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Kevin McCarthy Says He'll Survive Push To Oust Him As House Speaker; Democrat Dean Phillips Quits Leadership Role Over Biden Doubts; President Biden Assures Ukraine and Allies Of United States Support; San Diego County Declares Migrant Surge A Humanitarian Crisis; Interview With El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser (D) about Humanitarian Crisis At The Southern Border; New Book Warns Of MAGA's Threat To Democracy; U2 Opens New Sphere Concert Venue. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired October 01, 2023 - 20:00   ET



JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Jim Acosta in Washington. Good evening.

President Biden has a message tonight for Republican lawmakers in the House of Representatives. The brinksmanship has to end. The president's remarks come after Congress prepped within just a few hours of a funding deadline that would have forced a government shutdown, hurting millions of Americans. The crisis was averted by a rare display of strong bipartisan cooperation.

But Republican hardliners are outraged that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy made a deal with Democrats. Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz on the Republican side says this week he will call for a vote to strip McCarthy of that post. It's unclear whether other Republicans will join him. In the meantime, McCarthy says this is nothing more than a publicity stunt.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): Yes, I'll survive. You know, this is personal with Matt. Matt voted against the most conservative ability to protect our border, secure our border. He's more interested in securing TV interviews than doing something. He wanted to push us into a shutdown, even threatening his own district with all the military people there who would not be paid only because he wants to take this motion.

So be it, bring it on, let's get over with it and let's start governing. If he's upset because he tried to push us in a shutdown, and I made sure government didn't shutdown, then let's have that fight.


ACOSTA: Let's bring in Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, and CNN senior political commentator, Scott Jennings. Larry, if I have the history right here, no House speaker has ever

actually been removed through a resolution to vacate, a motion to vacate. I think I have that correct. I mean, how historic would this be if Matt Gaetz can pull this off and do you think he can?

LARRY SABATO, DIRECTOR, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA CENTER FOR POLITICS: Well, it would be very historic. That's easy enough to conclude. I don't think he will succeed. You know, Jim, half the trick in life is having the right enemies. And if you had to pick an enemy in the House GOP or the House GOP clown car, you couldn't do much better than Matt Gaetz. So that's going to make McCarthy get some help, maybe from some Democrats voting present.

It's also going to solidify his support in much of the Republican ranks. So I think he'll be able to survive. Gaetz has made some serious errors himself over the course of his career. I don't know that I would want to be in the position that he's put himself in. So right now, my money would be on McCarthy to survive. Though, obviously, he won't be as healthy in public image as he once was.

ACOSTA: And Scott, I mean, you spent some time up on Capitol Hill on the Republican side of the aisle. I mean, to go from a near-government shutdown, which would have been blamed on House Republicans, to a leadership crisis that is being instigated by Matt Gaetz, is this something you would advise if you were still up there?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, no, I certainly wouldn't advise people to oust Kevin McCarthy because he's done a darned good job as speaker of the House under a really closely divided House. He's pulled numerous rabbits out of numerous hats, including one this weekend. Gaetz and all the buffoons that follow him are all personally and self-interested. They're all -- many of them are running in statewide primaries for other offices back in their home states.

They're not there to govern. They're there, as Speaker McCarthy said today, they don't want to secure the southern border, they want to secure more TV time. And so I -- I mean, there's no advice, though, to be given to these people because they don't want advice. And I think Kevin McCarthy will survive.

And I think it's important to remember that the speaker of the House works for all 435 members. It's not like the Senate, where the parties pick the leader. The speaker of the House is the speaker for everybody. We saw a bipartisan vote this weekend. We may see a bipartisan vote to keep the speaker. To me, that's a good signal to the American people that there may be a bipartisan coalition forming that says, we're tired of this absolute nonsense of Gaetz and his ilk.

ACOSTA: And Larry, I mean, to that point, I mean, I tried to ask a Freedom Caucus Member, Republican Congressman Bob Good of Virginia whether or not he would support ousting Kevin McCarthy as speaker, and I asked him multiple times during the interview and he just would not answer the question. Let's take a look at that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ACOSTA: Why not say you're linking arms with Matt Gaetz and you're ready to oust him as speaker?


