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The Lead with Jake Tapper
Funeral Services Held For Tyre Nichols In Memphis; Biden Legal Team Touts Cooperation With DOJ Amid Special Counsel Probe; Source: Nikki Haley Expected To Launch Presidential Bid Feb. 15; McCarthy Speaking With Reporters After Meeting With Biden. Aired 4-5p ET
Aired February 01, 2023 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BISHOP BRANDON PORTER, SECRETARY OF GENERAL BOARD, COGIC: We, too, remain restless and will be restless until justice is served for Tyre and his family. We, too, join the forces of those calling for the termination and persecution of the police officers and the first responders who stood by and did nothing as Tyre's life was being taken. We too use our collective voices at every level of government declaring now is the time to pass meaningful police reform legislation to give our mothers and fathers some degree of confident peace as their sons leave home, that they have -- that they may return home.
We, too, our fathers and mothers who have hurting hearts because of your needless pain. We too stand with you. And we too are committed to remaining on the battlefield until justice runs down like waters and righteousness like an ever flowing stream. We too join you in finding hope and comfort from these words from the hymn writer. His purposes will ripen past, unfolding every hour. The bud may have a bitter taste, but sweet will be the flower.
God bless you, and God keep you.
PORTER: Greetings to you, thank you for allowing us this space. Certainly to Madam Vice President, Dr. Sharpton, and Attorney Crump, and the host pastor, you've been incredible.
To this family, and especially to this mother and father who have calmed the beast in America, thank you so very much. There's a pastor scripture that says in First Thessalonians 5:18 -- forgive my voice. I've gotten over COVID, but I'm good.
In everything, give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Here's what you must know. Mother Wells, you said something incredible, that there's a reason for your son's death. I've never seen a tree eat its own fruit. In other words, your gift must be for somebody else. You're the tree that bore this amazing fruit. We've all been touched by the truth of Tyre's life.
Going through life, you know, there's a word that's mystery and there's another word called mysterun (ph). One is to have truth hidden like we've had during this episode. But then another mysterun, to have truth revealed.
The four gospels, you know, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, they're synoptic gospels because they're similar. It's kind of like, there were some body cameras that malfunctioned, but there was another camera called the sky cop that caught the view.
In other words, when one witness at a scene doesn't see everything because one witness saw it was a Chevy, the next witness says that I saw the license plate, the next witness says, I didn't see what kind of car it was or the license plate but I saw an accident. I don't care what you summarize, we still saw brutality. We saw an offense and that is something that has been revealed, would encourage you to know that even suffering has a point to it.
Jesus had a crown of thorns but guess what, a thorn has a point to it. Mother, you're right, there is a reason for this and as the old folks say, we'll understand it better by and by. Justice for Tyre. Justice for Tyre!
One final moment for a privilege that Al Sharpton has given me. I represent the Church of God and Christ, our presiding bishop. Thank you for coming to Mason Temple. It was epic.
Our presiding bishop, Bishop J. Drew Sheard, who could not be here, he's in Detroit. But Bishop LaDell Thomas Jr. who came all the way from Houston just to be here, one of our leading bishops in COGIC is going to read a statement from he and his wife, Lady Karen Clark Sheard. When you hear this statement and we've only had 45 seconds of peace, amen.
Blessings to you. God bless you. I love you.
BISHOP LADELL THOMAS JR., PASTOR: And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, right, blessed are the dead which died in the Lord. Ye said the spirit that they may rest from their labors and their works do follow them. I, along with my wife, Karen Clark Sheard, and the entire church of god and Christ are saddened to learn of the loss of your son, Mr. Tyre Nichols.
We offer you and your family our deepest and most sincere condolences. As the days and weeks pass, may you feel the comfort and love of family and friends. May your memories give you peace and the prayers around those -- of those around you through these difficult times. The Lord promise never to leave you. He will always be with you. You have our sincere prayers from the office of the president bishop and chief apostle of the Church of God and Christ, the Bishop J. Drew Sheard.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As we prepare to go down from this place anew, us to thank god for all of these women and men of God from the city of Memphis, Tennessee, all the pastors from Memphis, Tennessee, who are here today to be in solidarity with this family, will you please stand to your feet.
(APPLAUSE) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One, two.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let us also thank Reverend Stevenson from the --
PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Pamela Brown in Washington. Jake Tapper is on assignment.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: And I'm Don Lemon in New York.
