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Haley Loses Non-Binding NV GOP Primary To "None Of These Candidates"; Johnson On Failed Votes: "It Was A Mess, What Happened Here"; Star-Studded Super Bowl Ads Drop Before The Big Game. Aired 11:30a-12p ET
Aired February 07, 2024 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FRANCISCO AGUILAR, SECRETARY OF STATE, NEVADA: None of the above did receive the most amount of votes on the Republican side. However, by Nevada law, the person actual candidate receiving the most amount of votes is actually the winner of the contest.
RAHEL SOLOMON, CNN ANCHOR: I see.
AGUILAR: However, there will be an asterisk next to that number saying that none of the above had received the most amount of votes from Republicans in the primary.
SOLOMON: Secretary, do you wonder or worry that the current system with the primary and the caucus confused GOP voters?
AGUILAR: Yes. You know, I think -- first of all, my job as Nevada Secretary of State is to ensure that we're doing everything that's in the best interest of all voters, it doesn't matter whether Democrat or Republican. And in 21 bipartisan letter -- leadership group in the legislature decided that Nevada should move forward with a state-run primary. That was the intent to drive voters to the polls to get them engaged, knowing that Nevada is going to have an impact on the national level from an early start.
We saw an engagement yesterday that I think says Nevadans want to participate in a primary process. I was not involved in the decision of the state Republican Party. They made that decision for specific reasons, which I don't know. Their leadership made those decisions. But I think, you know, our governor even made an early comment to say that the primary was the preferred way to engage Nevada voters.
SOLOMON: But that said, I mean, is it a sustainable -- even if this was the decision from the GOP there, I mean, is it a sustainable system to have this sort of fractured process where some are participating in the primary and some are participating in the caucus?
AGUILAR: Well, I -- look, I think Nevada is a working community. We're working state. We have a 24/7-hour economy.
And when you want to engage a voter, we have to be accessible to them to allow them to vote for what's in a convenient way for them. We look at the way we run our elections. We have a universal mail ballot. We have early voting.
The primary in June and the November general have two weeks of early voting. We had one week for the primary. We also have, you know, accessible voting for those that are homebound or live on a native community.
We're working hard to engage as many voters in Nevada as possible. And I think a primary offers those benefits and we need to recognize the benefits of a primary.
SOLOMON: Can you talk to us about turnout? I mean, last we saw yesterday, turnout seemed pretty low. Understandably, there was a lot happening in Las Vegas, and that's the next few days. So, perhaps that was part of the reason. But talk to us about turnout.
AGUILAR: Look, Nevadans are hardworking. We're gritty. We get things done. We may try things differently, but in the end, we're going to get the intended result into the goal that we want as Nevadans. You know, the primary again, I go back to the accessibility of it, and I think as we move forward --
SOLOMON: Secretary Aguilar, I'm so sorry, I got to jump in here because Speaker Johnson is speaking. Let's listen together.
REP. MIKE JOHNSON (R-LA): The United States threatened to veto on the Israel funding package. Chuck Schumer then said that he would put a blockade up in the Senate. He had 166 House Democrats who followed leader Hakeem Jeffries off that cliff. They took that lead, and they blocked the funding.
Let me -- let's be clear about this. That bill provided exactly the amount of funding that the president himself had requested. It was $14.3 billion that we passed, many -- you know, three months ago. And that we added to it to replace our stockpiles and up our munitions on what's happening in that region.
There is no reason whatsoever for them to object to the contents of that bill. They're doing it for political purposes. It's bad for national security. It's also terrible policy and terrible politics.
The president of the United States has a 37 percent approval rating. If they're going to follow that lead, I think they did it to their detriment. And it's a very shameful thing at a time when our Israel -- our ally Israel needs the help desperately.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does this put you in a bind, though, they're able to move the bill in the Senate to deal with both Ukraine and Israel here. Because you just pushed for Israel. You would have been skeptical of aid for Ukraine here because that put you in a bind if they move something over there, it's going to back to the House.
JOHNSON: Look, we'll see what the Senate does. We're allowing the process to play out and we'll handle it as it is sent over. I have made it very clear that you have to address these issues on their own merits.
And Israel desperately needs the assistance. Everyone knows that. Things have changed pretty dramatically since we passed that first Israel package in the House three months ago.
Everyone knows the tensions have escalated and we need to support it there. So, we'll address that. We'll see what the Senate does.
We spend a lot of time on the House side waiting -- awaiting the Senate's action. And it's frustrating sometimes, but that's the way the process plays out.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What happened yesterday with the vote on Secretary Mayorkas? Why bring that to the floor if you didn't have the votes? And will you hold another vote to impeach him?
JOHNSON: Yes. On impeachment, last night was a setback but democracy is messy. We live in a time of a divided government. We have a razor- thin margin here and every vote counts. Sometimes when you're counting votes and people show up when they're not expected to be in the building, that changes the equation.
But listen, we have a duty and a responsibility to take care of this issue. We have to hold the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security accountable. Mayorkas needs to be held accountable. The Biden administration needs to be held accountable. And we will pass those articles of impeachment. We'll do it on next round.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What would you say to Americans concerned that Congress isn't able to do basic functions?