REP. BOB GOOD (R-VA): Well, this isn't about personalities or individuals.

ACOSTA: Is there somebody else you might be interested in as speaker?

GOOD: Well, we will cross that bridge if we get to it.

ACOSTA: You're not going to the -- I guess to the position at this point that he should be removed as speaker?

GOOD: I'll tell you this, Jim. Speaker McCarthy fought through 15 votes to become speaker. I would like him to bring that same intensity to fight to cut our spending.

ACOSTA: And so, it sounds like he's not your guy. I guess I just don't understand why not just come out and say it.

GOOD: Repeat again, that kind of performance is why I voted against him 14 times during the speaker battle.

ACOSTA: One last chance, should he stay or should he go?

GOOD: Well, I'm focused on us doing our job for the American people. And if that takes place, we'll see what happens.


ACOSTA: Yes, and Larry, I think if Matt Gaetz does not have Bob Good on his side, then this doesn't sound like he's going to go that well.

SABATO: Yes, you would think that he would probably side with Gaetz, although I'll have to tell you, he's my congressman. I'm glad it was Scott that used the word buffoon because it really applies here. I don't think they'll succeed. And probably some of the people who have been Matt Gaetz's associates and backers realize that already. It's very difficult for this to succeed.

And they don't want to be associated with another losing effort and particularly one led by Matt Gaetz. So as I said, the stars haven't completely aligned yet, but probably McCarthy survives. The real question is whether Gaetz does this over and over and over again because as I understand it, and Scott worked up there, but as I understand it, he can do it as many times as he wants until the rules are changed.

Maybe the House will decide that it's important to have 10 members submit a motion to vacate, rather than just having one person be able to do it. And you can see Gaetz doing it repeatedly.

ACOSTA: And Scott, I mean, you were just saying a few moments ago, McCarthy has been effective as speaker, but he did put himself in this position, where his leadership can be challenged, as Larry said, multiple times. He kind of did this to himself.

JENNINGS: Yes, it's one of the -- yes, it's one of the deals he had to cut back when he was trying to become speaker in the first place. And many of us predicted at the time that it would -- it would eventually come back to revisit him. And it is. My suspicion is, is if Gaetz tried to shut down the House by doing this over and over and over, people would get tired of it and they would change the rules. And they should change the rules because it's not right for one person to impose their will on 434 other people.

And it's not really right for one Republican to impose his or her will when you've got the vast majority of the rest of the conference going one direction, you want to go another. You're not in the majority of your own party, you're in the majority of the House. And so that's not the way the House is supposed to work. It's a majoritarian institution being hijacked by a very fringe minority.

ACOSTA: Yes. It's almost like creating a filibuster of sorts for the House of Representatives.


ACOSTA: A little strange. And Larry, let me ask you this. I want to see if you can weigh in on Congressman Dean Phillips stepping down from the Democratic leadership role. He has openly questioned having Joe Biden -- whether Joe Biden should run for a second term or whether there should be a primary challenger for President Biden. What do you make of this and it sounds like, I mean, we were talking to Maria Cardona about this earlier on in the program, as well as Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

It sounds like Dean Phillips is rather lonely in this regard when it comes to Democratic lawmakers.

SABATO: Yes, you could say that. He's probably the only one, in fact, I don't think there are many of them privately who have even expressed the kinds of doubts that Dean Phillips has. And look, it's his right. He's an elected official in the party, he can say whatever he wants, but there are consequences for doing what he has done. And he has isolated himself. Maybe he'll be proven right eventually. I don't think so myself, but it's possible he will be. But being a prophet doesn't always make you popular in your own time. And he clearly is very unpopular within the Democratic caucus right now.

ACOSTA: And Scott, I mean, I guess, one of the things that's kind of interesting about all of this is that the Democrats and their leadership were rather efficient and streamlined in, I guess, showing Phillips the door or perhaps he saw the light and thought it was a good time to leave. Whereas on the other side of the aisle, it's just not that disciplined right now. How do you see Kevin McCarthy getting through this next period?