And we have been listening to an emotional farewell, Pamela, in a celebration of life in Memphis, Tennessee. That's where hundreds of people have been gathering and gathered this afternoon for the funeral service for Tyre Nichols who was remembered as a loving son, brother and father.
BROWN: And this was also a call for justice with Vice President Harris and the Reverend Al Sharpton pledging to get policing reform passed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We demand that Congress pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. Joe Biden will sign it. And we should not delay and we will not be denied. It is non- negotiable.
REV. AL SHARPTON, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK: Some of us are going to fight until we make this legislation happen. I don't know when. I don't know how, but we won't stop until we hold you accountable and change this system.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: Forceful calls throughout the service for that. This was so much more, Don, than just a funeral or celebration of life. It really was a call for monumental change.
LEMON: It was a call for monumental change and for laws to be passed to help prevent this from happening again, Pamela. But I do have to say that on a personal note, and that everyone is feeling from their hearts today watching this, when you have a funeral service or a going home ceremony as it is called much of the time in the Black community, those are usually reserved for the most intimate members of the family or loved ones, and we are getting to witness over and over on the national stage, on national and international television the grief and the sadness and the suffering of many families across this country and most of them Black families.
The family today handled themselves with dignity, with grace in front of millions of people while millions of people are watching around the world. Again, this is something that is reserved for the most special family members and the most intimate moments of a family and this one is being played out in front of cameras. And it is -- it's heartbreaking to watch but we are watching along with the people there in Memphis and watching along with millions around the world. So it is a sad occasion that, sadly, is being played out way too often for public cameras when public cameras should not be in this type of event.
BROWN: Absolutely. And to drive that point home, Don, we have family members there of other Black victims who died at the hands of police just shining a spotlight on the magnitude of this problem that continues to happen over and over and over again. And to hear from the family members of Tyre Nichols, as you point out, so poignant.
Seeing RowVaughn Wells, the mother up there so emotional honoring her son and Tyre's brother, who said he didn't want to speak. He hadn't planned on it. He got up there to speak and he talked about how his brother saw life through a different lens than perhaps others in their community. It really touched me.
You know, his photography. He was a skateboarder. He had this really full, rich lifer that now is taken away from him so early.
LEMON: To think of the manner of his death. We have both recently lost close family members.
LEMON: And we would not want to be in front of cameras or having to deal with it publicly this way.
You did not hear any vitriol from the family members, simply recounting what they loved about their brother, their son, their loved one, saying -- talking about the changes that they wanted but not calling anyone names.
And I also found it very heartwarming and I'm not sure I could have been the same way for those family members that are saying that they in some way can forgive what happened but they won't forget. The mother said as much saying I feel sorry for the police officers and their families in an interview with them. I would say I don't know where that comes from, but I do know exactly where that comes from. I don't believe that I possess that level of faith and even empathy, but they do. This comes from a deep level of faith and a belief in god and belief in the teachings that they learned at the foot of their mothers and fathers as children.
BROWN: No, I think you're absolutely -- you could not be more right, Don. As you point out, we both lost loved ones. I know the feeling of being angry but I cannot imagine what they're feeling, the anger they must have to endure just trying to process that they've lost Tyre Nichols at such a young age at the hands of police brutality. The video we have all seen that's gone worldwide. They've never chose to call them bad names or anything like that. They just want change.
As you heard from RowVaughn, she wants something to come positive out of Tyre's loss. That's why they've been focused during the service on the George Floyd Policing Act. It is clear that that is -- they want something to come from this, Don, and that is what it is. It is amazing and beautiful to see the amount of dignity and courage they showed up on that stage.
You spent time up in Memphis. It was just last week, Don. The location was a focal point of today's ceremony. It is worth noting that this is also the same city where martin luther king Jr. Lost his life where this tragedy happened.
LEMON: Not only, Pamela, the same city, this is the same sanctuary where Dr. King, almost 55 years ago, gave his last sermon, that famous mountain top speech. This was the night before he was assassinated.
And as Reverend Sharpton pointed out, not far away in Memphis from the Lorraine Motel, the balcony where Dr. King was assassinated. So, the symbolism in what is happening here today should not go unnoticed. It is monumental that the same city where Dr. King fought for civil rights and human rights, here we are 55 years after his assassination and we have people fighting for the same rights and similar rights in this country. That should not go unnoticed.
BROWN: It should not.
I want to bring in on that note CNN's Ryan Young who is live for us in Memphis.
Ryan, what does today's ceremony mean for a city that has really been grieving?
RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I can honestly tell you, there are people who wanted to be here to wrap their arms around be this family. They cannot believe the strength this family has shown over the last few weeks. And as you guys were talking about the mother and the father and their kind words and sort of just their peace in this moment, think about the sisters and even that poem that really shook a lot of us out here as we were standing here.
The pain this family's had to go through in the spotlight, the grace that they've been able to have. The fact that they called for peace even after this video was released. I think a lot of people in the city are thankful and grateful for keeping the temperature at a certain level.
When you add all of this together, something you guys talked about. Pain is something that unites all of us whether you're Black, White or Brown, we all know what it feels like to lose someone. When you add the fact of how painful this video was to watch, someone begged for his life. When his sister talked about even while he was being beaten he was polite.
That was something that stirred me, too. He -- at no point did he even seem to get angry as he was being beaten over and over again. I've talked to some of the moms across this country who have lost loved ones from police brutality as well this week and they were telling me this is really torn them apart again because to hear him cry out for help and cry out for his mother is something that sat with a lot of them as well because they can only imagine what their sons were feeling in that quiet moment where they were just trying to get away, never fighting back like that, and all of it being captured on video.
The mom also extending sort of some grace to the police department here and the police chief, thanking them for the quick action. When you put all of this together, it's sort of surreal to watch how these all have played out right in front of the cameras. And as you two imagined and said right then, imagine being in your most painful moment and having to play it out right on TV and having the grace to answer questions over and over. I think it's been quite remarkable to see what this family has been able to do over the last two weeks.
BROWN: It is unremarkable, Ryan. You know, the feeling of grief, unless you've been through it you can never quite fully understand how deep it goes, right, Don?
BROWN: How hurtful it is.
And you just can't -- you can't say it enough. You know, to have to go through this grieve on the world stage, seeing your loved one being beaten by police unjustly, seeing your loved one saying what are you being so polite for and get up and speak so eloquently answering the questions over and over again. It is remarkable the amount of strength that we are seeing on display.
And I want to -- you know, so much of this is about -- so much of this is about what happened to Tyre but, Don, I would like to take a moment and read some of Tyre's own words from his photography website. They talked a lot about that at the services. Love for photography and skateboarding.
And you really get a sense of who he is in these words. He says, my name is Tyre D. Nichols. I'm an aspiring photographer. Well, I mostly do the stuff for fun but I enjoy it very much.
Photography helps me look at the world in a more creative way. He goes on to say, my vision is to bring my viewers deep into what I am seeing through my eye and out through my lens. People have a story to tell. Why not capture it instead of doing the norm and writing it down or speaking.
I hope to one day let people see what I see and to hopefully admire my work based on the quality and ideals of my work. So on that note, enjoy my page and let me know what you think. Your friend, Tyre D. Nichols.
LEMON: I'm so glad you read that, Pamela, because it speaks to the human being that he was and what everyone says about him, his mom saying my son wasn't perfect but he was darn near perfect. When we cover these stories we often say that there are no perfect victims, that everyone has something in their past, they didn't comply, they didn't do this, they didn't do that. I'm not sure -- I don't believe this is an example of that as we are watching the home going and the celebration of life ceremonies for Tyre Nichols in Memphis, Tennessee. I believe it's coming down to a close. But it has been a very, very poignant afternoon and very poignant day.
The words spoken on that pulpit, I hope they resonate with the people across the country and the world. There you have this beautiful American family sharing their worst moments, putting their grief out there for all to see and what you witnessed is pretty much what happens at most, except for the cameras and the dignitaries, at most black funerals and home going ceremonies around the country. Beautiful words, Pamela. I'm glad you read them.
Ryan Young is standing by. All of this happening in the wake of the ongoing investigation into Tyre Nichols death.
Now, I want to get us to Symone Prokupecz and John Miller who are both joining us now. Both of you gentlemen have been following the story. You've been doing investigative reporting, Shimon. And, John, I'm glad you're here to give us the information on what is happening with the investigation as far as the police. We are learning there could be charges filed over the initial police report filed in this case.
So, first to you, Shimon, what do you know about that? Why is that happening?
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, you heard Tyre's step-dad talk about when police came to the house, when they first were told about what happened to Tyre and how it was all surrounded by lies, deceit and trying to cover up. That is something that is very clearly the D.A. saying that they're investigating, looking at the initial reports that the police filed that has now surfaced online, there is a huge discrepancy between what actually happened and what we see on the video.
