win the national popular vote, on the agenda that Lawler laid out.

KAREN FINNEY, FORMER SENIOR SPOKESPERSON, CLINTON 2016 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: They won, however, without the benefit of -- with the benefit of heavily-gerrymandered districts.

And I think if you take a look at, and I think, part of what we've seen over the last few days, is a complete misreading of the results of the election, which is the American people have said, "We want you to actually work together. It's about us. It's not about you." I think that was a more sober reading of the results of the election, and the "Red wave" that never manifested.

And, regardless, I will grant you that Kevin McCarthy deserves his moment in the sun, which it sounds like from the timing, he'll get it. We don't know how long that moment is going to last!


FINNEY: Moment in the moon! We don't know how long it'll last. But you can't escape. And I, again, I have to think this is something that Republicans are

thinking about. This is not the way you wanted to get started, in terms of trying to put your best foot forward, and suggest to the American people that you deserve the opportunity, to lead this country, after these several days of chaos.

AXELROD: Yes. I wouldn't overdo the, you know, yes, give him credit. They pulled it out, in the end.

This was winning ugly. This was not what they planned. This was a mess. And they ended up having to sort of open up the store, and say, "OK, what do we need to give you? What do we need to give you?" It took far longer than they thought.

But the bigger thing is we don't know yet. For all this talk about "We want to bring more transparency to the legislative process," well, what did you agree to? "Well, we're not quite sure yet. We'll tell you later." He is not going to be a -- I think this was a preview of things to come. And it's going to be a very tumultuous time--

JENNINGS: But if you're -- but if you're Kevin McCarthy?

AXELROD: --for Kevin McCarthy.

JENNINGS: I mean, to quote the great political philosopher, Nuke LaLoosh (ph), "Winning man, it's like better than losing." I mean, sitting here, yesterday?

AXELROD: We'll see if it is.

JENNINGS: Sitting here--

AXELROD: We'll see if it is

JENNINGS: --sitting here, yesterday? There were mass numbers of political analysts and pundits saying, "He can't make it. He won't make it." There were members of the House.

AXELROD: They thought he was going to make it.

URBAN: Listen, I can tell you, all the tweets that I said, "Look, we're going to grind it out, Kevin's going to end up being the Speaker?"

AXELROD: He did say that.

FINNEY: You did.

URBAN: "It's going to just grind out. Kevin is going to be Speaker in the end. He's going to be the" -- I can't tell you how many people said "You're crazy!"


URBAN: Friends of mine are saying "No way, Urban, but how do you get there? Not going to happen." AXELROD: Well two things can be true.

URBAN: Exactly. Listen, I think I should be a little bit optimistic, because I've stopped getting fundraising tweets, from Matt Gaetz. So, I think maybe--

COOPER: It's a sign!

URBAN: --maybe he's -- read the tea leaves.

AXELROD: Yes. But, what I said was whether he win -- whether he becomes Speaker or not, he has lost, because he had to give away so much. You know, Anderson, you said "Well, he wanted five, and they agreed to one on this vacate the chair." But the five came in late. That was a concession, last week, and that was the news. He had agreed to five.


AXELROD: And then, and there was there was no question that this was something he did not want to do. And he didn't want to do it for a reason. The talking point, now, and you heard it from Congressman- elect Lawler--


AXELROD: --who's talented, by the way, I think he's very good communicator, that "Well, this was the practice for 100 years. It was only Nancy Pelosi who changed it." She changed it because of what happened to John Boehner.

And what happened to John Boehner was because of that rule he got run out of the Speakership. I think Kevin McCarthy stands a very good chance of getting run out of the Speakership.

COOPER: I mean--

URBAN: But -- oh go ahead.

COOPER: Matt Gaetz was saying that there's nothing left that Kevin McCarthy could give--

URBAN: Right.

COOPER: --that he's given away the store.

JENNINGS: Wait. Why is Matt Gaetz's commentary here? I mean?

COOPER: We've been listening to him the whole week!

JENNINGS: To me, the best -- the best--

COOPER: Because we've got no other choice!

[21:15:00] JENNINGS: I'm just saying, why is his commentary -- the best thing that happened this week was watching this buffoon fall on his face, saying they were going to take Kevin McCarthy out of the House, in a straight--

COOPER: But has he -- has he fallen on his face--

URBAN: No. No.

COOPER: --if he's gotten everything he wanted?

JENNINGS: Oh, he wasn't part of the -- look, this is -- of the 20 people, this was a negotiating victory, for the serious conservatives who want--

COOPER: Chip Roys and--

JENNINGS: --the Chip Roy's, and that faction, they were the ones, who were in there, in good faith, making changes. Matt Gaetz, Lauren Boebert, and the rest of these clowns, they were not the critical linchpins, to negotiating this deal. And they're going to fail, tonight.