JENNINGS: Well, Phillips is part of the leadership, and the Republican leadership is fine. It's the fringe of the party, the fringe of the fringe, and occasionally as you all may have noticed the fringe of the Democrats causes them some headaches from time to time. Phillips may be lonely as it relates to Democratic elites, but he is not lonely as it relates to Democrats in every poll I've ever seen who really would prefer it if Biden didn't run and they had other options.


So I can see why he's doing this. I believe it is a long shot. They have changed the rules to make it nearly impossible to get rid of Joe Biden. But if you just look at the polling, it's quite obvious Democrats are nervous about Biden's prospects in '24 and they really wanted some other choices.

ACOSTA: Yes, it's -- but when you talk to Democratic lawmakers, I mean, it's almost every one down the line, they're just not going in the direction that Dean Phillips trying to go.

Scott Jennings, Larry Sabato, thank you very much, guys. Appreciate it.

SABATO: Thank you, Jim.

ACOSTA: All right, thanks. In the meantime, Democrats in Washington are fighting for Congress to authorize aid to Ukraine. That was snipped out of that continuing resolution to keep the government open this weekend. Next, what it could mean for the fate of that country as it defends itself against Russia.

And later, a new surge at the U.S.-Mexico border that has one city calling it a humanitarian crisis. Plus, this weekend's U2 concert was something that was just about out of this world. If you haven't seen this yet, you're going to want to take a look at this. The performance they put on at the Sphere in Las Vegas. It's a venue like you've never seen before. We'll talk about that in just a little bit.

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.




JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want to assure our American allies and the American people and the people of Ukraine that you can count on our support. We will not walk away. The vast majority of both parties, I'll say it again, Democrats and Republicans, Senate and the House, support helping Ukraine. Stop playing games. Get this done.


ACOSTA: Joining us now to talk about this, retired Lieutenant General Mark Hertling, a CNN military analyst.

General Hertling, great to see you. That's the president there calling on Congress to get busy and pass that funding to continue to support the people in Ukraine's -- continue to support that fight against the Russians. Of course, as you know, was snipped out of that stopgap spending measure to keep the government up and running.

I guess your thoughts on this, General Hertling. What happens, and I suppose the scenario could emerge, what happens if Congress can't get it done and this funding dries up? What message does that send? What does that do to the Ukrainians?

LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, it's a couple of things, Jim. First of all, you know, there's a very small minority in Congress who are sabotaging the United States foreign policy. And they are influencing in a negative way a fight for democracy and sovereignty and protection of an entire culture and its people by withholding this aid.

We have been the leaders in this effort, with our Western allies, 50 of them, the last time that they met at the Ramstein Conference, and for the United States to go through the things that President Biden talked about this morning is just despicable in terms of being caused by a very select few in Congress.

You know, Jim, you and I have talked, you know me. I've spent 16 of my 38 years in the military overseas. And people in other governments watch us very closely. They trust us to do things. And when they're seeing the kinds of things that are taking place in America right now, they lose some of that trust. So it's not only just how it's affecting Ukraine, which is critical, it's also affecting how we're trusted on the world stage.

ACOSTA: And could this have a psychological impact on President Zelenskyy, on Ukrainian forces? I mean, Zelenskyy was just here in the United States in the last couple of weeks, going up to the United Nations General Assembly, going up on Capitol Hill, taking photos with lawmakers who couldn't get this passed over the weekend. I mean -- and to have the rug pulled out from under him. I mean, I have to think that that would have some kind of effect.

HERTLING: Yes, it would certainly have a psychological effect. And I'm sure that there are leaders in Ukraine right now who are concerned about this. The president, our president, President Biden promised that this would get done, but he also had a deal with the congressional Republicans that they would include this in the package in the first place, in the initial deal that he made. So it will be a hard push, but in order to regain that trust, which we need on the multi-national environment, this has to be done very quickly.

There can't be any delays because it's not only going to affect how other people see the United States, it's going to affect the way Ukraine continues with their offensive, which truthfully is gaining some momentum in both the southeast and the east. So it has to continue, and it has to be done quickly. There can't be any delays in reestablishing the funding for the weapons and the equipment that go to the Ukrainian armed forces.

