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McCarthy Calls For Formal Impeachment Inquiry Into Biden; Reports: Jets' Rodgers Out For The Rest Of The Season; Trump Asks Judge Overseeing Jan. 6 Trial To Recuse Herself. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired September 12, 2023 - 11:30   ET



DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Then Vice President Biden, now President Biden, and Hunter Biden's business dealings or the ongoing Hunter Biden investigation. Now, I want to add one thing, though, what Kevin McCarthy does have in this moment on his side is public opinion. I mean, we just released a poll last week.

And we saw that despite that lack of evidence having been presented, a majority of Americans I believed something afoot here. I mean, 55 percent, in our poll said they think President Biden has acted inappropriately during the course of this investigation, while he's been President. North of six and 10 Americans think that either Biden did something illegally or acted immorally, or in bad faith in some way.

Did something wrong here, when it comes to the business dealings of under Biden, when Joe Biden was Vice President. So, there is a perception issue that the White House is going to have to battle. And that is the perception issue that the House Republicans and Kevin McCarthy right now are leaning into both sides are going to need the evidence or lack thereof to make their final case, the American people as this goes forward.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: David, stick with us for a second. Manu, can you jump back in with us. Just a question and there are a lot -- a lot of steps I will say, before we will get to the end of this. But do you foresee a situation where Kevin McCarthy gives the power to James Comer and others to launch these in -- to continue with an inquiry looking into President Biden and Hunter Biden and this end, this does not end up with them saying that they've seen enough that they want to impeach President Biden?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It seems almost certain that they would have to go that in that route. If you just look at the sheer politics of this. When talking to Republicans, the reason why a lot of them were simply nervous about going down this route is that once you begin the process of an impeachment proceeding, it is very hard to pull back.

Because politically speaking, if say the Republicans decide not to move forward with a charge of a high crime or misdemeanor against the President, while investigating all the allegations they've been talking about all year. Essentially, what looked like Joe Biden was clear that Republicans cleared them. A potentially give the President a boost as he has in this pivotal reelection campaign next year.

So, that's where the betting at the moment is that they would go forward with actually charging the President with high crimes or misdemeanors, despite not proving any sort of wrongdoing on behalf of the President taking official action to help his son allegations that they have been peddling all year.

They've been investigating but yet, to specifically prove that point. But nevertheless, this still goes back to the central question. Even if they try to move forward with the impeachment of Joe Biden because they feel like they have to or they feel like they've got the evidence to prove their case. They still need the votes at the end of the day, that will take a long time to get there.

So, and as we get closer and closer to an election year, things will get harder and harder. And just remember the first Trump impeachment, Nancy Pelosi announced that Trump the impeachment inquiry. Ultimately, there was about a vote about a month after that inquiry, began looking into President Trump's lead taking action to call for an investigation into the Biden's and withholding aid to Ukraine. That's what that investigation was about.

That inquiry ended when the actual impeachment ended by the end of December of that year. It's about a three-month process, because Democrats were concern of a dragged into the election year. It could potentially boost President Trump heading into the election year. That's going to be one of the calculations Republicans make as well as they move down this route.


SARA SIDNER, CNN HOST: Yes, could -- as we've been seeing the numbers for the former President, that same thing could happen with Democrats for Joe Biden, if they feel like this is just a quote unquote, witch hunt, which is heard from the former President a lot.

Let me get to David Chalian, really quickly. David, look, this is going on, it's going to take a heck of a lot of time, effort and money. Meantime, in 18 days, the government needs to be funded. So, what is going to happen with that? How does this play into the job that Congress actually has to do for the American people?

CHALIAN: Well, if you talk to Republicans on Capitol Hill, some will say, the way they think these two interplay is that Kevin McCarthy may be currying some favor by moving forward with an impeachment inquiry, with the very members that he's going to need to get on board, with any kind of spending deal or budget deal that avoids a government shutdown here, when it comes to appropriations.

And so, I would just note one thing, Manu, made a very smart comparison, looking back to 2019 when Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats launched that initial Trump impeachment agree. One thing that is so fascinating to me about the difference in the politics internally in the House in the moment.

