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The Lead with Jake Tapper
Supreme Court To Rule On Access To Abortion Pill Nationwide; Supreme Court To Hear January 6 Case That Could Impact Trump; Federal Judge Pauses Trump Election Interference Case In Ruling That Could Delay March 2024 Trial; House To Vote On Launching Impeachment Inquiry Into President Biden; Nikki Haley Scores Big Endorsement From New Hampshire Governor Sununu; White House Struggles To Square Biden's "Indiscriminate Bombing" Comment With Claim Israel Is Trying To Limit Civilian Casualties; House To Vote On Resolution Condemning Antisemitism On Campus; Dow Reaches Record High As Federal Reserve Pivots Toward Rate Cuts; New Deal Reached To Transition Away From Fossil Fuels. Aired 4-5p ET
Aired December 13, 2023 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
We start today with breaking news. In our law and justice lead, a federal judge has just paused Donald Trump's 2020 election interference case, which could lead to his March 2024 trial being delayed. Judge Tanya Chutkan says she is waiting for the U.S. Supreme Court to weigh in and decide if it will take up the question of whether Donald Trump ultimately has immunity for the alleged crimes he committed while president. More on that story in a moment.
Our other major legal headline also involves the U.S. Supreme Court, which is now set to play a major role in the 2024 elections. Today, the justices announced they will decide whether to restrict access to a widely used abortion drug, even in states where it remains legal. The case concerns mifepristone, which, one coupled with another drug, is one of the most common abortion methods in the United States, a prescription regimen that patients can use at home and have been for two decades.
This new case could be decided by July 2024, which would throw the court right smack dab in the middle of an election, where access to abortion and whether to be illegal is once again a key issue if not, for many voters, the key issue.
Today, the justices also announced today they will be considering an appeal from unindicted January 6th rioter. The justices will have to decide how a federal obstruction law can be used related to the Capitol attack or if it can be used at all. That could impact hundreds of criminal cases, including that of Donald Trump.
We're going to break down the impact of all of these major cases starting with CNN's Paula Reid who is taking a closer look at how the mifepristone case could affect millions of women across the United States. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
PAULA REID, CNN CHIEF LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Supreme Court says it will consider whether to restrict access to a widely used abortion drug.
Mifepristone, when taken with another drug, is one of the most commonly used methods of abortion in the U.S.
SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R-ME): Has this abortion drug been on the market for more than two decades?
DR. ROBERT CALIFF, FDA: Yes, 23 years, I think.
COLLINS: And has it been used by millions of women during that period?
CALIFF: Many millions.
COLLINS: Right now, the drug remains available nationwide. The Supreme Court put on hold lower court rulings that would impose restrictions that abortion opponents would like.
SEN. DICK DURBIN (D-IL): I'm concerned because more than half the abortions in this country are medical, medicinal. And these drugs have been legal in our country for years.
COLLINS: Last year, the conservative-leaning court overturned Roe v. Wade, altering the landscape of abortion rights in the U.S. Now, more than half of states outlaw or severely restrict the procedure. By agreeing to take up the case on mifepristone, the court will once again wade into the abortion debate, a decision which is expected by July which could put the justices in the middle of a presidential election.
Abortion has become a hot issue.
GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm pro-life. I believe in creating a culture of life.
NIKKI HALEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The unelected justices said that was wrong and it should be back in the hands of the people. I agree. That's where we should be deciding this.
KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president has been very clear here that he is going to fight that.
DEMONSTRATORS: Protect abortion rights!
REID: Abortion battles are also heating up at the state level. This week, the Texas Supreme Court ruled against a woman who sued for the right to an abortion in just hours after she fled the state to get her procedure.
KATE COX, PLAINTIFF WHO SOUGHT EMERGENCY ABORTION: There is no outcome here that I take home, my healthy baby girl, you know? So, it's hard, you know? REID: And this week, the Arizona Supreme Court heard arguments from
abortion opponents who want to revert back to an 1864 state law banning nearly all abortions.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Abortion is health care. And what that means is this court's decision will have a profound impact on the ability of pregnant Arizonans to access that health care.