ACOSTA: And if the U.S. fails to get this out of the Congress and over to the Ukrainians, isn't that a win for Putin? Doesn't that bail out Vladimir Putin? I mean, the Ukrainians have had him up against the ropes for some time now. I mean, this was all supposed to be over months ago, from their point of view in the Kremlin, and this would just come at a perfect time for Vladimir Putin, and just bail him out, wouldn't it?

HERTLING: Yes, well, I'd go one step further than that, Jim. I would say that it already has been a win for Putin and those who think like him. They have seen the turmoil and the dysfunction in our government in several ways. This is just the latest one. So they are continuing to use that mantra among some of our allies to say the United States is not dependable, you should not trust them as your allies. You should trust us.

And, in fact, it may give Mr. Putin, and I'm sure it has, if I were a political leader, I would say, this is a perfect opportunity to continue to try and extend this conflict more and more, and it's going to be difficult, but I think part of Mr. Putin's strategy is to make this a frozen conflict, like he's done in four other nations in Europe.


So, yes, I think it certainly does help him, but I think more importantly, it shows the world that there are times when we can't be depended upon because we're leaning towards autocrats and dictators.

ACOSTA: All right. You've given us a lot to think about. Lt. General Mark Hertling, always great to talk to you. I knew you're the perfect person to go for this. Thanks a lot for your time. As always, we appreciate it.

HERTLING: Thank you, Jim.

ACOSTA: All right. And the city of San Diego says a new surge of migrants is now a humanitarian crisis. A closer look at the problem, that's next.

You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.


ACOSTA: Right now the U.S.-Mexico border, San Diego County officials are asking the federal government for more resources to help with a major surge of migrants in recent weeks. They just declared a humanitarian crisis saying U.S. border agents dropped off around 7500 migrants in the county over just the last 13 days.


CNN's Camila Bernal traveled to the border this past week to see the situation firsthand.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How many you got?



BERNAL: Hundreds of migrants almost constantly arriving in waves into the California border.



BERNAL: Sometimes 50 or 100, or just five. Many with the help of a so- called coyote or smuggler. We ran into one operating openly at the border. He asked us not to show his face and distort his voice for fear of being killed.

(On-camera): He says to get to the U.S., you need at least $2,500.

(Voice-over): The illegal trafficking of people operating almost like a travel agency. The coyotes arrange the trip starting in the Middle East, Asia, South or Central America, then they buy plane tickets and tell migrants exactly where to go. With each paying a few thousand dollars or between $9,000 to $12,000 for Mexican nationals, the business is lucrative.

(On-camera): He says they're at war with another cartel, and so the only way they can get money is by bringing people in.

(Voice-over): People like Alexander.

(On-camera): He says he came here because of the violence that you live in Colombia.

JACQUELINE ARELLANO, BORDER KINDNESS: The number of hundreds of people being here at any given time over the last couple of weeks is not normal.

BERNAL: Behind me is Mexico. This is an area in Boulevard, California, where there is a gap in the border wall, so a lot of the migrants are able to just walk into the United States. They continue this walk along the border wall, and eventually turn themselves into Border Patrol. This is where that asylum process begins.

ARELLANO: They don't have food and they don't have water and they don't have supplies on them.

BERNAL (voice-over): Jacqueline Arellano with the nonprofit Border Kindness says there's not enough to address the need.

ARELLANO: It's just regular folks patching up together in a humanitarian response to a huge crisis is not sustainable.

BERNAL: This week, the county of San Diego with a bipartisan vote, unanimously declared a humanitarian crisis.

NORA VARGAS, SAN DIEGO COUNTY SUPERVISOR: The reason why we're advocating that the federal government get engaged in this process is because this is a federal issue. You're talking about asylum seekers that, you know, legally have a right to be here and to be processed and to get to the final destination.

BERNAL: The hope is that the federal government provides for migrants like Mayra, and thousands of others who after being processed by Customs and Border Protection will eventually be released in the streets of San Diego.

(On-camera): She says she wants to work, be honorable, and have a good job.

(Voice-over): But first they wait in the desert, these makeshift shelters their only protection.