JOHNSON: Well, it's just simply not true. We're governing here. Sometimes it's messy. You know, the framers anticipated that you would have a system where people with very different philosophical viewpoints that come from different parts of the country and different constituencies would have different ideas on how to resolve their problems.
But what they also anticipated is that we'd be able to get in a room and arm wrestle over public policy and come to a consensus to move the ball forward for the most people. That is what's happening here. You're seeing the messy sausage making, the process of democracy play out. And it's not always clean. It's not always pretty. But the job will be done at the end of the day. Manu.
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Mr. Speaker, some of your critics covered -- some of your critics will say this shows your inexperience. And Congressman Massie says getting rid of Kevin McCarthy was an unmitigated disaster for your party. What do you say to them?
JOHNSON: Well, look, it was a mess, what happened here, but we're cleaning it up. And Massie is one of my dear friends and colleagues. And I don't think that this is a reflection on the leader. It's a reflection of the body itself and the place where we've come in this country.
Look, the nation is divided. We lament that, right? The differences, the chasm between the two parties right now is wider than it's ever been.
And there are lots of emotions. And we live in the age of social media and the 24-hour news cycle. You know, there were previous congresses where this -- a gaggle like this would not even have been possible.
So, we're in a different time. But what we need to do in a time like this, and a time of a great challenge is lead on principle. And that's what we're doing.
The -- again, the process is messy sometimes, but the job will be done. And we're going to govern this country. It's the greatest country in the history of the world. The entire world is counting upon us.
We have steady hands at the wheel. We'll get through it. Everybody, take a deep breath. It's a long game. We're going to get the job done. Thanks for this conference.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, that was House Speaker Mike Johnson trying to explain the Republican debacle in the U.S. House last night. He said democracy is messy, which is a bit of an understatement. It's like saying Hades is a little bit warm.
Honestly, what happened there, he didn't have much of an exclamation -- explanation for. He said sometimes basically, things don't go their way. And then he tried to point the finger and blame others for the foreign policy, the aid to Israel vote that happened after.
SOLOMON: Yes. He said to that point in terms of why the impeachment articles against Mayorkas didn't go through. He said that there were people in the building that they didn't expect, perhaps a reference to Representative Al Green who showed up. But that doesn't fully, fully explain why it didn't pass.
He did say that they attend to -- they will be planning to bring that backup. Unclear if the votes will be there then, but real questions about why they didn't know -- why he didn't know where the votes stood.
BERMAN: In a very interesting policy point which we're going to address going forward when asked what he would do if the Senate today passes, which it might, aid to Ukraine and Israel and Taiwan all combined together what the House would do. He didn't say no. He said we will look at what the Senate passes. So, maybe opening the door a little bit to that.
Much more coming up, including your reaction to what we just heard. Stay with us.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [11:42:37]
BERMAN: All right. Just moments ago, we heard from House Speaker Mike Johnson after this pair of stunning and embarrassing defeats for Republican leadership on the House floor. Johnson said it was, quote, a setback and a mess after the House failed to impeach DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and then lost a vote on $17 billion in aid to Israel.
With us now is Congressman Gregory Meets -- Meeks, a Democrat from New York who is the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Congressman, thanks so much for being with us. You heard -- I think you were actually just feet away from the House speaker when he said democracy is messy. How accurately does that describe what you saw on the House floor last night?
REP. GREORY MEEKS (D-NY): Incompetency is not messy. Incompetency is incompetency. And trying to -- what we need to do, as had been tried in the Senate and working together is to try to figure out how we can come together as members of the House in a divided government and work something out for our national security, as well as for the benefit of the American people, as opposed to just trying to go and utilize political stunts that the speaker was trying to utilize yesterday.
That backfired. And I hope that the American people can see the stunts that they're doing and the risk that they're putting the country at, you know, because of the MAGA Republicans and Johnson, who apparently is allowing others like the MAGAs to control and run the House.
BERMAN: What was incompetent, in your mind?
MEEKS: Well, what was incompetent was the fact that, number one, he couldn't count. I mean, that's clear. But number two, you know, he didn't do what he said he was going to do. I mean, I was at meetings where there was an agreement that we would do this thing where we would pass.
For example, on the supplemental, we would work together to get something done on the border, which the Senate was doing that we would make sure then that it would be Israel, Ukraine, Taiwan would be the focus. We would do the packages together. And we were working to get that done.
And then he automatically, and I think in a way that is partisan and just playing political tricks, decided that that was a non-starter, that it would not happen here on the floor of the House of Representatives.
And knowing that there are some of his members on his side of the aisle and we saw three yesterday on the Mayorkas vote, for example, and a number of others on the -- on the supplemental, were not with him.
MEEKS: And he knows that on the supplemental, he couldn't get it done. That's why he had to put it on suspension --
BERMAN: Let me ask you --
MEEKS: Because he couldn't have the total to pass a room.
BERMAN: Let me ask you. It is possible because Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer may get it on the Senate floor today. It is possible the Senate votes and passes a standalone aid to Ukraine, Taiwan, and Israel bill -- foreign aid basically without the border. After the border bill -- the bipartisan border bill goes down, he may be able to get through aid to Israel, Ukraine, and Taiwan.