And s, as a result of that, as a result of what the family was initially told, the D.A. is now investigating the documents that were filed to see essentially if police were trying to cover up what happened here. And, you know, Kamala Harris talked about this and others certainly talked about this, about how these officers were not in the pursuit of public safety. I think those were strong words there.
And then the other thing, you know, listening to Reverend Al Sharpton talk about how these officers, these Black officers beat their brother and how, you know, so many leaders and Dr. King and how they fought for civil rights and that if it wasn't for those fights and for the marches and the fighting really these officers wouldn't even have the opportunity to be police officers.
And I thought that was quite a moment there. So, look, there's a lot here on this investigation that we still don't know, that the district attorney is still conducting and the police, but certainly a lot of emotion today and a lot of calls for justice and fight for justice and changes and police reform.
BROWN: And this also is bringing to focus, also, John, back to the Memphis police department, and the Memphis police chief, CJ Davis, she was praised for her handling of the investigation early on. Do you think that she is still being as transparent as she should be?
JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: I think she has got to walk the line between the transparency that is required by this, by a community, and the media that is demanding answers, without breaking and going over in transparency, without breaking the integrity of the investigation. You know, we are talking about an investigation that is into three parts, it state criminal investigation where you see five arrests of police officers. The internal administrative investigation, where her people are still carrying it forward, to see even those who may not be arrested may have violated rules and policies of the department. They mace face discipline or be fired.
And, of course, this third piece, which ultimately may end up coming and the criminal side, which is the federal civil rights investigation, where they were denying Tyre Nichols his civil rights under the law. As Shimon said, even the police report, it was deliberately fabricated to contain falsehoods, it could become part of a conspiracy charge under those laws.
LEMON: Shimon, I want to ask you I spoke about some of your reporting, I know that you are getting new reporting as the days move on. But the city of Memphis plans to release more videos and the Tyre Nichols case. What do we know about those?
PROKUPECZ: Well, you know, there is more body camera footage that we have not seen that belongs to officers whose names we have not heard yet, and who are under investigation. There are also the sky cameras, which has proven very important and pivotal in this investigation. It showed really the brutality, and the nature of what we saw here with the beating.
There could be other cameras in the neighborhood that show us perhaps this whole question about why did they stop it, what was the reason for this? This was one of the most puzzling things about this, why were the officers so aggressive in the initial moment?
So, maybe there is more video along the way that shows Tyre driving. You know, the police chief told you, Don, as you remember, that they have so far not found any evidence, any indication that he was driving recklessly to justify what the police initially had said for the stop. And then there could be audio we still haven't heard the radio communications between these officers and were they communicating and some other form?
Because when you look at that initial stop, and John and I have talked about this, they are all there. There are three cars not just surround him. How did they all get to that location at that moment. So maybe this audio and this other video will shed some light on that.
LEMON: Well, it's interesting, Shimon, because the sky cameras, a said they looked at it before the incident started and as you pointed out, as the police chief pointed out, no evidence of this reckless driving that they pulled him over for, as we know, that can sort of be a catchall for anything. Your turn signal is out, or you changed lanes without using a turn signal, so on and so forth, or if they just want to pull you over, it can be a catchall for police officers to pull people over.
But I do think it is interesting that they are releasing this, saying that they have other videos now went according to the police chief seat she said so far that no evidence of reckless driving at least from the video evidence that they have thus far.
PROKUPECZ: Yes. That is the thing -- thus far, they have not seen that. But you know, they have interviewed -- the last eight men from the police department that we got is that the interviewed some 30 people, internal and external parties that they have interviewed and that they still have more charges coming. I assume they mean internal charges for officers.
We don't know exactly what every officer reported doing, seeing to the police, perhaps they will shed more light on that. The city of Memphis is trying to be transparent, they say. We want to get to the point where we can give the media the press, as much as possible.
But because of the internal investigations, they, right now, are holding back. The other thing that I think that they have done here, brilliantly, is that they brought the family and on all of these decisions, letting them view all of these videos. And the videos that are to come, sometime in the near future, they say that the families have viewed as well.
BROWN: John, an attorney for the Nichols family says that everyone on the scene, from the police, to the EMTs, to the sheriff's deputies, they all failed Tyre Nichols as we see in the video, right? Does the fact that so many agencies were involved, and so many people were on the scene point to a larger issue with how these departments in Memphis are run?
MILLER: Well, I wouldn't even limit it to Memphis.
BROWN: Yeah, beyond.
