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Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN) On Resolution To Expel Rep. George Santos; CIA Director In Qatar To Negotiate Second Truce Extension; Trump Legal Team To Argue He Was Right To Doubt Election Results. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired November 29, 2023 - 07:30   ET





REP. GREG PENCE (R-IN): If you read the report I think that says it all.

REP. NICOLE MALLIOTAKIS (R-NY): And they've determined that he used his personal funds for personal reasons. He went to luxury boutiques. He spent it very inappropriately. He stole from his donors. And he should be removed from Congress.

REP. RYAN ZINKE (R-MT): I think George Santos is toast.


PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN ANCHOR: A growing number of House Republicans -- you heard them there -- saying they plan to vote to expel Congressman George Santos. That vote expected tomorrow.

Now, Santos has survived previous attempts to oust him but there is growing momentum for this latest effort following a damning House Ethics Committee investigation. That report showing evidence that the New York congressman used campaign funds for items like personal travel, cosmetics, and even OnlyFans.

Santos -- well, he remains defiant.


REP. GEORGE SANTOS (R-NY): I will not be resigning. Are we to now assume that one is no longer innocent until proven guilty and they are, in fact guilty, until proven innocent -- or are we now to simply assume that because somebody doesn't like you they get to throw you out of your job?


MATTINGLY: Joining us now for his weekly check-in breakfast with Burchett, Republican Congressman Tim Burchett of Tennessee.

Congressman, last month, George Santos was seen coming out of your office holding a baby. When a reporter --


MATTINGLY: -- asked Santos if it was his baby he replied, quote, "Not yet." A lot of questions about that, and we'll get to the serious stuff in a minute. But just to start, did we ever figure out the origin of the baby?

BURCHETT: I believe it was one of George's folks that works with him -- a lady in his office's child, from what I understood. It was obviously not mine. I have one daughter. She's back in Tennessee and my wife and I are very proud of her.

MATTINGLY: I appreciate that, as a father of four, very much.

On the actual serious questions, the expulsion vote -- we expect it to come tomorrow. There is clear momentum in the wake of the Ethics Committee report.

Will you vote to expel?

BURCHETT: I don't know yet. I keep going back to the old thing we've got here of a court system. Do we -- do we throw somebody out that hasn't been convicted? I think it sets a precedent maybe that we're not willing to do right now. But I suspect the momentum's there. I see the public opinion.

You know, I told George he ought to -- he ought to resign at the last minute and we carry him off the House floor like a scene from "Rudy" and he can sort of pose like George Washington crossing the Potomac. So I don't -- you know, I know he likes -- he likes the show.

But honestly, I mean, we all know he's leaving. And I do believe in due process so that's kind of where I'm hung up on it. And there's several Democrats who are as well.


MATTINGLY: It's kind of a paradoxical "Rudy" who was carried off for accomplishment. This would seem to be the opposite to some degree.


MATTINGLY: I do want to ask you -- we always talk about legislative issues -- in particular, appropriations. The Speaker of the House, who you support, has been more open I think to the idea of putting together Ukraine and Israel aid so long as it has a border component. Those negotiations are very much underway, particularly in the Senate.

Do you see an outcome there and would you support it?

BURCHETT: No, I haven't supported any funding for Ukraine. We're supporting a war in a corrupt country against a dictator -- obviously, Putin. I mean, their GDP is somewhere between France and Canada right now and we've basically given them over $114 billion unchecked dollars. And we told Trump he couldn't have $4 billion to fix the wall and they said that would break us.

So -- and I've talked to so many people from over there who said the supply chain issues and just the immense stealing that's going on of our tax dollars have given me some great pause there.

And I wish they wouldn't tie it together but I realize the urgency there with our own border if you look at just the vast numbers -- the millions of people that have come over our border unchecked. And some of them are on our terrorist watchlist, obviously. So I think that's

MATTINGLY: And border provisions for you -- the border provisions wouldn't be enough to shift your opposition?

BURCHETT: No, it wouldn't. I think they ought to separate the bills, honestly. I mean, if they're good, they're good. Let's do it and don't tie them to Israel, don't tie them to the border, don't tie anything. Just put individual bills -- Ukraine, Israel, the border -- and vote on those individually.

I mean, we are up here. What are we doing? We're naming post offices most of the time. That's mostly what we do in Congress. And then we pontificate to you all and run home and try to raise money. I think we ought to just stay here and do our job and work something out that's feasible and workable with the American public.

Now, the base -- our base definitely does not support any more money for Ukraine.


BURCHETT: I mean, folks are having trouble. We're not -- we've got veterans living under bridges for goodness sake.


BURCHETT: We're not -- and you look at New York City where the homeless are taking over the motels and the -- and the New York people that are in a bad way are living on subways. So, you know, where are our priorities in this country?

MATTINGLY: Well, I mean, I think it's part of the rationale of trying to bring all this stuff together in a single bill -- trying to cobble together 218 in the House --


MATTINGLY: -- and 60 in the Senate.