Nancy Pelosi did that when some of her moderate frontline members sort of flipped and decided they had been so reluctant about moving ahead with the impeachment. Especially those with National Security credentials, a lot of those freshmen members. They got on board with that and that's when Nancy Pelosi went forward here.


It is the reliable solid, hardcore, conservatives pushing McCarthy here. And those frontline members who determine Kevin McCarthy's majority, I have clearly not yet been fully on board with this. And so, it's a difference in the internal politics and the way each of these Speakers handled it.

And then, I just think, guys, we have to step back and look. You know, did our founders envision impeachment, high crimes and misdemeanor, as now, a sort of quadrennial political tool for no matter which party is in power in the White House or in the House, that this is just becoming a way of life.

I, you know, I've been covering American politics for north of 20 years now, this will now be the fourth Presidential impeachment process, at least getting kicked off in that time. And it had been a long time prior to that. You know, Nixon obviously, didn't move forward to a formal impeachment charge. But this is -- this is now the way of American political life. And I am not sure that that is a healthy thing for our system.

BERMAN: All right. David Chalian, Manu Raju, thank you. And just one more note on the politics of this. The Senate Republican whip, the number two in the Senate, John Thune.


BERMAN: Just said quote, it wouldn't be advantageous.

BOLDUAN: Of course, it.

BERMAN: For the Senate to have an impeachment trial right now. So, less you think --

BOLDUAN: Of course, it wouldn't.

BERMAN: -- this was going to be straight, It's not a universal Republican movement here. This is being driven by a faction in the House of Representatives here. And there are Republicans that work very close to them down the hall --

SIDNER: Right.

BERMAN: -- on Capitol Hill. Not all happy. Easy work, easy going.

BOLDUAN: I didn't mean you -- I didn't mean you to explode. But it's just like, this is a quintessential -- encapsulation of, what's going on in the House is very different than the dynamics and the bipartisan work that is actually underway in the Senate on certain -- in certain aspects. So, what is happening in the House is just if this goes down that road, I venture to guess there are a lot of Republican Senators that don't want anything.

SIDNER: Anything.

BOLDUAN: They don't want this anywhere near them, right now. What would see.

SIDNER: That would be McConnell and Thune.

BERMAN: Exactly.


BERMAN: The politics here are complicated to say the least. Obviously, a lot going on. Our special live coverage of all these developments continues right

after this.



BERMAN: We have more Breaking News. This from the world of sports. But it's really more about sports because it has to do with one of the biggest moves in the offseason in the National Football League. The New York Jets brought Aaron Rodgers in. You know, four-time football MVP and he was going to be the football savior for the Jets. Four plays into his season. He was hit, he went down and now he's out for the entire season. With me now is CNN's Coy Wire. His Achilles, Coy.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, this was the great hope for Jets fans and football fans. Everyone loving that Aaron Rodgers was going to the New York Jets and the opportunity to maybe bring them their first Super Bowl title in 55 years since Broadway Joe did it way back then.

He's got four-time league MVP to his name, a Super Bowl ring to boot (PH). But this is just devastating news not just for Jets fans, of course, but also Aaron Rodgers and his teammates. They were heartbroken after this. We have to question now John, he's 39 years old. He's the oldest active player in the league and a rupture Achilles is one of the most difficult injuries.

BERMAN: Talk to me about that a little bit because, you know, this sometimes with this or that it's a few months here and there your Achilles that season over.

WIRE: It's really difficult to connect, you know, your heel bone up into your calf muscle. And so, there have been players to come back Cam Akers for the Rams. James Robinson also injured his Achilles on that same very field. Those are running backs who did come back. Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, they were much younger than Aaron Rodgers, but it is possible to come back.

Former teammate of mine, Takeo Spikes, great linebacker in the league for a long time had an Achilles injury played seven more years after that. So, it is possible, Aaron Rodgers is super tough guy. I think he's got that competitive heart nature we'll see. But there is a chance that this could be the last time we've see Aaron Rodgers, one of the greatest players ever in the history of the game on an NFL field.