MILLER: You know, there's a lot of standing around at these events when people call for backup, and standing around after the fact. But now it's time for a roll call of as this beating was going on, where was the one person, the one person who never seemed to emerge who was going to fill that duty to intervene which is I've seen this go too far. I need to be that voice. This is the kind of training that's going on all over the country.
You know what we saw today was a day of mourning for Tyre Nichols, but we also saw playing in the background of that a day of reckoning for law enforcement where they examined things like the culture of policing, if not policing at large then the culture of high end anti- crime units that go into high crime neighborhoods and does that culture need to be questioned, examined? Does that training need to go up? Deeper questions of race in policing, especially the confusion over five black officers charged with beating a Black man for seemingly no reason that has come into that conversation about when is race not a factor in being racist?
So there's going to be a lot of conversation at the highest levels of policing, on the grassroots of community organizers to say where are we going here? And you saw the legislative piece come up today which is where was the George Floyd bill that was introduced by Karen Bass when she's a congresswoman, now the mayor of Los Angeles with the second largest police department in the United States? So we're going to be in this conversation in a very deep way for a long time.
BROWN: That police department has been under scrutiny as well.
John Miller, Shimon Prokupecz, thank you for sharing your insights and reporting. Don Lemon, thank you as well.
LEMON: Pamela, thank you for anchoring this coverage with heart and with empathy.
BROWN: Absolutely. It is --
LEMON: It's a pleasure. Thank you.
BROWN: It is a sacred duty. That is for sure, Don. Thank you.
Well, up next, the extraordinary day the White House -- for the White House. Lawyers pressed on the FBI's latest search for classified documents at President Biden's Delaware beach house.
And inside the high stakes meeting that could impact the U.S. economy and the pocketbook of every single American.
BROWN: Topping our politics lead today, FBI agents search President Biden's Delaware beach house but left empty-handed as far as we know. It is a third time federal agents have looked for classified documents of one of his properties, and the timing here is notable.
Today, a special counsel Robert Hur's first official day investigating Biden.
As CNN's Paula Reid reports, even though no additional documents were found today, President Biden's legal battles are far from over.
PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Federal agents searching for classified documents at President Biden's Rehoboth Beach house as part of the ongoing special counsel investigation into possible mishandling of classified materials. The White House counsel's office today emphasized Biden's cooperation.
IAN SAMS, WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL'S OFFICE: We've been fully cooperative. The president has been fully cooperative. His lawyers are in direct discussions with the Justice Department and that's going to continue. REID: This is the second FBI search of a property belonging to the
president in just two weeks, and the third since agents visited his former think tank office for classified documents, discovered in November.
On January 20th, the FBI also conducted a similar search, also without a warrant, of his Wilmington home. After searching that residence for nearly 13 hours, investigators left with what Biden's lawyers described as six items consisting of documents with classification markings, and surrounding materials.
After nearly four hours in Rehoboth today, no documents marked classified were found. But Biden's lawyers said the Justice Department did take some materials and handwritten notes that appeared to relate to his time as vice president.
The president has tried to downplay the matter.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There is no there there.
REID: And his team has worked to differentiate it from the investigation into former President Trump, where prosecutors are looking at possible obstruction, in addition to his handling of classified material.
BIDEN: I have no regrets, I am following what the lawyers have told me they want me to do, it is exactly what we are doing.
REID: Even as some Democrats have expressed surprise at Biden's retention of classified documents.
SEN. DICK DURBIN (D-IL): When that information is found, it diminishes the stature of any person who is in position of them, because it is not supposed to happen.
MERRICK GARLAND, ATTORNEY GENERAL: To announce the appointment of Robert Hur.
REID: Today marks day one for Robert Hur as special counsel to oversee the investigation.
GARLAND: This appointment underscores for the public the department's commitment to both independence and accountability in particularly, sensitive matters.
REID: But, with a steady flow of new developments and details the White House did not disclose, the issue has become a political liability for the president.
REP. JAMES COMER (R-KY): The administration has not been transparent about what's going on with President Biden's possession of classified documents.
REID (on camera): There have now been dozens of classified documents found at the president's home and former office, and CNN has learned the FBI still coming through the material that it collected in its Wilmington search.
And, Pam, a short time ago, the White House would not say if the FBI has conducted other searches of additional locations. It is likely we're going to be having more developments in this case in the coming days and weeks.
BROWN: That is the lingering question, Paula Reid, thank you so much.
And just ahead for you, the Republicans who might be close to launching presidential campaigns to challenge Donald Trump in 2024. Is it too soon? We'll discuss.