Camila Bernal, CNN, Boulevard, California.


ACOSTA: In Texas, the Del Rio and El Paso sections are among the busiest along the U.S. southern border. My next guest is very familiar with the ongoing crisis. El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser joins us now.

Mayor Leeser, how is your community dealing with all of this right now?

MAYOR OSCAR LEESER (D), EL PASO, TEXAS: Well, you know, one of the things that it's really important that we talk about, we're working with a broken immigration process and we're in a state of emergency. You know, in the last 30 days, we've passed over 16,000 asylum seekers that have come into the United States that are -- they're not coming to El Paso. And El Paso, only about 1 percent stay in El Paso. The rest is coming to the United States so it's really important that we find a place for them to stay.

They stay here between one to three days, but it's been really, really challenging for us because of the numbers. The numbers are huge. We have no hotel capacity. We started with four hotels about maybe two weeks ago. We're up to 10 hotels. We've opened up a recreational park. We've opened up an abandoned school that had been closed. We did that last night about midnight, because the numbers continue to increase.

And if we continue to work with a broken immigration process, this is what happens. The good thing is, though, the federal government has been assisting us and we've had funding by the federal government, the local taxpayers cannot afford it. It would bankrupt the city of El Paso if we were able to -- if we have to put it on the back of the local taxpayers. But we are at a humanitarian crisis, and we are well overcrowded.

ACOSTA: And you were just mentioning that the federal government has been helping out. I was going to ask, is there anything more that the Biden administration can do to alleviate all of this. Do you have any thoughts on what can be done?

LEESER: Well, they have to fix the broken immigration process. We can't continue to do the same thing over and over again and think something different is going to happen. And that's what keeps happening. We went through it last year back in November when we had 3,000 crossings a day.


We're up over 2,000 crossings now a day. And it becomes really very challenging for a community like El Paso. But it's a very welcoming community and we continue to -- we housed, like I said, over 16,000 people in the last 30 days, and we've been able to provide over 40,000 meals. So it's a great community, but at some point, we are at our breaking point, and it's important that we change, we fix it, and move forward.

And whether it's, you know, administration or Congress, we have to have a bipartisan really solution and if we don't, we'll continue to do the same thing over and over again. And I understand, they keep giving us money, but they'll have to continue to give us money because this won't fix the problem that we've continued to occur day in and day out, not only in El Paso, but, you know, all of Texas and California.

ACOSTA: And you said that the immigration process has to be fixed. The broken immigration process. What about that process needs to be fixed?

LEESER: Well, it needs to happen south of the border. It's not going to happen in the United States. We need to work with the other countries. We need to work as they're coming in to the United States. Like you said, El Paso is a very welcoming community, but at the end of the day, we need to have some kind of process to be able to fix the process and it won't be fixed here in the United States. It has to be fixed south of the border.

And you know, one of the things that the border is closed today. It was closed yesterday, and it will continue to be closed. But again, the immigration process is broken, that we continue to have these type of crises within our community and the U.S.

ACOSTA: And I guess, we saw our Camila Bernal in that piece just a few moments ago. She was just walking through a gap in some of the fencing, so it looks as though in some of these places, and perhaps you're seeing it in the El Paso area, as well, the folks who sort of have an unimpeded route across the border in some spots.

LEESER: Well, the numbers are so huge that the Border Patrol does not have the opportunity to do their job. You know, when you have so many men and women that work for the Border Patrol and you have so many people come into the United States, they don't have the opportunity to do their jobs. You know, one of the things that -- once they get an A number, an A number is when they go through the immigration process, they're legal in the United States.

And now they're processed and now we've got to help them move through the system but they're not allowed to work. And I really believe you're talking about fixing problem. We need to allow them to work in the U.S. and be able to work instead of being here and waiting five to six years for their hearing.

ACOSTA: Yes. And just your thoughts on -- I'm sure you watched this down in El Paso, that the government almost went into a shutdown. What would that have done to efforts to, I guess, put a lid on this and to control the surge at the border? Would that have helped efforts had the government shutdown?

