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G-7 To Announce Ukraine Loan Agreement; Senate to Vote on IVF; Trump Holding Closed-Door Meetings. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired June 13, 2024 - 06:30   ET




KASIE HUNT, CNN ANCHOR: All right, President Biden back in Europe this morning. He is meeting with world leaders in Italy for the G-7 Summit. At the top of the agenda, securing sustained military aid for Ukraine. They're expected to announce a $50 billion loan for Ukraine using foreign Russian assets.

Our senior White House correspondent MJ Lee is traveling with the president in Italy.

MJ, good morning. Very grateful to have you on the show.

What are the details here? What do you expect from the president today?

MJ LEE, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you know, that announcement that you just mentioned, is expected to be one of the major deliverables to come out of this G-7 summit. It is a $50 billion loan that would be made to Ukraine, coming from the interests that comes from hundreds of billions of dollars in frozen Russian assets. Officials from the G-7 countries have been really negotiating over these details for a while now, trying to answer some really thorny financial questions, like, who actually would be making the loan? What would be the form of disbursement? Who would be carrying the risk of this loan? And sources are now telling CNN in recent days that this would be a lone mostly made by the U.S., but supplemented with funds from Europe, and also that all of the countries would carry some risk. And the $50 billion in loan to Ukraine would likely be made before the end of 2024.

The sense that I've gotten is that the details, trying to figure out really all of the details that would go into this very complicated loan really comes down to the wire. We know that the leaders and officials from these countries have been negotiating for the past few days as well. But U.S. officials are making clear that there really is a shared sense of urgency here with all of the countries wanting to make sure that this agreement does get announced because they do believe that this could make a big difference in Ukraine's ongoing war time efforts.

HUNT: All right, MJ Lee, live for us from Italy.

MJ, thank you very much.

All right, let's turn now to this.

Senate Democrats today forcing a vote on legislation to guarantee nationwide access to IVF treatments. It's an effort not only to enshrine federal protections for this reproductive care, but also to try to highlight Republican resistance to those measures ahead of the November election. Democratic Senator Tammy Duckworth, who used IVF to conceive her two children, has championed the bill, and she had this message for her Republican colleagues yesterday ahead of the vote.


SEN. TAMMY DUCKWORTH (D-IL): I really hope Republicans prove me wrong this week by passing this bill. I hope that when we get to the floor tomorrow, they will surprise us, that they will show they actually give a damn about women in this country, that they will, at long last, turn their empty words into action and actually help is protect access to IVF.



HUNT: The panel is back.

Mike Dubke, I want to go to you on this just because, look, this is something -


HUNT: There are - look, Republicans in the Senate actually do kind of recognize that this issue is a massive problem for them politically.


HUNT: What we saw in Alabama, Ted Cruz and Katie Britt, two Republicans have teamed up for a Republican version of this bill. The problem, of course, is that it still leaves space for states to write laws that ultimately would cause the kinds of problems that we saw in Alabama, where fertility clinics feel like they couldn't operate for fear of criminal liability based on how embryos are defined as people or not in these state laws.

So, this is not going to look great for them. I mean I think we can acknowledge this is a political - Schumer was on the floor say, well, this isn't a show vote, but that's what's going on here.

But how tough is this for Republicans?

DUBKE: Well, first, let's start with the - the vote that was - and it wasn't a vote, it was unanimous consent on the Britt-Cruz -

HUNT: Yes, they tried to bring it up. Yes.

DUBKE: They tried to bring it up and Patty Murray objected because it was unanimous consent.

So, in terms of the Republicans, they are trying - they were trying to use a carrot and stick method. Basically, if states outlawed this, they'd lose their access to Medicaid. And the Democrats did not want to do that because we're in the summer of show votes. And this summer of show votes includes the vote last week on reproductive rights. It includes the vote today, I guess it will be, on IVF.

But these are nothing but political show votes. And Schumer basically, I mean, he's not even trying at this point. He used the same talking point last week than he used this week in describing this. This is a show me Republican thing, or something along those lines.

So, I get it. We're in political season. But this is kind of the silly political season with these voters right now.

HUNT: Fair (ph).

DUBKE: I know.

ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: We should just explain what show vote means, though. And it's not uncommon for Congress, like you said, in silly season of an election year, to put bills on the floor that aren't likely to become law, right, just for the purpose of having the other side -

DUBKE: Right.

WILLIAMS: Have to take a really hard vote on it. And people will go on the campaign trail and say, look, you know, Congressmen Mike Dubke voted against supporting in vitro fertilization. What a horrible guy.

So, here we are -

KATE BEDINGFIELD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I don't understand why the Republicans don't just vote for it.


BEDINGFIELD: I don't - I didn't understand why they didn't vote for the contraception bill. I understand your argument - I understand your argument, but -

DUBKE: Well, there were several reasons. One, it was a gift to (INAUDIBLE). Secondly, it - it would have removed the restriction in the military and other - that the restriction on government dollars going to pay for abortions. There were several things hidden in that bill and this bill.

BEDINGFIELD: But most voters aren't going to hear it that - but most voters aren't going to hear it that way, right?

DUBKE: Well, they're not going to hear it. That -

BEDINGFIELD: They're not going to hear that - they're not going to hear that nuance. DUBKE: That's why it's - that's - that's why it's -

BEDINGFIELD: And at this time - at this moment where this -

DUBKE: That's why it's the summer of show votes.

BEDINGFIELD: Where this issue is so hard for Republicans. It's - it's wild to me that -

HUNT: Right. Well, so, big picture, again, I mean, Mike, I take all your points, that there were things in this bill that Republicans felt were not acceptable.


HUNT: But there's a headline on the front page in "The New York Times" today, Southern Baptists reject IVF despite evangelical's wide use. And what they're referring to is the Southern Baptist Convention, which is the largest protestant denomination in which "The New York Times" describes, you know, as sort of a - a way to be a barometer of evangelical sentiment on cultural and political issues, they voted to say that they don't think that people should use IVF because they're worried about the ethics around the embryos.

And I think when we - we're down in technicalities here on what's happening on the Senate floor. I mean, big picture, Kate, this is something where I mean I certainly - you know, I have actually embryos of my own. And when Roe fell, I - my first thought was, are these embryos stored in a blue state or a red state?


HUNT: And - because I actually care very deeply about them. Everyone has very complicated and personal ethical considerations and feelings around these things.


HUNT: But to your point, I mean, voting against this really sends a signal that I think it penetrates past politics I guess is what I would say.

BEDINGFIELD: I agree. I agree. I agree. And I think this is -- I can't imagine - I almost can't imagine an issue where the base of the Republican Party, and now, frankly, the majority of the Republican Party, elected Republican Party, is more out of step with people across the country. I mean this has historically not been a political issue. Yes, obviously, the stem cell, you know, debate, particularly - I remember particularly in 2006, I was at the DCCC.

HUNT: Yes.

BEDINGFIELD: The issue around stem cells was significant. So that's not to say these issues have never, you know, been political. But, broadly speaking, you know, the idea that a politician would be coming for your right to use IVF to conceive a child I think is - feels abhorrent to most people who aren't even particularly dialed into politics. And that's where Republicans really, really have a problem here.

WILLIAMS: More to your point if - if the conversation is about IVF and the access their too, and you're talking about, well, states would be incentivized to have Medicaid funding for - you've lost the debate.



WILLIAMS: And I think that's, to your point here -


WILLIAMS: Just sort of so many people feel very strongly about on a moral and personal level.

JEFF MASON, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, "REUTERS": And I would just circle back to the use of show vote, which is very possibly true, but it is absolutely something that people around the country are interested in and care about.

HUNT: Yes.

MASON: And it's affected families of all different shapes and sizes and stripes, from single women, to gay men, too heterosexual couples.

WILLIAMS: Absolutely.

MASON: It is an issue that a lot of people care about.

DUBKE: So, let's go back to, you've got - you've got the potential nominee, or the - the assumed nominee of the Republican Party saying we're not going to touch IVF. You've got the leaders on the Republican side saying we're not touching IVF. You have one incident of a court ruling in Alabama in which the elected Republican officials overruled that and changed the rules to make IVF legal in Alabama -

MASON: After the outrage.

DUBKE: After - well, after the outrage of a court case. The court ruled. And they're reacting to this.