BROWN: More now on the politics lead, a source tells CNN former South Carolina governor, Nikki Haley, could announce a 2024 White House bid in the coming weeks. Haley would become the first Republican to challenge Donald Trump for her party's nomination.
So let's jump right into this, we were all just talking during the break, the why. What is the benefit, David, for Nikki Haley to jump in this early against Donald Trump?
DAVID URBAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: We are talking about her right now, aren't we?
URBAN: A lot of earned free media that she can't afford to pay for otherwise. I mean, I think the thinking in her part would be that she gets out early, she kind of puts a marker down and says look, I am an alternative to Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis, right?
So I am a third play here. That's I think a clear path. And she's probably out banging out the bushes trying to make some money, raise some bucks.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Except that David and I are also giving everybody a big peak into what we talk about during the breaks. We are discussing that he is a Republican strategist, I spoke to another one before coming on saying that he is sort of thinking right now that it is so incredibly early, so no one really knows, but the thinking right now is that Nikki Haley takes votes not away from Donald Trump, but potentially takes votes away from Ron DeSantis, which might be why Donald Trump is saying come on in, the waters warm.
Because how did Donald Trump become the nominee in 2016? A lot of ways, but one of the ways as that there are so many opponents, they all split the vote for the Republican nomination and he ran away with it.
BROWN: Yeah, it would not be surprising than with Mike Pompeo's also giving hints that he's going to jump into the race soon, saying his recent visits to Iowa and New Hampshire have not been random. You would think that Trump wouldn't mind him popping in either, and some others.
RHONDA COLVIN, SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, THE WASHINGTON POST: Right, even talking about either Pompeo, or Haley, that might inject enthusiasm with the moderate Republican base because right now, as we know, she is going to potentially get back the speech that she is going to run on the 15th. That puts down the gauntlet right now where Republicans are going to have to choose, are they going to moderate route or are they going the Trump route?
As you're congressional Republicans, that is also your Republican donors. So, right now, officially, we are going to start seeing who they are going to coalesce on. But it is still early.
BROWN: It is still early, but also money is always part of this, right? I mean, fundraising.
ASHLEY ALLISON, FORMER NATIONAL COALITIONS: Yeah, one, Donald Trump on says many people in the race as possible because that fear as well for him. I think that when people run for president, they think about, can I actually win? But then there is also the number two slot on the ticket as well, and getting your name out early kind of defining yourself as a candidate when you are out ahead of the pack and not competing for airtime is a good opportunity.
I do think that Nikki Haley, her spectrum of politics is really spanned the gauntlet, like she has clearly been a pro-Trump type of candidate most recently. But when she was governor, she was a conservative governor of South Carolina, but she still can pull some of those moderates.
So, getting out ahead, trying to get some of those moderates not just do not want Trump, but also don't want Biden to go into her pot's -- and looks at DeSantis as Trump 2.0 gives any place to go right now as the field is still developing.
URBAN: She has a bit of time, Mike Pompeo is on his book tour, I saw him in town the other night. And Governor DeSantis is on a book tour and they will all be going to the same places. They're all going to be going the same places. They're all going to be going to Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina. So, she might not enjoy the spotlight for too long by herself.
BROWN: They're giving some strong hints that they're going to be part of it soon.
All right. So let's talk about the words, Houston's always part of the calculation here. This is according to filings, Trump's entire political operation is sitting on $81 million that includes all of the PACs. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has more than $75 million. Nikki Haley spike has raised about $2 million. How much will money actually matter in a presidential primary against
Trump, Dana, who we should note, is under multiple investigations, including related to his role in January 6th? We cannot have a conversation about Trump running without noting that.
BASH: Money always matters until it doesn't. Until you have somebody who is so well-known, ala the Donald Trump of 2016, who did not really have to spend a lot of money, at least in the primaries. But look, those numbers that you just showed, 81 million, that is a huge war chest in his PAC.
What he has not done since he actually became a candidate again is raised very much money. Like $9 million, I believe, in the six weeks since he announced. And my understanding is not because his email -- his fundraising list kind of atrophied, that he has spent so much time going to the well with the names on the fundraising list that he had to raise the $81 million that now they have got to kind of reboot and that takes some time to do that.
URBAN: And the PAC money cannot be spent -- certain money, everybody at home, it is incredibly arcane when the money could be spent for, right? So some money could be spent for staff, some money spent attacking other people. It is very highly regulated.