REID: State Supreme Courts in Wyoming and New Mexico are also hearing arguments this week on abortion restrictions and in Michigan, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed a bill to extend access and repealed a state insurance coverage requirement.
GOV. GRETCHEN WHITMER (D-MI): Let's protect the freedom to make your own decisions without interference from politicians. And let's get it done.
REID (on camera): The court also said it will take up the case that could impact the federal elections subversion case against former President Trump. The court said they will consider whether parts of the federal obstruction law can be used to prosecute some of the rioters involved in January 6th.
And how they define that law could impact other cases, including Trump's.
TAPPER: And, Paula, let's get back to the breaking news. Walk us through this decision by Judge Chutkan in this federal 2020 election subversion trial against Donald Trump. Why is she pausing the case? How long could this pause last?
REID: She almost has to do this because these bigger issues about immunity, double jeopardy, those have been appealed to the court of appeals. She no longer has jurisdiction over parts of this case until these issues are resolved. The special counsel, mindful of the calendar and the clock, has asked the Supreme Court to just region, decide these issues and move along as quickly as possible so this case can still go to trial on March 4th.
But even today, just a few moments ago, Judge Chutkan, who was previously said something federal judges never say, Jake, she said this case is going to try on the day I set. She's even acknowledged that the day she has set here could have to move depending on how these appeals take because it's not clear. Usually, questions like this could take months, maybe even over a year to work is through the appeals court to the Supreme Court. But this is an extraordinary circumstance. It's a possibility the justices will answer this themselves.
TAPPER: OK. So, just to be clear here, so the special counsel Jack Smith, he appealed, he went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. He said we need to decide this issue of immunity, whether Donald Trump is immune from anything he did, potential crimes as president.
TAPPER: The Supreme Court said they are going to take that up?
REID: What they said is they will get back to you soon.
TAPPER: Will get back.
REID: They have to give the Trump team a little bit of time to weigh in. So, the Trump team has until the 20th to weigh in. Of course, they're not going to want the Supreme Court to take this up because the special counsel wants the Supreme Court to skip the court of appeals and just weigh in, so that this case can go to trial before the election. And they are relying on precedent from the Nixon Watergate investigation, where the Supreme Court was able to decide some discreet issues very quickly. So, that's what the special counsel is hoping. The Trump team has time to weigh in, and then we will find out if the Supreme Court is going to decide these issues.
TAPPER: So, the Trump team does not want the U.S. Supreme Court to weigh in because they want to drag this out as long as they can, is that right?
REID: Yeah. I mean, that's a fair assessment. While we are waiting for them to issue their briefs, we know. I talk to people close to the team repeatedly. They know that the merits of these arguments, that he has presidential immunity or double jeopardy issues, those are not going to prevail. So, it's all about delay.
So they want to stretch this out as long as they can. They would love to go to the court of appeals and take a few months to get to the Supreme Court. So they are likely to oppose this move.
TAPPER: All right. Paula Reid, thank you so much. Really appreciate it.
Joining us now to discuss, Democratic Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois.
Senator Duckworth, thanks so much for joining us.
So, your reaction to the news that a federal judge overseeing this federal election subversion trial is going to delay the case while Trump's appeals over presidential immunity play out, potentially all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court?
SEN. TAMMY DUCKWORTH (D-IL): Well, it's deeply -- I'm just deeply disturbed by this, you know? I think Trump is again trying to show that he is above the law or something. And they're not. And, unfortunately, we have a far-right Supreme Court that I'm afraid is going to continue to not follow precedent and rule in his favor.
Frankly, I think that everything should move forward and I think Trump should be forced to stand trial. But like everyone else, we're watching and waiting to see what's happening here. TAPPER: So, I know you have strong feelings about the U.S. Supreme
Court announcing today that they are going to take out the abortion medication case to decide whether to restrict mifepristone nationwide. What are your thoughts?
DUCKWORTH: Well, I mean, every American should be able to access medication in a manner that the FDA, the federal agency that Congress literally established to make these decisions, determines is safe and effective. Mifepristone is one of those medications. This far-right Supreme Court has already threw out 50 years of constitutional rights by overturning Roe and now they agreed to hear this case, it's understandable.