AXELROD: You know?

JENNINGS: And overall, for the Republican Party, that is a good thing.

AXELROD: One of the things that Matt Gaetz said, at the beginning of the week, was he -- when the five, on the motion to vacate, was on the table? He said it should be one. Well, he got it. He got one.

URBAN: But it's a distinction without a difference. Five, one, four, 10, right?

AXELROD: Well, look--

URBAN: I mean, unless it's half the caucus, right, like Pelosi was able to get, right?

FINNEY: But again, let's go back to--

URBAN: That's a difference.

FINNEY: --where we started, early yesterday. David made this point. The 20, we started with 20. The 20, the seven, the eight, the nine, they've already won, because they have shown that this is all you have to do, in order to hold things up, in order to hold everything hostage, and you will get what you want.

URBAN: Yes, I mean?

FINNEY: I mean, most parents would tell you, that is, rewarding bad behavior is not the way that you get someone to change their behavior.

JENNINGS: There is a little bit of -- I will say, to your point, I'm going to give you one. FINNEY: Thanks.

JENNINGS: I have heard--

URBAN: Just this one.

JENNINGS: I have heard a little, a few. There's like, there's a lot of members of Congress you've never heard of. They pay all their dues to the NRCC. They never make bad headlines. They show up. They're not famous. They just sort of show up and they want to be there, for all the right.


JENNINGS: They really aren't being attended to here, other than they're getting McCarthy as Speaker. And I do suspect there's a ripple of--

AXELROD: Yes, they're pissed.

JENNINGS: --"Well, why do I not to get to make demands of leadership"--


JENNINGS: --"for seven straight days?"


JENNINGS: So, I do think they're going to do this tonight, and they're going to go. But there is a faction of those people out tonight.

URBAN: But maybe they just care about doing their job.

JENNINGS: Yes, they do.

URBAN: Shocking, right?

JENNINGS: That's why they're there, yes.

URBAN: Yes, yes.

COOPER: Everyone, stick around. We'll be back shortly, as the House gets ready to convene with you all.

Coming up next, though, remembering this day, two years ago, when democracy itself was under attack, along with the Capitol building. What has changed, since then, and what has not?

Later, the instigator of that attack, according to the January 6 committee, the former President, and his role, in the proceedings, tonight, has his influence diminished, over the last several days? We could find out, tonight, ahead.



COOPER: As we wait for a late night vote, on who the next Speaker of the House will be, it is hard not to be reminded of the late night vote, two years ago, to certify the presidential election, in a building that just hours before was the sight of an Insurrection.

Today, one of the first rioters, to enter, the Capitol, the man, who helped kick down, a door, was sentenced to four years in prison.

Also today, at the White House, President Biden honored the defenders, of the Capitol, that day, living and dead, as well as others, such as Philadelphia Republican elected official, Al Schmidt; and Michigan Secretary of State, Jocelyn Benson, who defended democracy, throughout vote counting process; also Rusty Bowers, from Arizona.

The President spoke what the country nearly became, on January 6, 2021, and what the men and women, he honored, today, helped redeem.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: America is a land of laws and not chaos. A nation of peace and not violence. We're not a land of kings and dictators, autocrats and extremists.

As we see in today's honorees, we're a nation of "We the People" that toughen our fiber, renew our faith, and strengthen our cause. Just remember who in God's name we are. We're the United States of America.


COOPER: In a moment, two longtime Washingtonians, one of our correspondents, and one in law enforcement, who watched, with the rest of us, as people they knew, and worked with, over the years, came under attack.

But first, a look at what happened that day, and all that's happened since, some of it still tough to watch. Our Randi Kaye reports.



REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): Good afternoon. Yesterday, the President of the United States incited an armed Insurrection against America.

RANDI KAYE, CNN ANCHOR/CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the hours after the attack, on the U.S. Capitol, on January 6, 2021, Democrats moved swiftly to try and remove Donald Trump from power.

PELOSI: I joined the Senate Democratic Leader, and calling on the Vice President, to remove this president, by immediately invoking the 25th Amendment.

KAYE (voice-over): Much to their dismay, then Vice President Mike Pence rejected the idea of using the 25th Amendment, saying it would set a terrible precedent. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Vice President, does the President need to speak up more forcefully against what happened today?

KAYE (voice-over): But that didn't stop House Democrats, from rapidly moving ahead, with the second impeachment of Donald Trump.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: House Resolution 24.

KAYE (voice-over): On January 13th, one week, after the attack on the Capitol, the House voted to impeach Donald Trump.

