Return to Transcripts main page

At This Hour

House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) Speaks Amid Push for Votes on Bills Today; Critical Day in Trump Effort to Keep January 6 Insurrection Docs Secret; Gunfire Interrupts St. Louis Mayor at Gun Violence Event. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired November 04, 2021 - 11:30   ET


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): Generations in the best possible way.


And young people have taken the lead on this, so it's very exciting.

So, on the Build Back Better, one of the other issues we were dealing with since last week is the immigration issue, where I think we're finding common ground in what is in the bill has good resonance. Others want more, so do I, I want it all, but you don't get it all, and we would be open to it. What we're having in the legislation, which I'm sure you're very well versed in, is the work permit and protection. And we would like to have registry in there because we think it is the easiest, most efficient, fair way to deal with people who are here so that they can work and their families can feel safe and that they will not be exploited. But it doesn't seem to have a big prospect in the Senate, so we want to ask members to vote for something that wouldn't have a good prospect on the Senate that is controversial.

If the Senate though, and I urge them to put it forth, it wouldn't (INAUDIBLE) the chair -- the -- excuse me, the parliamentarian perhaps not getting bogged down in their rules, it's up to them, but it's their calling. If they want to do that, we want to do that, but it has to start with them because it is -- the parliamentarian has already put forth the message that this would not -- this would be either veritable or privilege and we can't have that.

So, what else? I guess it's time to take your questions.

REPORTER: Madam Speaker --


REPORTER: What effect do you think having not passed these bills had on Tuesday's election results?

PELOSI: Well, let me say it a different way. I think that getting the job done, producing result for the American people, is always very positive. Each election is different. As you know, I was former party chair and I always know, let's look down into the numbers and see what it is. But I do think as the American people learn more about what we are doing in this legislation, for families, for children, for women in the workforce to save our planet, it will be very positive. You can't deny that it would be very positive.

REPORTER: Do you think Democrats were penalized for having not gotten these things done?

PELOSI: Again, I haven't seen all of the analysis, and I know from my own experience that, as I've said to you before, the plural anecdote is not data. Let's see what the data is as it comes in.

But there's no question. The more results we can produce in a way that is -- people understand in their lives, the better it is. I'm heartbroken because Terry McAuliffe is a great leader in our country and was a great governor of Virginia, and I'd hoped that he was a once and future governor. But, also, we're all interested in down ballot races as well. So, I haven't seen much of that.

New Jersey, nice victory. I spoke to the governor this morning to congratulate him. And, again, we'll be working together to build back better.

But without saying what impact it had, it's always a positive message to have results that are understand by the public.

REPORTER: Could you project this week a little bit what you expect? Do you expect a vote tonight? And is it possible you might just vote on the infrastructure bill considering everybody seems to be bought in and saying it's ready for a vote?


REPORTER: Okay. So (INAUDIBLE) Build Back Better today and what are the big hurdles you have to overcome?

PELOSI: I'll let you know as soon as I wish to. Okay, you're just worried about your own schedule. I know. I know that. But the fact is that our members are engaged in very thoughtful deliberation with each other. As I said to you before, 90 percent of this bill had been agreed to, House, Senate, White House, and written. We've made some changes since last week. People need to familiarize themselves with it. That was the purpose of our meeting this morning. As I said, it made me very proud. I was inspired by just once again hearing the depth of knowledge and breadth of vision of our colleagues. And we'll let you know.

But I think many of you know I was really very unhappy about not passing this last week. I really was very unhappy, because we had an October 31st deadline, and I thought that that was eloquent but not enough, I guess. So, now we're going to pass both bills. But in order to do so, we have to have votes for both bills.


And that's where we are.

REPORTER: Madam Speaker, you just mentioned that you don't want members to vote on something that may not have a good prospect when it goes over to the Senate. When it comes down to paid family leave, which is now included in this bill, Senator Joe Manchin believes that it shouldn't be in this bill. Do you believe that the president can convince him otherwise? And what's your message to Senator Manchin on why it deserves to be in this bill?