BERMAN: And again, being in sports, it was on hard knocks, you know, all summer long.

WIRE: Yes.

BERMAN: People in watching the Jets get ready was the Aaron Rodgers show, that shows over. The Jets won. The Jets may play on but this great career very much now in question. Coy Wire, thank you so much for this. Sara?

WIRE You got it.

SIDNER: It's hard not to pull for the Jets now. So, John.

BERMAN: It's not hard not to pull for the Jets. But --

SIDNER: They've been through so much.

BERMAN: You know, no one wants to see an injury like that for Aaron.

SIDNER: Spoken like a true patriot's fan, all right. All right. In other news, former President Trump, wants a new judge in Washington. And his charges tossed in Georgia, will that happen? We'll discuss, coming up.


BOLDUAN: Inherently disqualifying, that is what Donald Trump's lawyers are calling statements made by the judge overseeing his federal election case the charges against him. Trump in a motion now requesting a new judge handle the 2020 election case there against him. CNN's Sara Murray has the details on this. She's joining us now. Sarah, Trump's team in this filing, they're accusing Judge Chutkan, the current judge of bias. How is she responding to this?

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right. They're essentially saying that you need someone who appears entirely impartial. If you want the public to really believe in whatever the verdict is that is rendered at this trial. They're saying that Judge Tanya Chutkan should have recused herself.


Now, she has now asked prosecutors to weigh in by Thursday on what they think of this argument. And let's run through a little bit of what the Trump team is arguing. They're basically, pulling previous comments the judge has made and suggesting that this means that she is biased towards Donald Trump, of course, the defendant in the January 6 election interference case.

Here's a part of what they point out. They point out a comment she made at a sentencing hearing where she says, "The people who mobbed that Capitol, were there in fealty in loyalty to one man not to the Constitution. It's a blind loyalty to one person who by the way, remains free to this day."

Look, this is someone who has been very pointed in her rulings related to January 6. There was also a civil case where Donald Trump was trying to block the House January 6 committee from accessing records, when he was President of the United States. These were White House Records, and in that decision, she wrote, Presidents are not kings and plaintiff is not President.

So, she's been certainly, sharp tongued in a number of her decisions and a number of her rulings. But this is going to be an uphill battle for the Trump team to get her recused from the case. Ultimately, it's going to be up to her whether she recused herself or not. So, we will see what prosecutors have to say about this later this week. And then how the judge ultimately decides to handle this.

SIDNER: Sara Murray, thank you so much for the update there and all those new legal battles that Trump is bringing to the courts.

BERMAN: All right, with us now is former Manhattan Prosecutor, Jeremy Saland. Jeremy, Donald Trump says he wants a new Judge. Is this like a kid saying I want a pony? Or is there a legal basis to this? Is this real?

JEREMY SALAND, FORMER MANHATTAN PROSECUTOR: Not of it's like, a pony it may be holding your breath and stomping your feet. He asked to make the argument, no doubt about it. But the issue is not whether or not the Judge is impartial or not. I mean, ultimately, it is but it's whether there's a reasonable perception that he or she might be impartial. So, it's not just might be impartial or seems impartial, that's be a reasonable standard here. Not just what you want to say on social media in big bold letters that the Judge is bad, the judges bias. There has to be a factual basis.


BERMAN: In those statements that were made, that are cited in the filing, does that rise to the level?

SALAND: Well, from someone who may not be aware and that's a fair thing to think, well, it sounds pretty bad. But it's also said in the context of that proceeding and what is the context of the proceeding, the courts generally say that is OK. We're not talking about something ex parte, we're not talking about something that, you know, maybe the judge will benefit from it. This as a part of a proceeding, which is reasonable.

SIDNER: And by the way, we've heard some of that language before in other cases, like with the Oath Keepers where the judge did mention that, you know, there was fealty somewhere else, it wasn't necessarily to the American democratic way.