By the way, that many women across America are afraid this might be the first step towards a frightening future where their health care decisions are not decided by themselves and their doctors, but also by their personal belief of Samuel Alito and any other ultraconservative judge. So, I'm deeply concerned about this.
And, frankly, judges are not medical experts. Why are they making these decisions on behalf of the welfare and health of all women?
TAPPER: Earlier this week, you said that you will, quote, never stop working to enshrine the right to choose into law. What can Senate Democrats do if the U.S. Supreme Court decides to restrict access to this drug?
DUCKWORTH: Well, we can pass the Women's Right to Reproductive Health Care Act. And we can work to get that across the finish line. Frankly, we need to make sure that, you know, we oppose the (INAUDIBLE) deep- pocketed donors and corporate executives who have direct access to Supreme Court justices, as opposed to protecting the rights of women.
We're going to keep -- Democrats will continue to stand up in every level for women's right to choose, the right to have their own reproductive choices, to keep politicians out of their doctors offices. And if we have to do this state by state, we're going to do that. But certainly, at the federal level, I'm going to push for the Women's Right to the Reproductive Health Care Act.
TAPPER: Just to remind our viewers about the case of Kate Cox in Texas, that's the woman who sued, she wanted to end her pregnancy after learning that her fetus had a deadly condition, Trisomy 18. Her doctors were warning her that if she carried this child to term, her fertility was at risk, her health was at risk.
And Senator John Cornyn of Texas was asked to weigh in on the fact that the Texas Supreme Court was trying to force her to carry this child to term. Take a listen to what Senator Cornyn, your colleague, had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN CORNYN (D-TX): That's strictly a matter of state law. I'm a federal official. I'm not a state official. So I'm not going to comment on what state officials are doing. I'm happy to comment on anything that I'm responsible for.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Senator Ted Cruz, the other senator from Texas, also declined to comment. Your thoughts?
DUCKWORTH: Well, both of them have voted to try to, you know, march towards this nationwide abortion ban. Frankly, what happened to Kate Cox is horrific. Texas Republicans doing this to her. No one should be forced to leave their state to get the health care that they need and, again, Kate Cox is being forced to risk her health, just being forced to give birth to a fetus with a fetal condition and jeopardize her future ability to have another child if she wanted to, simply because she lives in Texas.
No women should have to go through that. Again, Republicans are continuing their march towards a state wide national abortion ban and I'll never stop working to enshrine the right of every American in every state to be able to have reproductive choice.
TAPPER: I've heard abortion rights activists say that the Texas case is actually an example of the so-called compromise that Republicans are talking about in existence. Because she is 20 weeks pregnant, no one is arguing that her life is at stake, her health and her ability -- her future for fertility. So, if the so-called 15-week compromise that some people, some Republican politicians talk about goes forward, Kate Cox would -- she would not be exam from it, that would ban her from being able to get an abortion nationwide as well.
DUCKWORTH: Yeah. Well, the compro -- I don't accept the compromise. I want to support and reinstate Roe v. Wade, and with the conditions that are under Roe v. Wade, but let me tell you this. In state after state that have enacted these statewide abortion bans, you had women who were having to sit in hospital parking lots bleeding out enter their life is finally in danger before they can get an abortion. And this is happening through these horrific stories.
And Kate Cox's story is equally horrific. She's tried to preserve her right to have a future child. They are preventing her from doing that. And while she has the resources to leave the state to access reproductive health care she needs, other women in Texas don't. And it is simply horrific we are in America today where women have to be forced to leave their state just to get the health care they need.
TAPPER: Democratic Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, thank you so much of your time today.
On Capitol Hill, we are nearing the scheduled vote as Republicans push to formalize an impeachment inquiry into President Biden.