We've got a lot more to get to in the weeks ahead, including deadlines in January and February on appropriations and talking about long-term fiscal issues as well.

Congressman Tim Burchett, we appreciate the clarification on the baby. But more importantly --

BURCHETT: Yeah. MATTINGLY: -- on the issues of the day. Thanks so much as always.

BURCHETT: Thank you, brother. I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving.

MATTINGLY: You as well, sir.

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: At least one person is dead after a U.S. military aircraft crashed off the coast of Japan. Several crew members were on board. What Japan's Coast Guard is now saying about that crash just ahead.

MATTINGLY: And new demands from Trump lawyers in his attempts to prove the 2020 election was stolen. A look at his team's new strategy.



MATTINGLY: We are following breaking news this morning that at least one person has been found dead after a U.S. military Osprey aircraft carrying six people crashed off the coast of Japan's Yakushima Island. That's according to the Japanese Coast Guard. Now, Japan further is saying the crash happened after it received a request from the U.S. military for an emergency landing.

It's the latest crash involving an Osprey aircraft. Experts say they are generally safe to fly but have had a history of mechanical issues and numerous accidents reported over the years.

Well, negotiations are underway for a second extension in the truce between Israel and Hamas.

CIA Director Bill Burns visited Doha on Tuesday for meetings with Qatari officials as well as his Israeli and Egyptian counterparts. He's there to push for a broader hostage deal that would expand beyond the current women and children, according to a source familiar with the talks.

HILL: CNN is also learning that Burns will attempt to expand those talks to include the men who are being held in addition to male and female Israeli soldiers. The deal would include extending that temporary pause in fighting.

Joining us now, CNN political and foreign policy analyst Barak Ravid. He's also political and foreign policy reporter for Axios. And Barak, always good to have you with us.

And I understand you're hearing a little bit more about where things stand in terms of the hostages set to be released today. What new information do you have?


First, there's -- again, I want to be careful here because nothing is done until it's done --

HILL: Um-hum.

RAVID: -- and we've seen the last few days how we had expectations for things and then it did not materialize.

But I think there are good signs that maybe one American citizen will be released today. Again, it is still not final.

HILL: Um-hum.

RAVID: It's final only when the Red Cross gives those people to the IDF. But there are very good signs that this might happen today.

MATTINGLY: It would be a huge development -- one the Biden administration has been keenly focused on.

Barak, the dynamics of the negotiations for a continuation of the pause or an extension of the pause -- everything is happening behind the scenes. It's really tough to pin down where everyone is.

What's your sense of the plausibility of an extension?

RAVID: So, I think when it comes to an extension of another few days, until you exhaust all the nine days of the pause that were agreed upon in principle a few days ago I think that's going to happen. That's pretty clear to me. Both sides have an interest. But I don't know what's going to happen afterwards.

And I think that all the talk about some sort of a new deal are still premature. The Israelis made clear yesterday in Qatar during the talks that they will not discuss any further deals on hostages until all the women and children are released. And there are at least between 30 to 40 women and children still in Gaza.

So I think we'll have to see what happens in the next three-four days and only then we can start talking about further deals.


HILL: Is there a sense that they will, in fact, be able to get all of those 30 to 40 released?

RAVID: I think they -- I think there's a good chance to get most of them. There are several problems with specific cases.

HILL: Um-hum.

RAVID: Like, for example, the Bibas family -- mother and two small children -- one of them Kfir Bibas only 10 months old. The Hamas claims it doesn't have them. The Israelis claim Hamas has given this family to another militia in Gaza and that he knows very well where they are. And I think this is why the Israelis are telling Hamas through the mediators that it will not discuss any further deals until all the women and children are out. This is an attempt to press Hamas to release this family. MATTINGLY: Barak, as talks about an extension continue there are also

-- U.S. officials have been very candid about whenever combat operations continue they want and have been telling Israeli -- their Israeli counterparts that in the south, operations must be much different than they were in the north, primarily because of how many people -- refugees have moved toward that area because of what happened in the north.

What kind of effect do you think that would have on Israeli officials and their planning?

RAVID: I think that there already -- there already has been an effect on Israeli planning. The IDF already approved its plans for southern Gaza, but I think that there's some sort of a review that's been taking place in the last few days because the Israelis realize that if they want to operate in southern Gaza it has to be very different than what they did in northern Gaza. The situation is completely different there, especially that they are the ones who asked a million Palestinians to move from northern Gaza to southern Gaza, and they cannot really move them again.

So I think we will see a much different mode of operation and more specific and more targeted raids even though in such a dense area I'm not even sure such a thing is possible.

MATTINGLY: Yeah, it's such an important point.

Barak Ravid, a belated welcome to the CNN family a day late. We are all better for having you on our team.

RAVID: Thank you so much.

MATTINGLY: Thank you.

HILL: Yeah. Nice to make it official.

MATTINGLY: Well, Liz Cheney calling out some of her Republican colleagues in her new book, accusing them of enabling former President Trump. One congressman even called Trump, quote, "Orange Jesus."

HILL: So there's that.