PELOSI: Well, I don't make it a habit of talking to Senator Manchin on the T.V. We're friends. I respect him. He's a good person. He's agreed to so much that is in the bill, universal pre-K and child care, agreed to affordable care expanded to embrace those who are left out of the Medicaid, especially our seniors who depend on that for long- term care. He's been supportive of the child tax credit. There are so many things, home health care and the reSt. Some of the stuff in green, we're not finished with that yet, but we have had some areas of agreement there.

But the fact is there's one difference between some of these issues, like hearing, he's not for hearing in the bill. Hearing has a very broad universal support in our caucus. In terms of family medical leave, it's no sacrifice for anybody to vote for something that might not see the light of day. And we hope it will see the light of day. We can afford it. It's universal. It's compromised, four weeks. I'd rather have it longer. I wanted it six weeks because that's when little babies can finally be able to go to child care, but, nonetheless, four weeks.

So, my message to not Joe Manchin, I mean, we talked enough, he knows about my messages, but with all the respect in the world for the point of view he represents, I disagree. I think that this is appropriate for this legislation. It fits very comfortably with child care, health care, home care, family and medical leave. And it has the full support of our caucus.

There are other issues that -- for example, registry, which may or may not, people will be willing to vote for it if there's a real prospect for success in the Senate. And we'll have to see what that is. So, we reserve the right to make distinctions among them.

REPORTER: Can you respond to some moderates who have said maybe they need more time to review the legislation?

PELOSI: Well, you know, this has been up for -- first of all, this is the bill basically, we had $3.5 trillion, and then we had to cut it in half, so that was drastic, and that's what was posted last week. Now, we ask for public comment, and we had public comment. You act upon the comment. And that is -- this would ordinarily be a situation, more on the subject you ever want to know, and rejected as soon as these bills are passed because it will not useful in your life for the future.

On reconciliation, you really can't do an expansive manager's amendment. We put the bill out last week. There are changes, manager's amendment, passed it on. Reconciliation, you have to have it embraced in a totality of another amendment, but it's really that it contains it all so that it adds up. That's what reconciliation is about.

And so when people are saying, well, this is a whole new bill, no, it isn't. But if you imagined it as a manager's amendment, it might be easier to grasp because you're just seeing the differences. And that's what members presented today. So, again, no manager's amendment, reconciliation that is substantive. Therefore, you have to cloak it or couch it in a similar -- this is called an amendment this week was called an amendment as well, an amendment of the nature of a substitute. Is that going to serve you well in your life?

REPORTER: Are you concerned that the parliamentarian has passed as an immigration project either inhibits your ability to produce an impartial judgment on immigrant relief proposals?

PELOSI: I mean, the judgment about the parliamentarian is one for the Senate, for the Senate. I just don't agree with the original, that the policy outweighed the budgetary aspects of the bill. But she's the parliamentarian. You have to talk to the Senate about judgments about their people.

REPORTER: Your leadership took a whip count, the deadline was about a half hour ago.

PELOSI: I'm sorry?

REPORTER: Your leadership took a whip count of members on the Build Back Better act. The deadline for that was about half an hour ago. Are there Democrats still saying that they're not going to vote for this? Do you have the votes to pass this by the end of the week?


PELOSI: Well, you are my priority. I came right from the caucus to this meeting, so I'm not familiar with what that is. But, again, we have questions that members had, whether it's about is it really paid for. That was one of the questions.

Yesterday, we had a session where we listened to them and they want to know is it really paid for and how. We had this morning Richie Neal and Brian Deese from the White House talk about how it was and with the idea -- that was early. At 10:00, the joint tax committee would be released. Have you seen it? You've seen it. Okay. That was one piece.

The other piece was about inflation, and we had the experts' opinions, in fact, very recent, today from Moody's that the bill was paid -- since it is paid for, it would not increase inflation. And, in fact, it would add to our economy because of child care enabling men and more women to fully participate in it. So, I haven't seen it.