PELOSI: He must go.

KAYE (voice-over): There was some bipartisan support, for impeachment. 10 House Republicans voted to impeach, and later, during the Senate trial, seven Republican senators. Still, Trump was acquitted.

PELOSI: What we saw in that Senate today, was a cowardly group of Republicans.

REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D-MS): Democrats and Republicans can do good, work together.

KAYE (voice-over): By May, 2021, many members, from both parties, had agreed on the need, for a bipartisan independent 9/11-style commission, to investigate January 6th. The plan was to have an equal number of Republicans, and Democrats, investigating.

But soon, Republicans mischaracterized the effort and baulked.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): I have made the decision to oppose the House Democrats' slanted and unbalanced proposal, for another commission, to study the events, of January the 6th.

KAYE (voice-over): So, House Democrats formed a Select Committee, to investigate which included Republicans Liz Cheney, and Adam Kinzinger, both of whom had voted, to impeach Trump. The first public hearing was in June, last year.

LIZ CHENEY, FORMER UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE: As Americans, we all have a duty, to ensure that what happened on January 6th never happens again.

KAYE (voice-over): For many, the hearings were must-see TV.

Former Attorney General Bill Barr testified.

BILL BARR, FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL: I did not agree with the idea of saying the election was stolen, and putting out this stuff, which I told the President was bull (bleep).

CHENEY: This is the President's daughter.

KAYE (voice-over): Trump's daughter, Ivanka, told the Committee, she agreed with Barr's summation.


IVANKA TRUMP, FORMER ADVISOR TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It affected my perspective. I respect Attorney General Barr. So, I accepted what he said -- was saying.

KAYE (voice-over): Former Trump White House aide, Cassidy Hutchinson, was perhaps the Committee's strongest witness.

CHENEY: His response was to say they can march to the Capitol from the Ellipse?

CASSIDY HUTCHINSON, FORMER AIDE TO WH CHIEF OF STAFF MARK MEADOWS: Something to the effect of "Take the effing mags away. They're not here to hurt me. Let them in. Let my people in."

KAYE (voice-over): The Committee subpoenaed many, in Trump's orbit.


KAYE (voice-over): Former White House Chief Strategist, Steve Bannon, and adviser, Peter Navarro, were both charged, for failing to comply. Bannon was convicted at trial. Navarro pleaded not guilty, and is awaiting trial.

The Committee also says more than 30 witnesses, took the Fifth, during questioning.


CHENEY: Do you believe the violence on January 6 was justified morally?



CHENEY: General Flynn, do you believe in the peaceful transition of power, in the United States of America?


FLYNN: The Fifth.

KAYE (voice-over): Former Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, refused to testify, and Pence resisted cooperation. All the while, Republicans slammed the Select Committee, for being partisan.

THOMPSON: Those in favor will say Aye.


KAYE (voice-over): In October, the Committee formally issued a subpoena, to Donald Trump.

CHENEY: We are obligated, to seek answers, directly from the man, who set this all in motion.

KAYE (voice-over): Trump responded to the subpoena, on social media, asking "Why didn't the Unselect Committee ask me to testify months ago?" He called the Committee a total "Bust" that further divided the country.

The Committee later withdrew the subpoena, and Trump never testified.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pull them this way.

KAYE (voice-over): Still, the Committee uncovered disturbing details, from inside the Trump White House, as the Capitol was under siege.

It highlighted 187 minutes, of Trump's inaction, during the attack, showing how he remained in his private dining room, watching coverage, on Fox News, for more than three hours, despite pressure to put out a statement, calling off the rioters.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He says, go home.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's he saying?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He says, go home.

THOMPSON: Nothing but the truth.

KAYE (voice-over): The Committee also revealed how a Trump-funded lawyer allegedly pressured Cassidy Hutchinson, not to be transparent, with the Committee, during her testimony.

After a 17-month investigation, and more than 1,000 witnesses, the January 6 committee, just last month, announced criminal referrals, to the U.S. Department of Justice.

REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): We have gone where the facts and the law lead us. And inescapably, they lead us here.

KAYE (voice-over): The Committee referred Donald Trump, to the DOJ, for potential charges, related to four crimes; assisting or aiding an Insurrection; conspiracy to defraud the United States; obstruction of an official proceeding; and conspiracy to make false statements.

CHENEY: He is unfit for any office.

KAYE (voice-over): A criminal referral was also made, for Trump's lawyer, John Eastman, who could face charges of obstruction of an official proceeding, and conspiracy to defraud the United States.

Eastman said the referral carried little weight, because it was the product of a partisan process.

Randi Kaye, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: Well, two years it has been!