Hunter Biden offering to testify publicly in front of the House Oversight Committee. Why the chairman of that committee rejected the offer.


REP. JARED MOSKOWITZ (D-FL): They have said for an entire year all of these things that Hunter has done and tried to link that to the president. They've had no evidence doing that. The evidence is so overwhelming on Hunter Biden. Bring him to the hearing room and call his bluff.




MATTINGLY: Well, this morning, we're learning more about how former President Trump plans to defend himself in the Justice Department's election subversion trial. A new court filing shows Trump plans to argue he had good reason to believe the election was fraudulent and that, quote, "His concerns regarding fraud during the 2020 election -- rather than 'knowingly false' or criminal -- were plausible and maintained in good faith."

Joining us now, Temidayo Aganga-Williams, who served as a senior investigative counsel for the January 6 Committee. He is currently a partner at Selendy Gay Elsberg.

I lot -- I have lots of thoughts about lots of things. But on the legal side, they lost how many dozens of court challenges here? The election clearly was not fraudulent or stolen and many people told Trump that.

How do you make this case if you are a Trump lawyer?

TEMIDAYO AGANGA-WILLIAMS, FORMER ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY, EASTERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK, PARTNER, SELENDY GAY ELSBERG, FORMER SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE COUNSEL, JANUARY 6 SELECT COMMITTEE: Well, I think -- speaking first to the filing, I think it's completely baseless. I mean, this is a complete red herring. He's trying to get documents that have nothing to do with the question of whether or not he is, in fact, guilty here. Whether he had a criminal intent here.

I think what he's trying to do though is one, give work to Jack Smith. He's asking for documents all across the U.S. government, from the intelligence agencies to the Department of Justice, and he's basically saying that if you find these documents it could help me prove my case.

But I think what the Trump defense lawyer is trying to do here is to say I didn't have criminal intent if I'm -- if I'm the former president. I didn't intend to do something criminal because in my own head, my subjective mind thought I was doing something that was -- that was -- that was legal.

That is not a defense here. And what I mean by that is that you can think subjectively that the election was stolen. It doesn't mean you get to storm the Capitol, for example -- and that's the difference. If you're engaging in something that you believe to be illegal, even if you had good intentions, that's still a crime. And I think that distinction here is going to be really important.

HILL: It's going to be fascinating to watch.


HILL: We also want to get your take. The Supreme Court is set to hear today a case which The Atlantic said it could destroy -- the case that could destroy the government is how they labeled it. This involves the SEC, right? And basically, this was brought by a

right-wing activist -- a conservative radio talk show host who says the SEC overreached, essentially, when they came to him and said hey, you're not doing business the right way.

Could this case really destroy the government and, if so, why?

AGANGA-WILLIAMS: Well, I think it has potentially massive implications for what we call the administrative state. So when you think of agencies that make rules and regulations and sort of govern the environment, that govern the stock market, all of those are administrative agencies. And what this case is challenging is whether or not Congress can delegate authority to those states to do exactly what they do, which is decide rules and regulations on all kinds of aspects of the economy.

So what's dangerous here is that there's been a multi-decade effort -- frankly, on the conservative right, led by, for example, the Federalist Society -- to undermine the administrative state. To say that Congress cannot delegate authority to those agencies.

The danger here is that if the court were to find that delegation was impermissible, those agencies lost a lot of power. That means, for example, the SEC won't be able to regulate the stock market in the current fashion it can. For example, the EPA may not be able to regulate the environmental issues the way it currently can.

And what happens is that it then relies on Congress to basically pass laws about every single thing. And we know Congress is deadlocked. So if Congress isn't passing additional laws to regulate all aspects of the economy, and if the Supreme Court says that these agencies are -- have impermissible use of power and can't act, you're going to have a stalemate here where potentially, large swaths of our economy aren't being regulated because no one can act. And that's a real danger here.


MATTINGLY: Can I just say though -- and you've worked on Capitol Hill -- the ambiguity is the point. Kicking it to the agencies has been the point. That has been a multi-decade effort by both parties to find a way to reach deals and agreement -- Republicans and Democrats.

So I guess my question is this is how Congress does business. This undercuts both parties and their legislative accomplishments for years and years and years. And that's the intent, you think?

AGANGA-WILLIAMS: I think that's exactly the intent and it's been openly discussed in the -- in the legal forums for decades, right?

This way it's set up now has been happening so it's a new deal. It's the way the economy operates. But if this were to happen here we know Congress won't act, and what's going to happen is a stalemate. And frankly, for a lot of people, that's the goal.

HILL: What a mess.


HILL: Yes.

Great to see you this morning, Temidayo. Thank you.

AGANGA-WILLIAMS: Good to see you.

HILL: Negotiations now underway to extend the truce between Israel and Hamas. At the center of those talks is the government of Qatar. We're going to ask a Qatari official directly for an update on where these negotiations stand this morning.

MATTINGLY: And Nikki Haley scoring a major endorsement from the Koch network. Could the billionaire's war chest be enough to overtake former President Trump? We'll discuss, next.