I was going to say, did you see the whip count? Because I'll tell you something about Mr. Clyburn, he keeps it close to the veSt. Even as speaker, I'd say that. Mr. Clyburn, how are we doing?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A number of the Virginia Democrats who are very critical of the decision not to put the infrastructure bill on the floor before the election, and they say that contributed to Terry McAuliffe's loss. Do you believe the House Democrats, in any way, are partially responsible for what happened on Tuesday? PELOSI: Wasn't that the question you asked?

REPORTER: Similar.

PELOSI: What I said was any sign of progress is always the good for the public when they understand what it is. And I think they understand infrastructure pretty well. So, it would have been better if we had. I don't know because I hadn't seen the data. Perhaps you had. I think there were other issues at work in that election and it remains not for me to make an observation unsubstantiated by data and science and fact.

I'm very scientific about elections. District by district, within the district region by region, and we'll see what that is. But it was not a good night. So, let's just not go away from that. But you have to ask -- if that's what they said, that's your story. I'm not going to comment on their story.

REPORTER: So, we have this number from the joint committee on tax.


REPORTER: Obviously, you have the blue dog (ph), moderate Democrats who are holding out --

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN AT THIS HOUR: All right. We've been listening to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaking to reporters. A couple interesting points, one, as Manu just asked about her take on election night and if Democrats' inaction contributed to the loss of Terry McAuliffe, she didn't really comment, but she did say it was not a good night.

Additionally, on the path forward on this massive spending bill we're talking about, she is pushing for votes tonight. And tomorrow on this, it is definitely still unclear if that is going to happen. We're going to stick close to this. I'll be sure to bring you updates.

Also happening at this hour, it is a critical day of testing Donald Trump's powers as a former president. A federal judge is hearing arguments right now from Trump's legal team trying to keep White House records from January 6th, to keep them confidential, records that could shed light on his attempt to overturn the 2020 election.

The House committee investigating the Capitol insurrection wants the National Archives to hand over more than 700 pages of documents here. Trump sued to stop that, arguing executive privilege.

Now, my next guest played a role in making sure the 2020 election was not overturned. Brad Raffensperger is Georgia's secretary of state, the author of a new book called, Integrity Counts, in which he writes forcefully against Donald Trump's false claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election. Secretary Raffensperger, thank you for being here. I appreciate your time.


BOLDUAN: Good morning. You often say, and I've seen you say a couple times, you're an engineer, not a lawyer. So, you don't like weighing in on legal matters, but would you like to see what these documents could reveal about Trump's efforts to overturn the election that a federal judge is kind of hearing arguments about today?

RAFFENSPERGER: I think transparency and openness is always a good thing so that people can see the entire picture of exactly what did happen in the paSt. And that's why I wrote my book, Integrity Counts. It's fact-based. I go back day-by-day of everything that we faced in our office, and that's what really our focus was, what happened in Georgia, and so I can report to the people, just like I did a year ago, that President Trump come up short in the state of Georgia. And then I give you all the facts that support that.

BOLDUAN: I want to remind viewers, and we've heard this many times, but it still shocks me every time I hear it, about the phone call that thrust you into the center of Donald Trump's attempt to overturn the election.


It's a long call, but here is just a portion of it to remind viewers.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: We have won this election in Georgia based on all of this. And there's nothing wrong with saying that, Brad. The people of Georgia are angry. The people of the country are angry. And there's nothing wrong with saying that, you know, that you've recalculated. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have.


BOLDUAN: You write in your book that -- and this is how you write it, I felt then and still believe today that this was a threat, talking about what was laid out in that call. You have said that the select committee has reached out to you. And I'm curious, what does reached out mean? Can you explain?

RAFFENSPERGER: Well, we just had conversations with our lawyer and perhaps I'll be up there just to share my insights and what I saw there. And so that's going on right now. But in that call, President Trump did say one thing that I agree with, that people were angry. And the reason people were angry on my side of the aisle, because I'm Republican, is because they had been fed lie after lie, misinformation, misinformation, falsehoods after falsehoods. And that's why I detailed in my book every single allegation that was made and so I can correct the narrative.