Joining us, a CNN Senior Law Enforcement Analyst, and former FBI Deputy Director, Andrew McCabe; also, CNN Special Correspondent, Jamie Gangel.

Jamie, on the duality, of this January 6th, the January 6, two years ago, obviously, very different days.


COOPER: Some of the same people involved on both of these days. I'm wondering what your thoughts were, seeing that ceremony, today, at the White House?

GANGEL: Well, it was quite a split screen, seeing the people being honored. And then, this is, I think, day four of the Chaos Caucus! It's watching those pictures, in Randi's piece, just brings it all back. And then, you compare that to what we saw this week.

A former Republican Speaker of the House, Anderson, I will let you guess which one, said to me, this week, as he watched what was going on, with the Republican Conference, quote "The Suicide Squad is locked in. It is like watching someone burn down their own house, because the flames excite them."

How we get here, after what we went through, on January 6, two years ago, is just astonishing to me!

COOPER: Andrew, do you think American democracy is safer now, than it was two years ago?

ANDREW MCCABE, FORMER FBI DEPUTY DIRECTOR, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Boy, Anderson, I wish I could say I felt confidently that we are. But I'm not sure, to be perfectly honest.


I think, in the work that's been done, by the Committee, and by the Department of Justice, and the FBI, and their partners, in the law enforcement community, the biggest gap, for me, is we still haven't answered some really fundamental questions, about how our law enforcement community handled the Intelligence that led up to and foreshadowed the attack that happened on January 6th.

The Committee really just kind of gave that a very, very minimal kind of glancing blow, in their conclusions, of that monstrous report.

And we really haven't heard much from the other law enforcement entities. We haven't heard anything, from the FBI, about an internal review, to assess their performance, what can only be qualified as performance failures, on an essential mission, preventing acts of terrorism, in the United States.

We haven't heard anything about a process, to uncover, to reevaluate what they knew, what sort of Intelligence assessments, and decisions, and communications, they did, with that knowledge.

So, I wish I could sit here, two years later, and say, "Yes, we've learned a lot. We all understand what those lessons are. And I'm confident that our law enforcement and Intelligence Community has addressed those issues." But, at this point, we still really don't know that.

GANGEL: Right.

COOPER: And Jamie, the former President, who is allegedly running again? Though, I mean, he still seems to be sequestered down in Mar-a- Lago!

GANGEL: But he's announced!

COOPER: He has announced.

GANGEL: He's announced, yes.

COOPER: I mean has he -- does he still have the power that he once did, among Republicans?

GANGEL: It's a great question, because it was fascinating to see, frankly, what appeared to be his lack of influence, this week, certainly with picking the Speaker of the House.

Yes, he endorsed Kevin McCarthy. But it was sort of tepid. He seemed to be waiting to see, which way the wind was blowing. Today, he started making calls, I'm told, by our colleague, Kaitlan Collins, once it looked like Kevin was going to get it.

I think the question, though, isn't what happened with the Speaker vote, or what is happening with the Speaker vote? It's what's going to happen in the primaries. It's who else is going to get in the race. Then, we're really going to know. Has his influence diminished somewhat? Absolutely. But will it make a difference at the polls?

COOPER: Andrew, the Department of Justice says that 140 officers were injured, on January 6, five officers died, in the months, after the riot.

What do you think the legacy of the Insurrection will be, from a law enforcement perspective?

MCCABE: I hope that we can ultimately settle on a shared understanding of just how incredibly devastating that's been, to the law enforcement community. I mean, 140 officers assaulted, on the same day? I can't -- outside of 9/11, I can't think of an event, or an attack, that resulted in that much carnage, directed specifically at our first responders.

But we're still struggling with understanding what that legacy is. And it sometimes seems that half the country or at least half the political leadership, in this country, is on a path of looking for accountability, and the other half is still desperately trying to ignore things, like those 140 assaults, and wash their hands, of what happened, on that day, in an effort to get away from the stink that comes with being associated with an attack.

So, at some point, we need to rectify those two sides, and come to an understanding of the fact that this was a horrible day, in our history, and we need to learn from it, honor those, who were attacked, and move on together.

COOPER: Yes. Andrew McCabe, Jamie Gangel, appreciate it. Thank you.


COOPER: Coming up, counting down to the top of the hour, when the House is expected to return. More from Kaitlan Collins, who Jamie just mentioned, on the former President's influence, in the Republican Party, how it's being tested, the latest on what he's doing, behind- the-scenes, when we return; and the latest reporting, on Kevin McCarthy, getting those final holdout votes.



COOPER: Well, less than half an hour, from now, we are expecting the House back in session, for a 14th vote, on Kevin McCarthy's attempt to become House Speaker.