So as Dana correctly points out, raising the new money is very important. That new dollars that could be used, that hard dollars I could be used for this campaign, they have not been so successful at, and that is why Donald Trump did a small version of what he does. There is no giant auditorium, arena that cost $200,000, $300,000. It is much cheaper to go to a hotel, ballroom someplace, and do the retail.
I think that one of the things that Donald Trump, you just saw, it is retail visit, going to ice cream shops, shake hands.
What people don't remember is where do people get most of their news in America? Their local news and local news plays a heck out of that. I guarantee that ice cream visit played on every station, 100 times, people said what do you think about the president? What do you think about Donald Trump? And that is a home run.
So you can do a lot of those kind of things, they don't cost a lot of money, but to get a lot of traction.
ALLISON: Having that nest egg to start and continue this campaign is so significant, when you -- so many candidates -- if you look at the 2020 cycle for the Democrats, so many candidates dropped out, ala our vice president, Elizabeth Warren. Because they could not raise the money --
BROWN: I want to just press pause for a second because the House Speaker Kevin McCarthy just walked out of his meeting at the White House. Let's listen. REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I don't like
putting words in his mouth, we had in our conversation about this that I thought was a very good discussion. We walked out saying that we would continue the discussion. I think there is an opportunity here to come to an agreement on both sides.
I think that is the best, that is what the American people want. They want to be responsible and sensible about this. That is exactly the way we have handled it.
I told president, I would like to see if we can come to agreement long before the deadline, we can start working on other efforts.
REPORTER: Where should those budget cuts come from right now? Medicare and Social Security the White House insists Republicans want to cut, what --
MCCARTHY: Let me be clear about that, not being clear -- no, we're not talking about that. To really be able to do this right, I'm not going to negotiate this in the press, right? I respect the conversation we had together and we will continue that.
REPORTER: You said today that you have the big plan, when are you going to share that big plan?
MCCARTHY: Look, I think the president and I have talked about a lot of different ideas. We were to see if we can come to agreement.
Look, I know you -- I know you all have a job to do, but I don't think we'll come to an agreement if I negotiate with you. I think the respectful way to do it is to talk to the president as we did right now for more than hour. We both walked away, we had different perspectives, but we both laid out some of our vision of where we want to get to.
I believe after laying it out, I can see where we can find common ground. I think the American public would appreciate that.
Look, I've been very -- I've been very clear. The current path we are on, we can't sustain it. We've got to change the trajectory to put ourselves in a path to balanced. How we get there will be our discussions.
REPORTER: Did you have a chance to talk with President Biden about supporting Ukraine and can those budget cuts in fact support for Ukraine?
MCCARTHY: What we talked about today was about moving forward and how we can move through the get ceiling and how we get agreement. I believe if we are able to get to an agreement, we have a funding agreement for the next two years. You won't see omnibuses anymore. You will see the Senate and the House actually do the job the American public has elected them to do, to walk through the appropriation process, which is the manner in which to do it. The American public can see where we are spending our money. I think there is a lot of savings we can find for the American
taxpayer. Look, these are hard working taxpayers, I know there's a lot of places where those wasteful Washington spending. I find that we can find an agreement there.
REPORTER: What's your reaction to China's warning you against visiting Taiwan? Any reaction to China's warning against visiting Taiwan for you?
MCCARTHY: I don't think China can tell me where I can go at anytime or any place.
Listen, the president and I are trying to find a way that we can work together and we will continue to do that.
REPORTER: What would you tell American parents raised their kids across this country right now, and they see this national debt, $31 trillion going and going, they are worried that their kids future is going to be buried in debt? What would you tell those parents right now?
MCCARTHY: I'll tell those parents, that's why I'm here. That what is why I'm here, to make sure their children do not have and continue this debt. If we just look, if we change -- continue the trajectory that we are on, in the next ten years, we'll spend $8 trillion just on interest, $8 trillion just on interest.
What that means, though, because of the spending has been going, on that is what you have inflation. American strength will shrink. Everyone has always had, it doesn't matter what occupation you are, and whether you are U.S. general or not, the greatest threat to America is our debt. Our debt is now at 120 percent of GDP, meaning our debt is larger than our economy.
This is higher than at any time in American history. It is higher at any time in American history when the revenues that are coming into government are higher than any other time.
So we have got a lot of revenue, we just have a spending problem, and that's where we can find common ground.
REPORTER: Mr. Speaker, can you commit that the U.S. will not default on its obligation?