LEESER: We do have funding from the federal government and we were prepared if the shutdown was going to happen. You know, the Border Patrol will come to work day in and day out. The administrative part would not have happened with a register and put people through the system. And I talked to the city manager and I talked to the Office of Emergency Management, and we were prepared to go and help them to be able to register the people that are coming in.

So we were prepared for the government, whether it was going to stay open or not. You know, one of the things we talk about day in and day out is that we need to prepare for the unknown. And that was one of the big unknowns. And another known is, do the demographics of the people come into the United States continues to change, from single adults to families. So two weeks ago, we were at about 30 percent family and 67 percent single adults. And then 1 percent unoccupied -- I mean -- yes, unaccompanied children. And today we're basically at 52 percent families and about 46 percent single adults.

So it so keeps changing. And that makes it really hard for us to be able to provide when we're trying to provide shelter and food, and make sure that we help them get to their destination.

ACOSTA: Absolutely. Well, I don't -- I imagine that is a huge challenge.

Mayor Oscar Leeser, thank you very much for joining us. I hope we can have you back as the weeks go on here, and just keep tabs with you on how your community is doing. Really appreciate your time this evening. Thanks very much. Best of luck to you.

LEESER: I'm very, very proud of the way that, you know, our city is reacting and the way we make sure there's been nobody on the street. We've saved over 5,000 people that would have been on the street and we take them in and then we make sure that they get to their destination. So we continue to do the job and we'll continue to do it.

ACOSTA: All right. Thank you very much. Appreciate it. We'll be right back.



ACOSTA: President Biden today praising the bipartisan deal to avoid a government shutdown, also lamenting what it took to avoid a crisis.


BIDEN: I'm sick and tired, I'm sick and tired of the brinksmanship. And so are the American people. I've been doing this, as you all point out to me a lot, a long time. I've never quite seen a Republican Congress or any Congress act like this. (END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: And there's a new book that echoes that message and argues the extreme right wing of the Republican Party is threatening the country as it evolves towards a multi-racial democracy. The book is called "Tyranny of the Minority" and one of its authors, Steve Levitsky joins us now.

Steve, great to have you on. I know we had you on a couple weeks ago and talking about this very important book. You know, it feels like the title of your book is what played out to some extent over these last several days and heading up right to the brink of a government shutdown. What was your sense of things as you saw all of this unfold?

STEVE LEVITSKY, AUTHOR, "TYRANNY OF THE MINORITY": Yes, we are -- it feels like we are sliding into minority rule in a couple of senses. First of all, we have some institutions that allow political minorities to prevail over political majorities. The electoral college loves the loser of the presidency to win the presidency.


The Senate filibuster allows 41 senators to systemically, permanently thwart the majority of -- in the Senate. But at the same time, we have a very small political minority exercising outside the influence over our politics and blocking initiatives that vast majorities of Americans support. And this is primarily a product of the recent radicalization -- or not-so-recent radicalization of the Republican Party.

You know, it's not that unusual for there to be fringe elements in either party. Through most of our history, there have been some far- right or far-left members of Congress, but what's really critical and has always been critical to our democracy is that party leaders, mainstream party leaders have to prevail over these extremists. They can't let extremists exercise outside influence. And what's happening in the Republican Party is that the leadership is losing control over, frankly, anti-democratic extremists.

ACOSTA: Well, and just to follow up on what you just said there, could it be argued that Speaker McCarthy did overcome that, that minority, tyranny of the minority to put it in your words? Yes.

Absolutely. Let me be clear. Kevin McCarthy did the right thing this weekend. And I hope it continues and if it does continue, if he does continue to build majorities in the Congress and work with Democrats, that will bring us to a much, much better place. I'm skeptical. I worry that he's not going to be able to continue this because we've seen a progressive process of radicalization of the Republican Party really for 30 years, right? Remember the Gingrich revolution, which shifted the party to the right 30 years ago?

ACOSTA: Right.

LEVITSKY: That brought John Boehner to the leadership. John Boehner was then overthrown by the Tea Party revolution, which brought Kevin McCarthy to the fore. Kevin McCarthy now is faced with the threat of being consumed by an even more radical right-wing flank. And I hope -- very much hope that he shifts course and is able to impose himself on this radical wing. But history tells us in the last 30 years, that that's not likely to prevail.