Plus, there are new plans for the president son, Hunter Biden, who did show up today, not for testimony, but to talk in the way he wanted to talk, not behind closed doors, as Republicans wanted, but, well, look at that, right in front of Congress. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HUNTER BIDEN, PRESIDENT BIDEN'S SON: For six years, I've been the target of the unrelenting Trump attack machine, shouting, where's Hunter? Well, here's my answer -- I am here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: There he was indeed. President Biden's son, Hunter Biden, outside the Capitol this morning demanding to testify publicly before the Republican-led House Oversight Committee. The problem was the subpoena specifically for a closed door deposition.
Now, House Oversight Committee chairman James Comer says that his committee will start contempt of Congress proceedings against Hunter Biden for not acceding to their demands. This is as the House in the hour could vote to formalize an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden. After months of Republican holdouts saying there is no evidence tying President Biden to financially benefiting from Hunter's business dealings, they now seem to have turned around and are willing to vote that way.
CNN's Evan Perez is here.
Evan, Hunter Biden technically did not comply with the subpoena, for a closed-door deposition set for today. When you look at the January 6th hearing -- I mean, they did do closed-door hearing before they did, you know, a public hearing. Why is he so intent on testifying publicly? Does he have a legal basis for that?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, he says he doesn't trust the Republicans. And let's be clear, what he did today was defy the subpoena. The subpoena says, this is the place and this is the time. You are supposed to show up, and he did not do that. He went instead to the Senate side, aptly known as the Senate swamp.
PEREZ: There is a metaphor there for this whole show that we are watching.
TAPPER: The place that he's standing right now is called the swamp, that spot, yeah.
PEREZ: And, you know, the reason why is he says he doesn't trust that if he testifies behind closed doors, that they're not going to come out and just twist his words and try to use it against him. But, you know, as you pointed out, Jake, this is how usually it's done. It's very common for you to do. Closed-door depositions and then go out and then have a public hearing, if necessary. The two chairmen there who were sitting there waiting for him spoke to
the media, who were waiting there with him. Here's what they had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JAMES COMER (R-KY): This is an investigation about public corruption at the highest levels. We have accumulated mountains of evidence that is concerning to an overwhelming majority of Americans.
REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): Congress asked you to come, you are supposed to come and testify.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Wait a second. Jim Jordan said Congress asked me to testify, you have to testify. He defied a congressional subpoena. He refused to testify.
PEREZ: As I said, the Senate swamp, there is a metaphor in this whole show. I think one of the things that you are watching here, the idea that they are starting this impeachment inquiry and are also going to try to hold him in contempt, this sets up a few more months of this show, right? A lot of this is political. Hunter Biden sort of addressed that in his statements today.
But he does have real legal problems. He's going to be going on trial, potentially in two locations, in Los Angeles and in Delaware. So, those are serious things that Hunter Biden has to face.
TAPPER: It would seem, though, just a note, the House voting to start this inquiry today undermines the argument in the November 8th subpoena of Hunter Biden that it's demands were part of an impeachment inquiry that already had started. I mean, it would seem to undermine that already, right?
PEREZ: Right, it does -- it does because, you know, what they are doing now is trying to formalize. This one of the reasons they are one of the reasons they are doing that is because they know they have to try to push this forward and to try to see if they can use this in court to enforce some of their subpoena.
TAPPER: All right. Evan Perez, thanks so much.
Let's go to our 2024 lead right now. In 2024, Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley campaigning today alongside New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu. One day after that big endorsement from the Republican governor.
CNN's Dana Bash is in Concord, New Hampshire, where earlier today she sat down with Haley and Governor Sununu.
And, Dana, you asked Haley to respond to an attack from the town hall I hosted last night with Governor Ron DeSantis? DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Look, you know that
the governor of Florida, who you were with, the former governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, and Nikki Haley, they were all vying in a very public way for Chris Sununu's endorsement. And, look, Chris Christie was quite disappointed, even though he's been publicly quite different about it. Ron DeSantis was not thrilled, but when you asked him about it last night and he turned it not against the governor but against Nikki Haley.
So I asked both of them about that moment last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: Governor DeSantis did a town hall with CNN in Iowa last night. He was asked about this endorsement. And he said, even a campaigner as good as Chris is not going to be able to paper over Nikki being an establishment candidate. What do you say to that?