One of the original holdouts, Congressman Chip Roy just said, quote, "We think we're almost there." Make of that what you will. But it certainly remains down to the wire, still uncertain.

Meanwhile, a source telling CNN that the former President has been making calls, today, on behalf of the man, he once called "My Kevin." He reiterated his support for McCarthy, two days ago. But despite McCarthy's increase in votes, today, some debate, whether the former President, the only declared Republican candidate, for 2024, can actually move the needle.

CNN Chief Correspondent, Kaitlan Collins, joins us now.

Does it seem like the former President had any influence at all in the vote changes?


But for, Tuesday night, someone who was wavering on Kevin McCarthy, and was declining to put out a statement, reiterating his support for him, until he did do so, on Wednesday morning, calling on all Republicans, to vote for him? It kind of speaks to the level of involvement that the former President has had here.

Yesterday, and today, I am told that he's been making calls, to some of these hardliners, these are the final holdouts that you saw, starting to change, really and give Kevin McCarthy, the momentum, we saw today, that he was not experiencing, on Tuesday, or Wednesday, or on Thursday. He did not see any of that until today. And so, Trump has been making these calls. There are some Republicans, Byron Donalds, for example, who says he does believe Trump deserves credit, for helping sway the vote, here.

But several of the other Republicans that I've spoken with here, those that have been supporting McCarthy, all along, say that really he didn't have any kind of large impact on this race.

Yes, he made calls today. But he was the one who, on Tuesday, was talking about the reasons those who were against McCarthy, were against McCarthy, essentially saying that he found validation in that. And so, I think that kind of speaks to the level of impact that he's had here.

COOPER: Well, I mean, Lauren Boebert, who's sort of from the School of Trump, actually dissed him, publicly, on the House floor.

COLLINS: Yes. And you saw how they tried to make up for that. Later, you saw members, nominating him, voting for him, in subsequent days, as they were going through these names for this.


It was striking, to see that moment. You don't often see someone, like a Lauren Boebert, who is so made, in the Camp of Trump, come out, and say not only did she ignore his calls, she said he was wrong, and said that he should reverse that and actually tell people or tell Kevin McCarthy, himself, to withdraw from the race.

That was probably one of the most striking moments, in this entire week, that we've seen, the amount of momentum that you've seen behind these hardliners, who have actually gone further, I think, than they thought they were going to get, when this started, on Monday night, and on Tuesday, when that first vote happened.

I think the question here is how that changes the relationship, going forward, between Boebert, and Trump, or these others who have held out. Trump himself is not super-tied to Kevin McCarthy, in the sense of where he was aggressively making calls, earlier this week.

They were pretty tepid phone calls. I think they've changed a little bit of trajectory, as it's become clear that Kevin McCarthy is actually going to likely get the Speaker's gavel, in just a matter of hours, from now. But I think it does speak to his fear factor, overall. It's not as great as it once was.

COOPER: Kaitlan Collins, appreciate it. Thank you, Kaitlan.

Back with us, David Axelrod, Karen Finney, David Urban, and Scott Jennings.

David Urban, what do you think? I mean, if McCarthy succeeds, as close to Trump, say we should expect him to take credit for the victory? Has he -- does he get--

URBAN: Of course -- of course, he is going to take credit. COOPER: He will. Should he? Should he?

URBAN: Of course, he is going to take credit, for the victory. What's this, first time we've seen this movie?

Look, to a certain extent, I don't know what he said to this Crane, or what he's doing behind-the-scenes, with some of these people, who are otherwise immovable. So if he does get Crane, and some of the other people, to kind of lie down and vote, just "Present?" and, he deserves some credit, obviously. But to the extent that does he carry the day? I don't think he carried the day by any margin whatsoever.

COOPER: I mean, he feels very isolated there, in Mar-a-Lago.

URBAN: Well?

COOPER: This seems to be happening, all the way, far from his little power center.

URBAN: It is far away. But some of the folks owe their careers. They wouldn't be in that House, if it wasn't for Donald Trump, I mean.

COOPER: Yes. Scott, is it -- I mean, is his?

JENNINGS: I mean, look, if he had anything to do with this, Kevin McCarthy wouldn't have had to have sold off several organs, to get to Speakership here! I mean, we all know a rooster who takes credit for the sunrise. And that's what's going to happen here. But the reality is?

URBAN: It's nothing but like (ph) a hee-haw.

COOPER: I mean, I know!

JENNINGS: Hee Haw had really good ratings, David! I'm just saying!

The reality is McCarthy got this thing, because he went and hammered out a package, with people, who wanted to make some changes. This was done, in that negotiation--

COOPER: He again hammered out a package without any nails!