ACOSTA: And it almost is heading in the direction from tyranny of the minority to tyranny of the one because what we're seeing in the House of Representatives this week is that it only takes one lawmaker to call the motion to vacate the speaker of the House, to begin the process, to have the speaker of the House removed. It almost gives -- it almost arms the House lawmaker with a kind of filibuster in a way.

LEVITSKY: Right. And the Republican Party leadership has got to figure out how to handle its radical flank. Because we have, as you said, a very small number of Republican extremists who are engaging in acts of sabotage. Sabotage against our foreign policy, our standing in the world. And sabotage against the functioning of our Democratic government. They are actively trying to throw sticks and stones into the gears of American government.

ACOSTA: Well, Steve Levitsky, it's great to have you on. This is perfect timing to have you on this weekend. I suspect we're going to have to call on you again in the days and weeks to come.

Steve Levitsky, one of the authors of the book "The Tyranny of the Minority," it's a very important book that's out right now. And a lot of people are buying it and reading it. So congratulations for that as well.

Steve, thanks very much for your time. We appreciate it.

LEVITSKY: Thanks for having me.

ACOSTA: All right. And shifting gears, a unique concert experience that you have to see to believe this weekend in Las Vegas as U2 becomes the first act to play at the Sphere. I almost don't want to hype this up too much because I want to get tickets to this. But what people are saying about the shows and the one-of-a-kind venue. That's coming up.

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.



ACOSTA: Are you ready for some more Taylor Swift content? Well, here it is. Taylor Swift arriving at tonight's game between the Kansas City Chiefs and New York Jets. You can see in these images that she showed up to the game with her friend, oh, none other than Ryan Reynolds, but Swift is being linked possibly romantically to Kansas City tight end Travis Kelce. The Big Apple will never be the same again.

This weekend, a one-of-a-kind venue opened up with a one-of-a-kind band. U2 is the first act to play at the NSG Sphere on the Las Vegas Strip. The video comes from our very own Donie O'Sullivan, who rumor has it, is Irish, who was at the concert both Friday and Saturday night and he's also a huge U2 fan. The gigantic venue is billed as the largest spherical structure in the world and the biggest screen in the world. An LED screen on the inside and the outside of the structure.

CNN business producer Jon Sarlin joins us now.

Jon, we made you be up live for this because I'm obsessed with this. And so I apologize to everybody in advance. I almost don't want to promote it because I want to get tickets to this. I haven't put in the PT request, but I want to go see this. What is going on with this venue? It's absolutely mind boggling what they've done.

JON SARLIN, CNN BUSINESS PRODUCER: Jim, I'm with you. I'm on the West Coast. I'm looking forward to seeing it.


SARLIN: If you've been on Twitter over the last 24 hours, you have seen videos of inside this show.

ACOSTA: Look at those pictures.

SARLIN: Some numbers inside. It's 366 feet tall, 516 feet wide. Expands around two city blocks. It has 1.2 million LEDs and 160,000 speakers. It seats 18,000 people. And it cost $2.3 billion. That's about $1 billion over budget, but the people behind it, including James Dolan, can't be too upset with the spectacle that U2 is launching with the Sphere.


ACOSTA: Yes, and you see some of the images right now. Those are -- we ripped this off of Donie's Instagram feed. I hope that's OK, Donie. But I mean, the images are spectacular. And it looks as though -- I mean, it's likes iMax on steroids. How long did it take for this production to take shape? And what did you two have to put into this to make this happened?

I mean, you can look right there. It looks like you're outside in a concert, but you're actually in the Sphere. Anyway, just pointing that out to our viewers.

SARLIN: Yes, so U2 says it took around 18 months for them to conceive it. Now the entire project took around a decade to conceive from James Dolan. U2's creative director told "Variety" he initially didn't think it would work. Some problems with it. The sound in a sphere is notoriously difficult to capture. The Sphere these they figured that out with these (INAUDIBLE). More than 100,000 speakers throughout, and you know, the results speak for themselves.