NIKKI HALEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You can say something but it doesn't make it true. I was a tea party candidate when I became governor. I was a strong conservative governor that brought an 11 percent unemployment down to 3 percent unemployment, that we went and we moved thousands of people from welfare to work.
We reformed education. We did tort reform. We did voter ID.
Then you saw me go to the U.N. I took the kick me fund off our backs and America was respected again. Everything I have ever done has been strong. It's been economic freedom, it's been individual freedom. It's been making sure that I have made people proud along the way.
So he can say establishment or whatever. I don't think labels matter. I think at the end of the day, this is, we're fighting to save America. I truly believe that.
And we're going to continue to do it. And Chris's endorsement has just really given us a big kick at a time that that momentum was building. And this is going to continue to take us where we need to go.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: And, Jake, where you were last night in Iowa with the candidate you were with, Ron DeSantis, he got a big endorsement there from the sitting governor, who is quite popular with Republicans, Kim Reynolds. According to the polls, that didn't give him a bump at all. And so, the big question is whether or not it will be different where I am here in New Hampshire with Governor Sununu.
The two of them are campaigning pretty actively together today. And they will continue to do so. Sununu says he will give as much as he can to try to get her numbers up, because she is very far behind Donald Trump here, just like she and others are pretty much everywhere across the country.
And one other thing I want to mention is that after they left, they went to a town hall and a voter stood up, Jake, and said to Nikki Haley, I don't want you to just talk around Donald Trump, I want you to go after him. So, in these new town hall environments, she is really hearing, with Sununu, from the voters who expect nothing less here in New Hampshire.
TAPPER: All right. Dana Bash in the great state of New Hampshire, good to see you.
Vivek Ramaswamy will get his moment on center stage tonight in the CNN presidential town hall. My friend and colleague Abby Phillip will moderate that discussion tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern, only here on CNN.
Then, immediately after, of course, stay tuned for "KING CHARLES" with Gayle King and Charles Barkley. That's at 10:00 Eastern, also right here on CNN.
Coming up, the White House today is struggling to answer for President Biden's comments yesterday in which he said Israel was indiscriminately bombing Gaza. Stay with us.
TAPPER: We are back with our world lead.
Tensions between the leaders of Israel and the United States continue to bubble to the surface after President Biden told donors yesterday that Israel's, quote, indiscriminate bombing is eroding global support for Israel. Biden candidly noted that when he brought that up with Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel, the response from Netanyahu was, quote, well, you carpet-bombed Germany, you dropped the atom bomb. A lot of civilians died, unquote.
Biden's description of indiscriminate bombing, of course, is decidedly at odds with the White House insistence that Israel has been trying to reduce civilian casualties.
CNN's senior White House correspondent MJ Lee joins us now.
And, MJ, you were all over this at the White House briefing today trying to figure out how these two things made sense, which, of course, they do not. And the White House spokesman John Kirby, he really struggled to support that.
MJ LEE, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Jake, you know, when the president made these comments yesterday, they were so striking because it basically doesn't get more blunt than the word indiscriminate to describe a country's conduct in war. And I came out of a pretty remarkable White House press briefing just now, where White House spokesman John Kirby continued, repeatedly, to insist that Israel has the intent to try to minimize civilian casualties, despite what the president said yesterday. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEE: Indiscriminate, just by definition, means without discrimination. It means not deliberate, not careful. Why insist the intent is there to minimize civilian casualties when the president himself said yesterday that Israel is bombing indiscriminately?
JOHN KIRBY, NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Sometimes in war -- and again, I'm not speaking for the Israelis -- sometimes in a war, your best plans, your best execution of those plans doesn't always go the way you wanted to go. It doesn't go the way you expected to go.
And we know that from bitter experience in our own military. No matter how price eyesight and targeted we try to be in Iraq and Afghanistan.
I'm saying as --
LEE: -- civilian casualties, but in practice that's not what you are seeing happen?