URBAN: But to ask--

COOPER: It's when he come up with the hee-haw--


JENNINGS: We mock what we don't understand, Anderson!

URBAN: Yes. But, to your point, and to Axe's point about this, right? So, you wouldn't have to give away, you'd have a majority of 260 votes, right?

COOPER: Yes. URBAN: You'd have 260 Republicans, if it weren't for some of the other Donald Trump Republicans, who wanted a primary, and then lost terribly--


COOPER: Right.

URBAN: --in the general election.


URBAN: So, to Scott's point, in there someplace, I know.

JENNINGS: I mean -- I mean, that's the thing. The point is this. He didn't close the deal for McCarthy, when he came out originally. He doesn't deserve any credit for this, tonight. It is obvious, since the midterm election, his influence has been on the wane.

And every time something happens, even remotely approaching, what you might describe, as good or positive, he's going to try to grasp onto that, to change that narrative.

But the polling is clear. And I think the mood of the party is clear. He's going--

COOPER: So, where's--

JENNINGS: He's going--

COOPER: Yes, go ahead.

JENNINGS: Yes, he's going down. DeSantis is going up.

URBAN: Yes, I was going to say, just to the DeSantis point?

COOPER: Right.

URBAN: Like, this afternoon, I saw a very kind of flowery, Casey DeSantis' tweet about "Free Florida," and great things, and Governor DeSantis, riding on a white horse, and governing great, right? So, Ron DeSantis looks like a grown-up, here, and an adult, where--


URBAN: --the Washington Republicans are kind of in a quagmire.

COOPER: So, let's just talk about what's going to happen. We're 17 minutes away from the start of this thing. What's the strategy from McCarthy's people, tonight? What would the strategy be?

AXELROD: Well, I mean, it's pretty obvious what the strategy is. The strategy is to get every single vote he has, there, and they're flying a couple of people back, who had left, for family and medical reasons, and to try and get three members of the caucus, who were inalterably--

COOPER: And that's what they've been doing over the last many hours?

AXELROD: Yes, I think so. I think so. And, I mean, I don't believe -- Kevin McCarthy has actually been pretty cautious this week, about predictions.

URBAN: Up and down.

AXELROD: He was, until today, you know? And so, I think that they have some, a fairly strong sense of the way things are going to go.

One other thing that he said, though, that I found peculiar was he said, "I think we've learned how to govern this week." Well, if this is how they're going to govern, that's not a very assuring message! I would -- if I were doing his messaging?


AXELROD: I would choose a different message.

URBAN: Yes, you know?

FINNEY: Well, and particularly, I'll just say, I mean, Scott, earlier, you mentioned that tweet by Tony Gonzales, who didn't just say "I'm a NO on the House rules package." He said, "Welcome to the 118th Congress."


So, to David's point, yes, what we have seen, over the last several days, is likely what we're going to see again and again and again. Whether -- and again, I don't know that McCarthy himself is going to make it to August, when we have the budget conversations.

I think we're going to see time and time again, clearly, there is a group that understands, they have the power, to hold things up, although to what Matt Gaetz said, I don't know what else they can ask for, at this point.

URBAN: And that it'll be interesting to see, given that comment, right, does Matt Gaetz come to the fore, in a total 180, and say -- votes for McCarthy, do they--


URBAN: --do they go out, and say, "Listen, we've lost. We're just going to unify as a party and move forward."

JENNINGS: They've got nothing to--

AXELROD: I don't know. But I'd tell you what--

JENNINGS: They've got nothing to gain by--

AXELROD: I mean, I was interested, Congressman Bacon--

URBAN: Right. AXELROD: --who was a great ally of McCarthy--

URBAN: Supported him (ph).

AXELROD: --said, "If this remains the face of the GOP in 2024, we will get pummeled in the presidential and congressional elections. We would have won more seats in 2022, but too many feared the extremes in the GOP, even before this."


AXELROD: I think that's a real concern, guys.

URBAN: Oh, I think--

AXELROD: I don't -- I -- you know?

URBAN: It's a total concern. I just heard from one of my friends, who was watching this with her teenage kids, in high school, and they say, "Mom, this is why, people hate politicians" right, this is exactly why.

COOPER: We are just moments away now, from the House coming back, into session, on this late hour, on a Friday night.

Our live coverage, Kevin McCarthy's fight, for the Speaker's gavel, next.



COOPER: The House is about to be back in session, for a 14th vote, on the Speaker.

Our coverage of this historic week, on Capitol Hill, continues next, with Jake Tapper and Erin Burnett.