At the big U2 show, some of the biggest names in media, Jeff Bezos, LeBron James, Paul McCartney, all there to see this new kind of show.

ACOSTA: Wow. Yes, I feel like this is going to change. And then when you look at the outside of the Sphere, that is also spectacular. I mean, we may not be able to show those pictures, but I saw at one point, they made it into the shape of a basketball, they made it into the shape of a moon. And it's just -- there's one right there that shows U2 in promoting their concert. But I mean, it's really spectacular, this technology that they've been able -- I've just never seen anything like it.

SARLIN: Yes, I mean, you know, it turned on a few months ago, and the exterior of it has already become a staple in Vegas. You know, there's a big blinking eye.


SARLIN: It cycles between graphics. All of this is the brainchild of James Dolan, the man behind Madison Square Garden and the Knicks. He conceived this, poured money into it, and now it's open to the public.

ACOSTA: All right. Very good, Jon Sarlin, I'm on my way. Maybe we'll get tickets or we'll go together. We just have to clear it with the folks here first. It won't be a weekend show, might have to one of those Wednesday ones.


ACOSTA: All right, Jon, thanks a lot. We'll be right back.



ACOSTA: Tonight on "JOSE ANDRES AND FAMILY IN SPAIN," the family visits the southern coast and his daughters get ready for a flamenco festival.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Inez and I are getting ready for the festival. A week-long celebration of Andalusian food, drink, and culture. And yes, of course, we need to look the part.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You look stunning.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know, it's my first time as a grown-up in a flamenco dress.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You look beautiful.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I love your colors.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I really like it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jerez and all of Andalusia is famous for flamenco music and dance. It's a whole culture that first came to Spain as early as the 9th Century, performed originally by the Roma people, known as Gitanos here in Andalusia.


ACOSTA: And recently, I sat down with the chef to learn what Andalusia means to him.


JOSE ANDRES, CHEF, HOST OF "JOSE ANDRES AND FAMILY IN SPAIN": It's something about being a young boy, growing up really in the kingdom of tapas and sherry. And it's a place that everybody celebrates life, one glass of sherry at a time. One gambas al ajillo or garlic and shrimp at a time. It's a great place to make friends, even if you go alone. And obviously, Andalusia, because of its proximity to Africa, was the place where Spain got huge influences obviously from the Arab world.

Yes, invasions are never good, wars are never good, but then when you move centuries later, is in a way what enriches a country, people mixing with people. If you find a place that is really a fusion between different parts of the world, that's happening right in Andalusia. All the Arab world, all the Muslim world was very important, and to these days, all these traditions remain in many, many, many dishes and ingredients.

ACOSTA: And you took your daughters to a traditional Andalusian festival. What was that like?

ANDRES: Well, Andalusia, they dance in the moment anybody start tapping, doing Las Palmas. It's the land of flamenco, it's without a doubt one of the great popular dances, the best masters of flamenco come from Andalusia obviously. And when you are especially during the springtime, many of the cities and little towns will do ferias, which are these amazing celebration where very much the city shuts down and everybody has these kind of casitas or they are kind of family -- you can call it private clubs where usually everybody is invited and everyone is celebrating family, friends, new friends. They all come to dance flamenco, to drink sherry, and to eat whatever is the traditional tapa that every one of these casitas are cooking.

ACOSTA: It's a party.

ANDRES: It's a big party. I mean, when you go to Las Sierra and Andalusia, you know that you're going to have the best time of times. Why? Because this entire city celebrating, for not only one day, but one day, two days, three days, four days. Those are celebrations that they seem, they never end. And actually, it's a good thing. The day they end, you are kind of happy. The next day you're finally relaxing.


ACOSTA: And my thanks to Chef Jose Andres. And just a reminder, the all-new episode of "JOSE ANDRES AND FAMILY IN SPAIN" is next. It's a great show. You got to check it out right here on CNN.

Thanks very much for joining me this evening. Reporting from Washington, I'm Jim Acosta. It's been a very long weekend. Want to send out a shoutout to all of the cast and crew here on this program. We do this every weekend. I'll see you next weekend. Good night.