Now, I know I'm just one person. I don't have 80 million Twitter followers, and so I know what I'm up againSt. But I just want to calmly and factually explain to people, here are what the facts are.

BOLDUAN: And you do lay that out. And as you just said, you think that you may go up to speak to the committee? RAFFENSPERGER: Who knows? That's up to the committee. I know that they want to really make sure there's an open and transparent process. I think people know it was a shock to our system. I think perhaps people understand that that was really the straw that broke the camel's back. But we want to make sure that everyone understands in Georgia, we have fair and honest elections, and I want to make sure that people understand I will walk the line of integrity to ensure that we have fair and honest elections.

BOLDUAN: Because the committee itself and its efforts has come under attack from Republicans on Capitol Hill. Do you support the efforts of the select committee to get at this, to get at the extent that Trump went to overthrow the election and his role in motivating the attack on the Capitol?

RAFFENSPERGER: I think that if we have an open and transparent process, people who look at the information, I don't think we want to minimize it and I don't think we want to conflate it. We just want to look at what the objective truth is, and the fact that President Trump did not carry the state of Georgia. And that's what I can talk about that because that's my job, as Georgian. It's not other states and not really what happened on Washington, D.C. We all watched what happened on January 6th and people can draw their own conclusions.

And so I think that the work they do, I hope it's solid work and we'll see what their report says at the end of the day. But I want people to understand that in Georgia, 28,000 people did not vote for anyone for president. They skipped that, yet they vote down ballot. And Senator David Perdue he got 20,000 more votes than President Trump did in the metropolitan areas of Atlanta and also Athens. That explains a lot why President Trump came up short.

BOLDUAN: You recount in your book as well the attacks that you faced after the 2020 election, death threats texted to your wife, an encounter with someone outside of your home. And a local Georgian election official with whom you have clashed with in the past, he just yesterday announced that he's resigning at least in part over death threats that he and his staff have faced, a local election official in Georgia.

This speaks to a larger -- the larger national problem that is not going away, which is the serious threats and fear that election officials are living with, and Donald Trump made that okay. How concerned are you about the long-term impact of this?

RAFFENSPERGER: Well, what we saw in Georgia after the election is we had poll workers -- in fact, we had some poll workers who were followed home in Bartow County, which went over 75 percent of President Trump, followed home. And that's the kind of intimidation that should never occur. I mean, while a young poll worker in Gwinnett County was threatened along with his family members because he had a unique last name kind of like I do. And so that should never happen. And then we had election directors.

If you have an election and your poll workers don't show up, what are you going to do? And so the poll workers are really giving back to their committees. It doesn't pay a lot. It's a 14-hour day. And then you have to do training. You need to recognize that those people that are your poll workers are people that you meet at the grocery store. You see them out there at the ball field, see them at church, or rotary, organizations like that. They're good, honest, decent people. They're salt of the Earth people just giving back to their country to make sure we have fair and honest elections. And we should never allow that to happen again.

BOLDUAN: Secretary Raffensperger, thank you for your time.


BOLDUAN: A quick programming note for all of you, join Jake Tapper for a CNN special report called Trumping Democracy, An American Coup.


It airs at 9:00 P.M. Eastern tomorrow night on CNN.

Coming up still for us, the mayor of St. Louis is trying to do something about gun violence in her city only to have a speech that she's giving about that interrupted by gunfire. She joins me live, next.


HILL: I'm going to turn now to America's gun violence epidemic, which is surging during the pandemic. The FBI reports that 2021 gun violence rates were up nearly 30 percent compared to the prior year. And if you take one local example, homicide in St. Louis, Missouri was the highest in the country last year, the worst the city has seen in 50 years. And take a look at what happened recently when the mayor of St. Louis, Missouri, was out in public addressing this issue.


MAYOR TISHAURA JONES (D-ST. LOUIS, MO): What I did hear today from Brother Al in curing (ph) violence is that -- well, isn't that wonderful?


BOLDUAN: What you heard there very clearly gunshots.

Joining me now is that mayor, mayor of St. Louis, Tishaura Jones.