SALAND: Well, it wasn't on an island, these are all sort of tied together too. SIDNER: Right.

BOLDUAN: Who makes the call? You said that it has to do with a perception not, you know, there has to be a set of facts, who makes the call?

SALAND: It's a difficult thing to do. Because you're asking the Judge here before to say, hey, Judge, I don't think you're fair, but don't take it out on me or my client later on. But that's what makes that decision. And obviously, you know, the Judge makes a decision. But the prosecution.

BOLDUAN: The resource of appeal is that -- is that like -- I don't know.

SALAND: Well, not necessarily right out of the gate. There are means to challenge these things. But the Judge is going to rule and it's going -- she's going to rule quickly and move this thing forward. This is not going to get started.

BERMAN: I was going to ask about that. Because is this part of the Trump team finally, everything they can as often as they can? Can these filings slow things down or will Judge Chutkan, just take this so quickly, that it won't get in the way of the March trial day?

SALAND: So, collectively, they can. This is going to be, I think, fairly efficient and moving forward. There's no reason to get stuck here. And it's going to need the process and go. This is not something that's going to take a long time.

SIDNER: Donald Trump's also asking for his case to be dismissed. I mean, isn't he doing what defendants do?

BERMAN: In Georgia.

SIDNER: This is Georgia --

BOLDUAN: In Georgia.

SIDNER: -- in a different case. Within, he just doing what a defendant would do. I mean, I think just about every case I've ever seen, is there is a motion to dismiss just to hope that --

SALAND: Absolutely.

SIDNER: -- that it might be dismissed.

SALAND: Absolutely. And I think it's important for people to understand, you're not challenging the facts that motion to dismiss, that's for Judge or Jury to decide later. You're saying even assuming the facts or true. Does that legally satisfy and sufficiently uphold the law? It's not whether it's true or not, it's assuming it's true, is that legally sufficient.

BERMAN: And in this case, he's saying that the law is that -- he's basically using an argument to Kenneth Chesebro used, when he was trying to get the case thrown out. What he's saying --


BERMAN: -- oh, fake electors, or anything having to do with electors is federal law. So, you can't charge me in a state court anyway. The federal law supersedes this throughout the case entirely. Any merit to that? And what about the fact that Mark Meadows --

SIDNER: Right.

BERMAN: -- did not have his case removed to federal court? Does that instruct us at all about the law here?

SALAND: So, you're throwing different things, in different issues. You know, so, you're give me a multiple question here in our timeframe.

BOLDUAN: Could make it perfect.

SALAND: I'll do my best to make it perfect. And the answer is the some of this is beyond the scope of this court meeting. They're arguments that are not going to hold water. They're not going to -- they're not going to be sustained. You have to make these arguments, because every reasonable argument you can make, you need to make because you could lose that opportunity to argument later, and you lose that opportunity to potentially on appeal.


So, he's going to make those arguments. Mark Meadows is a totally different animal. Merely, because that case is not being removed, does not mean that it can't be dismissed. You know, in a state court.


SALAND: The two different animals, certainly there's a Nexus. But there's two separate issues. So, I wouldn't conflate them, even if there was a relation.

BOLDUAN: That's a good point.

BERMAN: The only reason I was -- I was conflating them to use aggressive words. You know, it is the idea that it state law and federal law. The idea is that the state law is what pertains. It is what matters here. There has been a ruling now about where this should all happen. So, in a way, does that color the idea that, you know, the electors is a federal issue, not a state issue?

SALAND: Not necessarily. It can be a state issue too. Remember, the -- even if it was removed the federal court. Even if -- even if not was successful, it would still be the underlying --


SALAND: -- state criminal code. Doesn't change the federal code.

(CROSSTALK) BERMAN: Jeremy Saland, thank you very much for being here. And education.

SIDNER: Do not mess with the prosecutor.

BERMAN: Never.

BOLDUAN: I think I was (INAUDIBLE) Great to see you. Thank you so much. Thank you all so much for joining us. This is CNN NEWS CENTRAL. "INSIDE POLITICS" is next.