MCCARTHY: Look, if I look at anything, and you want to equate this, if you're a child and you give him a credit card, and they spend that limit, you're responsible for paying that credit card. But the responsible thing too is going forward, not just raise the limit, but look at how your spending.
You know, I look at Chuck Schumer, he's never passed a real budget, he never passed any appropriation bills. But he puts a $1.7 trillion omnibus coming through. The American public doesn't want that. This is their hard earned money. They don't want government to take more of it, they don't waste it.
So, now is a moment in time, we've got five more months -- I just walked out having an hour conversation with this president that I tell you in perspective was a good conversation. No agreements, no promises, except that we will continue this conversation.
I want to continue it on behalf of the American people, on behalf of the parents, on behalf of every taxpayer here, that we put ourselves on a trajectory that makes America stronger, secure, and balanced.
MCCARTHY: You both have already asked. Who is not asked a question? Yes, sir?
REPORTER: Mr. Speaker, what do conservatives and Republicans have when you talk about reducing the debt and deficits --
MCCARTHY: That's a great question.
REPORTER: -- when in previous administration, when Republicans had control of both the White House and Congress, they run up the bill?
MCCARTHY: OK. Let's go by the sheer facts and figures, all right? So, Republicans were in the majority for eight years, and then the Democrats came in the majority for the last four years. So, in the last for years, the Democrats have increased discretionary spending by 30 percent over 400 billion dollars.
When the Republicans were the majority, twice that long, the discretionary spending can go up $1, and it went down ten billion. I think the credibility lasts easily with the Republicans.
If you want to argue about, from a place where the president -- the past president, if you continue down the same path, this presidency will spend and put us in debt, much greater than before. So, look, I'm not in a place when one point fingers, I'm in place of being the speaker of the House. My role right now is to make sure that we have a sensible, responsible ability to raise the debt ceiling, but not continue this runaway spending. This is a moment in time that for all American households, every family does this, every business knows this, every state government, every county government.
When they have spent too much, they have reigned back, looked where investments will be better, and sat down and talked in an adult fashion. That is the conversation I just had with the president and that's the conversation I want to continue so we can come to an agreement.
(CROSSTALK) REPORTER: Would you accept a commission to study spending cuts or would you need actual spending cuts --
MCCARTHY: Look, I don't need a commission to tell me where there is waste, fraud, and abuse. I don't need a commission to tell us where we are spending too much. I don't need a commission to tell us where $31 trillion debt.
No one needs a commission in the American public to tell us that we have spent too much. Just like any family. So, we don't need a commission to tell us to do our job that the American public elected us to do. For the next five weeks, and hopefully -- or five months, hopefully, it doesn't take that long, we can sit down and solve this problem.
MCCARTHY: I did not talk to them about classified documents. I came down here to talk about the debt ceiling and our spending. That is what we spent our time doing.
REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE) are you going to push through bills for that?
MCCARTHY: Come to another press conference, right now it is the conversation about the president with regards to debt ceiling and spending.
REPORTER: Did you give details to the plans that you want spending cuts with the president? Details --
MCCARTHY: Look, we talk in different perspectives as our first conversation. We talked about a lot of different ideas. Look, I don't give any false impressions, he gave me his perspective and I gave him our perspective.
But I believe in hearing both perspectives, like anything else, be it business, be in family, be it relationships, that you can find common ground.
There's nothing in there with me walking away that does not believe at the end of the day that we can come to an agreement, that makes America stronger, puts us on a path to balance, and exactly what the American people are asking us to do. It is our responsibility.
Yes, last question.
REPORTER: Even if we do reach and we are in with the president, are you concerned that members of your party are going to go along with it?
MCCARTHY: No, we just met today at a conference. Look, the Republicans are very united. I think, had we not been elected to the majority, we would not be having this discussion. The American people would not have an advocate here to curb the waste and spending that's happening. So, I think this is a positive. This is exactly how government in America is designed. You have to find compromise.
The American people made a decision to have the Republicans in power in the House. The Democrats have a small majority in the Senate and the Democrats have a president. But we are all Americans and we all have to work together.
But the one thing I do know is, our debt is too high, we have waste in our government, and we decide down together in a responsible way to put us on a path to balance that will make the future of America stronger so the next century will be ours.
Thank you all for the job you're doing.
BROWN: That's House Speaker Kevin McCarthy speaking after meeting president the White House. More of our coverage next in "THE SITUATION ROOM" with Wolf Blitzer.