KIRBY: I'm saying that there is a clear intent by the Israelis, and intent that they have admitted to publicly, that they are doing everything they can to reduce civilian casualties. I'm saying and I have said earlier that we are seeing them act on that intent in positive ways.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEE: And, Jake, I want to be clear. A number of my colleagues also pressed curvy on these comments. I do just want to give you a sampling. Is Israel behaving in accordance with international law? Indiscriminately bombing Gaza, is that not a war crime? Does this mean the U.S. should put conditions on its military aid? At one point, he was even asked whether the president yesterday misspoke. That snippet you just played, that exchange with me sort of gives you a good sense of how John Kirby answered many of those questions.
I think we are clearly, Jake, seeing a White House that is increasingly struggling to answer to Israel's war tactics here.
TAPPER: Yeah. The short answer is, you can't square it. It doesn't make sense. You can either be doing everything you can to avoid civilian casualties or indiscriminately bombing. You can't be doing both.
MJ Lee at the White House, thanks so much.
Coming up, new fallout after the uproar over three college presidents and their testimony on antisemitism. There are accusations of plagiarism. And now, it's not just Harvard's president who is on defense.
Stay with us.
TAPPER: The U.S. House of Representatives is set to vote early on a bipartisan resolution condemning antisemitism on college campuses. And the testimony from three university presidents from Harvard, MIT, and Penn, who failed to say whether calling for the genocide of Jews violated their schools' codes of conduct. That disastrous congressional hearing last week, the president of Penn, of course, resigned five days later.
Harvard president Claudine Gay had also been under pressure to resign over her comments at the hearing which she later apologized for. She has also been accused of plagiarizing parts of four papers published between 1993 and 2017. Harvard's governing body says it is, quote, unanimously standing in support of president Gay, despite all of this and their analysis found, quote, no violation of Harvard's standards for research and misconduct. President Gay is proactively requesting for corrections in two articles to insert citations and quotation marks that were omitted from the original publications.
And now, House Republican Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik, Republican of New York, who has been leading the charge to highlight antisemitism across college campuses, is calling out for her alma mater to no longer stand by its president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ELISE STEFANIK (R-NY): This is a moral failure of Harvard's leadership and higher education leadership at the highest levels. And the only change they have made to their code of conduct, where they failed to condemn calls for genocide of the Jewish people, the only update to the code of conduct is to allow a plagiarist as the president of Harvard.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Meanwhile, Congresswoman Stefanik herself is also being accused of plagiarism by Democratic colleague, Congresswoman Kathy Manning. Congresswoman Manning says she drafted a letter to the boards of Penn, Harvard, and MIT following the hearing, which is then shared with Congresswoman Stefanik who made edits and made it her own. Stefanik denies it is plagiarism, she said Manning, quote, approached me on the House floor with a rough draft for a joint letter, I told her I would like to review it and would likely strengthen the language. Our offices then I decided to go in different directions with two separate versions, unquote.
Either way, Stefanik's true commitment to fighting antisemitism, wherever it is, is being questioned by a different Democrat, Congressman Jamie Raskin, who in a new CNN op-ed asks Stefanik five questions about antisemitism within the Republican ranks. He first asked if a presidential candidate is qualified to be president if he hosted, at his home for dinner, Nick Fuentes, an avowedly pro-Hitler Holocaust revisionist calling for a holy war against the Jewish people.
If you need a reminder, here is Nick Fuentes just a few days ago.
And just a reminder, this is a man Trump posted for dinner at Mar-a- Lago last year.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NICK FUENTES, WHITE NATIONALIST AND HOLOCAUST DENIER: When we take power, they need to be given the death penalty. The people that are suppressing the name Christ and suppressing Christianity, they must be absolutely annihilated when we take power. This is not the domain of atheists or devil worshippers or perfidious Jews. This is Christ country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: We wanted to ask Congresswoman Stefanik about the testimony last week, and these questions from Congressman Raskin and other issues. She declined to come on.
So, let's bring on Congressman Raskin.
So, Congressman Raskin, your first question to Stefanik was about that dinner that Trump hosted with Fuentes and Kanye West, and another Holocaust denier. You also asked this, quote, you regret endorsing Trump for president 2016, just days after he tweeted an image of the Star of David superimposed over Hillary Clinton's face in a thick pile of cash? Yes or no, Ms. Stefanik?