ERIN BURNETT, CNN CO-HOST, CNN TONIGHT: Does Leader McCarthy have the votes, tonight, to become Speaker McCarthy?

You are watching a Special Edition of CNN TONIGHT, the Speaker Vote. Good evening to all and, to you, Jake. I am Erin Burnett.


I'm Jake Tapper.

We're standing by for what could be, could be, an historic couple of hours. After four days, 13 votes, Kevin McCarthy is about to see whether his efforts to win over these last few hardliners, with who knows what concessions, has paid off.

In just minutes, the House will reconvene, and it will vote for Speaker, again. This will be the 14th ballot.

BURNETT: 14th, huh? We'll see if it's lucky 14, here, Jake, for McCarthy.

And, of course, the strategy we're learning is to get at least three of the six remaining holdouts, to vote "Present," which would then lower the threshold required to win, to 216 votes, which McCarthy has.

So, we have learned that the three names that McCarthy, his allies, are talking to are Eli Crane, Matt Rosendale and Lauren Boebert. These are crucial names. And if these three vote "Present," then McCarthy will become the 55th person, to serve, as the Speaker of the House.

So, as we are standing by for that vote, and Jake and I expect this to be gaveled in, momentarily, less than 10 minutes, 10 PM Eastern, we expect it to happen at that time. We're reporting the McCarthy's team believes that they have the votes, and that they're already taking steps to organize the House.

Well, we'll see because, at this point, you never know until you know.

But there was an incredible turnaround, earlier today, for McCarthy that gave him the momentum. 15 holdouts switching their votes, in favor of the Republican leader that have been holding out for days, in all of those ballots that Jake just talked about, giving McCarthy the momentum that he desperately needed, to turn it around.

So, so much to get to tonight, and as Jake and I, sit with you, ready for this, let's go to Manu Raju, live, on Capitol Hill.

So Manu, does it seem like McCarthy actually has the votes and he's going to get over the finish line?

RAJU: McCarthy's team is very confident, at this moment, that he will in fact get the votes, tonight, and be the Speaker of the House, after this arduous fight, this fight between his own party that exposed deep divides, within his Conference, something that he has worked, over the last several days, to bridge, believing that he has finally got that moment.

Remember, earlier today, after he flipped those 15 holdouts, today, he got 214 votes. In order for him to become a Speaker, if all members vote, for a specific candidate, he needs 218 votes.

But McCarthy's team has been working behind-the-scenes, to convince some of those six holdouts, to either vote for him, or vote "Present."

If they vote "Present," that lowers the voting threshold, and he could potentially be approved as the next Speaker, with 216 votes, or even 217 votes, depending how it all shakes out. At this moment, it's still a bit uncertain, who those holdouts, which ones will actually flip.

Lauren Boebert, one of them, you mentioned before, last hour, she was asked about her vote, she would not say how she would come down. She said she was still working on some key issues. And also Matt Gaetz, who has been one of the chief opponents, of Kevin McCarthy, just said, moments ago too, he would not say one way or the other how he would vote, refusing to say, if he would vote "Present," to help Kevin McCarthy. That is something also we will watch on the House floor.

But this all comes, after McCarthy has negotiated a round of concessions, some of which will be adopted, in a rules package that will be approved, in the House, after the Speaker vote, if the Speakership is set.

And if it is set, we will hear from Kevin McCarthy himself, giving a speech on the House floor, after the swearing in the members, as well, who've been waiting to be sworn in. Because since the Speakership has not been set, Erin?


RAJU: This House has been paralyzed, unable to govern. But now that he may be able to do that if McCarthy gets the votes, in this hour.

BURNETT: And we'll see. And, you talk about the concessions that they have gotten to maybe get over the finish line. Matt Gaetz saying, "I got to tell you, we're running out of things to ask for," the implications being they've gotten so much, there's nothing to even ask, and nothing more to ask for.

So, Republican Chip Roy, giving some details tonight. What can you tell us?

RAJU: Yes, he's been talking about an investigation, into the FBI, and DOJ. Republicans contend that there has been some political prosecutions, by those agencies.

He said that one of the concessions they made was that this -- some of this -- out to this committee this -- within the House, would have its own independent budget, to investigate the FBI, and DOJ. And that is one of the big focuses of the new incoming Republican majority's investigations.


They are going to have a very difficult time, passing legislation, much less getting it onto Joe Biden's desk. But you will see a big investigative push. They will have subpoena power, in this new Congress. And if once the Speakership is set, those committees will be organized, and then, they can again begin moving.

Another one of those big concessions, giving some of those key members, seats, on influential committees, including one called the Rules Committee that dictates how the House is governed, how amendments are structured, how bills come to the floor, a very influential committee.