Mayor Jones, thank you for being here.

JONES: Thank you for having me.

BOLDUAN: One thing that strikes me, and I know you also noted it, is you do not flinch when those shots rang out so clearly as you're speaking to cameras. What does that say? I mean, do you, as the mayor, feel safe in your city? JONES: So, yes, I absolutely feel safe in St. Louis. But what it speaks to is a broader desensitization of the environment that I live in, that my son lives in, that many black and brown families live in in our city because of the proliferation of weapons that, you know, everybody has access to a gun.

BOLDUAN: The pandemic has made crime worse in many cities across the country, as we've noted. There's no one single solution. There's no one solution for every city, every town, every state. What are you doing in St. Louis to turn this around, to stop this trend? And when do you think you're going to know if it's working or not?

JONES: Well, I think that some of the things that we've started to do are already working. We are making market investments in community violence intervention programs. We set aside an additional $5 million from ARPA funds that were granted to the city through the American recovery plan act, through the federal government. And then also we're encouraged by the Build Back Better act that is going to set aside $5 billion for CBI initiatives.

But it's going to take addressing the root causes of crime, and that's going to take time because we didn't get to this problem overnight, and we won't get out of it overnight. But we're already seeing that homicides are down almost a third from last year, and then we're also deploying different deployment strategies of our existing force to make sure that we are present in neighborhoods and doing more community policing. So, this coupled with other violence intervention initiatives, we're starting to see some progress.

BOLDUAN: On Tuesday, voters in Minneapolis, Minnesota, rejected a ballot measure that would have replaced their police department with the way it was described as a public health-oriented department of public safety, and the voters rejected that. What do you think that says about the push for police reform and criminal justice reform after George Floyd's murder there?

JONES: Well, I think you absolutely have to consider gun violence as a public health crisis, and that's what we're doing in the city of St. Louis. We are going to declare gun violence as a public health crisis and use all of the tools in the toolbox to help address that with our new health director, Dr. Hlatshwayo Davis. We're going to pull our flagship universities and hospitals to the table and see how we can address root causes and the social determinants of health.

I don't see that as a rejection. I just see that the people are saying that they want to go in a different direction and we have to transform our public safety system to one that leads with prevention instead of arresting and incarcerating.

BOLDUAN: But in your city, it's no consideration of, you know, getting rid of or replacing the police department as part of that strategy?

JONES: No, absolutely not. We're trying to transform our public safety system, again, to one that leads with prevention and not arresting and incarcerating. And we started a cops and clinicians program earlier this year that pairs officers with licensed clinical social services and other behavioral health responders. We've diverted people from jail. We've prevented suicides and also diverted people from our emergency rooms. So we have to take a different holistic approach to public safety in order to move forward.

BOLDUAN: It takes a whole community. You're doing some really interesting things in St. Louis in that regard.

You mentioned the Build Back Better act. I know that you're supportive of the administration's efforts here. I am interested though in your perspective in this battle within the Democratic Party, or you can call it negotiation within the Democratic Party in Washington right now. You have infrastructure and this major social spending bill being debated.

And as a local official dealing with these issues every day, is it more important right now or a priority for Democrats to push to go big, which is going to take some time, or is it better and more of a priority to get something done now and immediately know -- immediately knowing that it will be smaller?

JONES: Well, I spoke with my congresswoman, Congresswoman Cori Bush, and one of the things I told her is don't let perfect be the enemy of good. And so I think that, you know, the negotiations should continue to happen. Hopefully, through those negotiations, we can get Manchin and Sinema to agree on what they will support instead of constantly telling us what they won't support, and we need to get this done for the American people because people are dying, people are hurting, and these are great things within the bill that are going to save families and to save lives.

And so we sent our representatives to Washington, D.C. to represent us and to help us.


And, hopefully, we can get this passed before everybody goes home for a holiday break.

BOLDUAN: Mayor thank you for coming on.

JONES: Thank you for having me.

BOLDUAN: Thank you all so much for being with us today. I'm Kate Bolduan. "Inside Politics" with John King starts now.