Did you -- did you get a specific response at all to these questions about antisemitism in the Republican ranks?
REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): No, not at all. She did just what the Ivy League college presidents did according to Ms. Stefanik. She evaded. In fact, she completely dodged the questions. She said that Donald Trump was the greatest president there'd ever been forward Jewish Americans. Then she gave five reasons that were not in answer to my five questions, but they included things like him moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the Golan Heights, and hit having destroyed the Iran nuclear agreement.
Those were all foreign policy issues related to Israel that have nothing to do with the questions I raised about domestic violent antisemitism, like the guy who showed up at the Tree of Life synagogue and murdered 11 in the worst antisemitic attack in American history. She has herself dabbled in great replacement theory. And, of course, the mass murderer in that case invoked great replacement theory about how Jews and George Soros were bringing in alien races to replace the native white population. And that's something that's been invoked in other mass murders,
including in Buffalo, in El Paso, Texas, and I asked her to deal with that question. But she wouldn't. So, she completely dodged and evaded everything I asked her about. But there are more and more questions being asked about her indulgence of or embrace of antisemitism by Donald Trump and by the Republican Party.
TAPPER: So, what I find -- I always find that so strange whenever anyone questions -- anyone aligned with Donald Trump about his flirtation with antisemites. And they immediately start talking about Jerusalem.
I don't live in Israel. I live in Washington, D.C. Why are you bringing up a foreign country? I mean, I understand it's -- it's a Jewish country, but that's like talking to a Catholic who's upset about discrimination against Catholics and talking about how great you've been to Rome.
That has nothing to do with what we're talking about.
RASKIN: Well, you've got it. And, in fact, Donald Trump is someone who constantly repeats that antisemitic trope and fallacy, he several times had different Republican Jewish groups come to the White House and he inevitably sad stuff, like, well, you people have a great country. We love your country. You have a great prime minister.
So, He treats American Jews like basically visiting Israelis, which partakes obviously of antisemitic myths about dual loyalty, and so on.
But, you know, the issue with Elise Stefanik is that while she's posing as a great champion of the Jews and an opponent of antisemitism on campus and for college presidents, she won't say anything about presidential antisemitism when it comes to the White House. The real president of the United States and that, of course, is a much greater threat to Jews in America when you have Donald Trump who says things like they are very fine people on both sides of an antisemitic race riot called by neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Virginia.
But let me ask you, did you think that hearing with university presidents achieved something important? And was illustrative, and did bring out the fact that for whatever reason, these three presidents of universities seem to have trouble with the question that seemed very basic in terms of whether or not hate speech against was as offensive as hate speech against other minority groups might be? I mean, I've heard a lot of say that they thought that hearing was well done, whatever you think of Congresswoman Stefanik separately from that.
RASKIN: Well, like most college presidents, they were completely bureaucratic and morally tone-deaf. They gave these overly legalistic answers. If somebody asked me, if one of your students or faculty or staff people is calling for the genocide of the Jews, or anybody else, what would you do? I would immediately dispatch the campus police to go over there to see if anybody is in danger, because in the age of tens of millions of AR-15s in our society and lax Republican gun laws, that person could be an immediate danger to Jews and anybody else there around.
And if they're not, they probably need an immediate mental diagnostic. They need a mental health exam. And if that's not the case, well, then, they are almost certainly endangering the learning environment, creating a hostile learning environment, which is what Title VI is all about. I think that's what the presidents rush to discuss.
RASKIN: There's a defense of them, by the way, by Ronald Reagan Solicitor General Charles Fried, who said they gave totally appropriate legalistic answers. They're not the answers I would've given for one minute. They didn't show any common sense at all.
But guess who's not showing any common sense right now? People in Congress who are about to get swept away with Elise Stefanik's McCarthy-like crusade. She wants to dictate who's going to be college president or university president in private colleges across America.
Are these really the worst offenders? A Haitian American president at Harvard, a Jewish American president at MIT? Has she done the complete study of racism and antisemitism in the campuses? Because she was giving hypothetical questions.