And also, a major concession, on a big policy issue, raising the national debt limit. McCarthy has agreed to pair any debt ceiling increase, with spending cuts, something that had been demanded by a number of conservatives. That is a red line, for the White House, and Senate Democrats.

So Jake, right now, those issues will play out in the weeks ahead. But McCarthy had to make those -- that deal, in order to get the votes to become Speaker.

TAPPER: All right, Manu. Thanks so much.

With me right now, Kaitlan Collins, Abby Phillip, Dana Bash, Kasie Hunt, Jamie Gangel, and John King. The Gang! The Gang's here!

And Dana, let me start with you. Because, Matt Gaetz, just a few minutes ago--


TAPPER: --on MAGA media, was talking about how he was excited, he was encouraged. He was referring to Kevin McCarthy, as "Speaker-designate McCarthy," which is certainly a promotion, from what he was calling him a day or two ago, which was "Squatter."

BASH: Yes.

TAPPER: He was calling him a "Squatter in the Speaker's office."

BASH: That he sold his soul.

TAPPER: He was saying that all of this was like--


TAPPER: --and this is an interesting metaphor for him to use, all of this was like just going through the details of getting a pre-nup figured out, before the marriage. It's just an uncomfortable thing you have to work out before you actually settle down to the business. And he said, he's gotten so much, they've gotten so many concessions, from McCarthy he has nothing left to ask for.

It's, honestly, I have to tell you it sounds like he might even be a yes, not just even a present. I mean, the way he was talking?

BASH: So, what you're saying is that Matt Gaetz is not consistent?

TAPPER: I know it might come as a surprise to you!

BASH: Shocking!

No. I mean, listen, let's just sort of mark the moment for a second. And it is -- we were all sitting here, for many, many hours, this week. And there were many, many of those hours that it was not clear that what it seems like we're going to see soon would happen.

And things changed. And what we don't really, really know yet is, never mind the people who already voted "Yes." But even a Matt Gaetz, what it got for him to get to the point, where he would even use the term, "Speaker-designate," and what he got.

TAPPER: Yes, the Steve Scalise, the number two House Republican.

BASH: Yes. There don't seem to be that many changes, to the actual structure of how things are going to be done, in the package that will pass, much later, tonight, we expect, which will actually govern the rules of the House.


BASH: But there are a lot of things that Kevin McCarthy promised that we're going to be learning a lot more about, in the coming hours and days.

TAPPER: And let's talk about that, Kasie.


TAPPER: Because, one of the things that was very important, to this gang of rebels, was that they were pushing for this thing called a 72- hour rule. 72 hours, before a big piece of legislation, important legislation comes, you can't vote on it, until at least 72 hours after.

I am hearing from a number of members of Congress, I'm sure you are too, who are distressed about what's going to be, in this rules package, about promises that Kevin McCarthy made, to these insurgents that are not going to be written down. They were made with a handshake.

HUNT: Yes.

TAPPER: Is this new Congress that has the 72-hour promise, you have -- you get 72 hours to go over all this important material, and also this promise of transparency? That's what they've been talking about. Are they going to have 72 hours from introduction of this brand-new rules package, are they going to have 72 hours before the vote?



BASH: No, they're not.

TAPPER: And is there are going to be transparency, in terms of all the promises that Kevin McCarthy is making, to members of Congress, to get control of the "People's House?" Because, this is not his House, to make these promises, it's ours. It's the American People's.

HUNT: It is.

TAPPER: So, is there going to be transparency on that too?

HUNT: Very.

TAPPER: I'm excited! HUNT: Really?

TAPPER: I am excited!

HUNT: You want to stay up all night and read it yourself?

TAPPER: No, I'm just saying, because they're promising transparency? So, I assume there's going to be complete transparency on this.

HUNT: Well, so far, it does not seem as though that particular promise is going to be kept. It's the unique--

TAPPER: Not that -- what about the 72 hours?

HUNT: The unique political -- well, I mean, this is, I guess, not a law, technically, right?


HUNT: It's just a package of rules, you know?


HUNT: I'm not one of these people negotiating, Jake. So, you'll have to put it to them. But I've seen a couple of them, tweeting already, they want to vote against the rules package, or at least one, I should say. And--

TAPPER: Congressman Gonzales, from Texas.

HUNT: Gonzales.


HUNT: Yes. They are jamming this through. And they're jamming it through, for a reason, because this is a very tenuous political moment, for Kevin McCarthy.

And if in fact, they were to delay this? I mean, he's gotten momentum, on the one side. The ball is rolling, with those, on the right. He knows that perhaps some of these things are going to be frustrating, for members, who are more to the center, of his Conference, as time wears on.