House Speaker Mike Johnson did not rule out letting that come up for a vote in the House just now. He said we will see what the Senate does, and they'll address it on its own merits. Do you think he's opening the door to a vote on Ukraine aid?
MEEKS: Well, I would hope that he is. I know that there are some on his -- in his conference who understand the significance of that. We tried to work in a bipartisan way.
If you listen to the chair and ranking member on the Intel Committee and the chair and ranking member on Armed Services, and clearly, I, as the ranking member and the chair, we try to talk together to work in a bipartisan way on those three bills because they're national security interests. So, I think that that would put the -- if that bill passes the Senate, then it would be the right thing to do to put that bill on the floor because -- of the House because of the drastic need that Israel has, that Ukraine has, and that we have to make sure that we protect Taiwan.
BERMAN: Let me ask you --
MEEKS: Significantly, national security interests that should be done.
BERMAN: Let me ask you about what appears to be the Hamas counter proposal to a ceasefire in Gaza. Some of their conditions include a complete withdrawal of Israeli troops, turning over prisoners that they took on October 7, which presumably would be including some of the terrorists who carried out the attacks on October 7, and nowhere in this kind of proposal that I can see any promise for Hamas to give up political leadership in Gaza. Would you advise Israel to take this deal as grounds for a ceasefire?
MEEKS: No, that's extreme. And I think that's why Secretary Blinken is over there now to talk to individuals. I've had conversations with the Qataris and the prime minister there who was -- the foreign minister, I should say, who's the -- heading and part of those negotiations. And they know that there are always -- generally in negotiations you start with extremes, certain things that are -- have to be put off the table.
And I think some of those items would be off the table because you have to talk about the security of Israel. And we've heard time and time again that, you know, number one, there was a ceasefire on October 6 that Hamas broke. And we know that their position, and especially the military leadership, that Israel does not have the right to exist and that they will do this time and time again. So, that is not something that I think that is reasonable.
And I think that -- but the dialogue and the conversation to get the hostages home are important. And to have a pause in the fighting so that dialogue and conversation on a -- of a serious nature continue so that we can get to a point where the Palestinians have the opportunity to have a two-state solution. And that is the ultimate goal. And I think that will include everybody in the region including our Arab allies, Israel, United States.
BERMAN: Congressman Gregory Meeks, ranking member in the House Foreign Affairs Committee, thank you so much for being with us. Rahel?
SOLOMON: All right, John. Super Bowl just days away. Coming up. Who will win the best commercial this Sunday? We have a sneak peek at the competition. Coming up next.
SOLOMON: Welcome back. And the countdown to Super Bowl Sunday is on. And forget about who's actually playing on the field. For a lot of people, the real draw are the commercials.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JENNIFER ANISTON, ACTRESS: You know what they say? In order to remember something, you got to forget something else. Make a little room.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And that's how I remember Uber Eats has coffee by forgetting something else.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have a seat.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I -- what?
DAVID SCHWIMMER, ACTOR: Hey. OK.
ANISTON: Have we met? Give me a hence.
SCHWIMMER: Worth together for 10 years.
ANISTON: 10 years?
ANISTON: You're great.
SCHWIMMER: You still don't know, do you?
ANISTON: I don't.
ANISTON: Like I forget 10 years of my life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: All right. CNN's Elizabeth Wagmeister is here. What are we going to see besides "Friends?"
ELIZABETH WAGMEISTER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: You know, I love that Ross and Rachel reunion. But there are some other reunions with this year's Super Bowl as how Men's, the mayonnaise company, they actually reunited to SNL stars Kate McKinnon and Pete Davidson. I suppose to Kate McKinnon all about this commercial but let's take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KATE MCKINNON, ACTRESS: Leftover chicken, scalings, cheese. What are we going to make with this? Mayo. Hellmann's. You can talk.
And then she says, and boom Hellman's saves the leftovers. She can't spell.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, a keynote speaker.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is it serious?
MCKINNON: He lasted longer than most.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WAGMEISTER: Now, Kate McKinnon did tell me that she got Pete Davidson's permission to poke fun at his dating life. So, all good there.
SOLOMON: Yes, that sounds like a good one. Also speaking of reunions, T-Mobile apparently getting in on the reunion fun. What are they planning?
WAGMEISTER: Yes. So, T-Mobile, they are known for their musical Super Bowl ads with some "Scrubs" alums. Now, last year, they had John Travolta. How do you talk John Travolta? Well, with "Aquaman," of course. Let's take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WAGMEISTER: There you have, Jason Momoa with "Scrubs" alums, Zach Braff and Donald Faison. Now, I have to tell you, there's another cameo at the end of that commercial, so stay tuned.
SOLOMON: What a tease. All right, Elizabeth Wagmeister, thank you so much. I'm hungry now.
BERMAN: Yes, I know -- I know. (INAUDIBLE) reaction. I need some food.
All right. Thank you all so much for joining us. This has been CNN NEWS CENTRAL. "INSIDE POLITICS" is up next.