There might be some real cases of antisemitic violence or racist abuse that are taking place there. And what about the campuses where there's sexual harassment, sexual violence, where presidents are looking the other way? Is that can be our new job?
If it is, let's do it systematically and give people some due process rights. In the meantime, the boards of Harvard and MIT have been standing by their presidents. And I don't think the Congress of the United States needs to be dictating to them who should resign and who shouldn't.
TAPPER: A larger point, that, that if antisemitism is ugly on campus, it's also ugly when it's Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene standing at a white supremacist conference.
RASKIN: Well, and, by the way, Marjorie Taylor -- Marjorie Taylor Greene goes to Nichols Fuentes's conference, so does Paul Gosar.
TAPPER: Right, so does Paul Gosar, yeah.
RASKIN: What does a brave Ms. Stefanik have to say about that?
RASKIN: If she's such a champion of antisemitism that she's going to --
TAPEPR: Yeah, it's either antisemitism -- it's either antisemitism offending you all the time, or none of the time. You can't have it only offend you when it's on the left or on the right, depending where you stand.
Democratic Congressman Jimmy Raskin, thanks so much.
Up next, the historic climate deal with arguably major discrepancies in the fine print.
Stay with us.
TAPPER: Just in to our money lead, a very big day on Wall Street today as markets are reacting positively to the Federal Reserve's final policy decision of the year. Let's go straight to CNN's Vanessa Yurkevich.
Vanessa, the Dow hit a pretty significant milestone.
VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS AND POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. At 2:00 p.m., when the Fed announced that it was going to pause rates, we saw the Dow pop. You can see it right there, 2:00 p.m. Ultimately, that led the Dow to close up 1.4 percent, setting a new all-time record high, beating its record that was set two years ago.
And this was a great day for Wall Street overall. The Nasdaq and the S&P also gaining and closing up. What you're seeing there is traders liking the pause of the Fed announced today, but also liking the fact that what they had baked into markets, and what they were expecting next year, rate cuts, is exactly what the Federal Reserve has projected. We could see three rate cuts next year. That's encouraging also for the American people.
We're dealing with high mortgage rates, high interest rates -- rate pauses, and rate cuts are good for the American people. And clearly, markets are also liking what they're seeing, Jake.
TAPPER: All right, Vanessa Yurkevich, thanks so much. Some good news for a change.
In our "Earth Matters" series, some agreement out of the United Nations climate summit, known as COP 28. A historic statement which calls on countries to move away from using fossil fuels. The bad news, scientists say, the language is so vague, it could allow countries to take very little action at all.
CNN's Bill Weir is following this unprecedented agreement.
And, Bill, it sounds good, but there are a lot of loopholes, I hear.
BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: There are, Jake. Yes, it is historic that for the first time in 28 tries, humanity is finally actually naming the problem behind climate change. It is a fossil fuel crisis, and the transitional way from them seems encouraging, especially when it comes from the CEO of Abu Dhabi's national oil company. But he's going to go back to his day job next week, Jake, where they have plans to expand oil and gas expansion by $150 billion.
These are sort of the high points, transitioning away, net zero missions, we're still going for that. They want -- there's sort of eight different pathways that countries could take to help on this endeavor, including helping the world triple renewable resources and double energy efficiency. And, yes helping the poor developing countries suffering the brunt of this.
But there's no real direction on financing, on how to help that transition along, and in the meantime, the United States is the biggest exporter of oil and gas in the world. The U.S. is the biggest petro state these days.
So John Kerry, trying to spin this as a positive, has to go back to a White House that is approved huge infrastructure on oil and gas.
TAPPER: All right. Bill Weir, thanks so much.
Minutes from now, Republicans will vote to begin the process to impeach President Biden. For what? That's the question.
Stay with us.
TAPPER: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
This hour, a vote on the House floor as Republicans like to strengthen their case for impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden.
Plus, Donald Trump's return to Iowa as a challenger with momentum in the 2024 race tries to take him on.
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NIKKI HALEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: With me, I have a different approach. No drama, no vendettas, no whining. It's about work for me.
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TAPPER: And leading this hour, the new audio obtained only by CNN.