WILLIAMS: And you literally right there have the Southern Baptist Convention saying they don't support -

HUNT: Yes.

BEDINGFIELD: Right. Right.

DUBKE: Well, so, as a Republican and a presbyterian, I can't speak to the Southern Baptist -

HUNT: But, look, but -

DUBKE: But the point being that's -

WILLIAMS: But it - but it's a voice in the country that - that supports (INAUDIBLE).

DUBKE: It is a voice in the country, but it's not the (INAUDIBLE) leadership.

HUNT: It's a significant voice for evangelical voters.


HUNT: And I think that for - you know, why did we get to the point where Roe was overturned? Because it was groups like this who work very hard at state and local levels.

WILLIAMS: You were saying -

BEDINGFIELD: Well, and - right. And also the party leadership and elected Republicans have been working to put conservative judges and justices on the Supreme Court to make this legally possible. So -

WILLIAMS: But, you know, but -


DUBKE: IVF is - is -

WILLIAMS: Sure, sure. But even taken out of context of IVF, and flip the parties -

BEDINGFIELD: But you can't separate those two things.

WILLIAMS: On the border, you will see the same thing, where someone will introduce this, you know, a bill related to border safety, that - that probably Democrats will say, well, you know, if, you know, you could tweak here or tweak there.

But at the end of the day, people around the country feel very strongly and morally about immigration issues. And it's sort of a loser politically if you're on the wrong side of it.

DUBKE: I'm going to keep saying summer of show votes. I got you.

WILLIAMS: No, I think we're - that last point I think we're - it's the same kind of thing, yes.

DUBKE: Yes. All right.

HUNT: Yes. I mean, I just - I think this cuts very, very close to home for a lot of people.


HUNT: All right, coming up next, Donald Trump in Washington for closed-door meetings with vice presidential hopefuls, allies, and some former foes. Plus, how old is too old to serve in Congress? One state just changed their rules.



HUNT: All right, 46 minutes past the hour. Here's your morning roundup.

The ACLU suing the Biden administration over the executive action that largely turns off asylum for migrants crossing the southern border. They argue it violates U.S. immigration law.

Voters in North Dakota approving a measure that puts an age limit on congressional candidates. It restricts anyone from running who turns 81 in the year before their term expires. The rule is expected so to face legal challenges. Interesting to see what happens there.

And then there's this story.


HOMER SIMPSON, "THE SIMPSONS": Wiggi (ph), my chili's getting cold.


HUNT: Some like it hot. But apparently not in Denmark. Three varieties of fire chicken instant ramen noodles recall by the Danes for being too spicy. It is so spicy that the food police their fear that it could actually poison people. So, if you live in Denmark and you like spicy ramen noodles, there is no soup for you.


WILLIAMS: Well, you know, it's interesting. Anyone who wants to say that America is this sort of deep state, nanny socialist state, I just want you to know that Denmark literally banned cup of noodles. So, come on.

MASON: I was just in Denmark about two weeks ago, and all I can say is they've got great food there. So, if people want ramen, they can go somewhere else.

WILLIAMS: Yes, it's probably not the place (INAUDIBLE).

MASON: Have fish when you're in Copenhagen.

DUBKE: There you go.

BEDINGFIELD: Stalwart defender of the Danes, Jeff Mason.

DUBKE: If you don't like the spice.

WILLAIMS: I don't know, something about like, you know, ludafisk (ph) doesn't - DUBKE: Does this apply -

MASON: Salmon. (INAUDIBLE). Yes.

DUBKE: Does this apply to all of the EU now?



HUNT: Unclear. I don't think so.


WILLIAMS: (INAUDIBLE) federalist on the ground there.

DUBKE: Well, I - yes, exactly. You want to have a united states of Europe, I guess you go to Germany for your spices.

WILLIAMS: IS that the - wait, wait, sorry. Sorry, I'm hearing a black helicopter flying overhead. Sorry, it was just in my earpiece.

HUNT: I will say, the last time I was in Denmark, the only - the first time I was in Denmark I had reindeer brain. So, they don't outlaw -



HUNT: It was, as you might expect.

WILLIAMS: Taste like chicken?

BEDINGFIELD: Was it spicy?

HUNT: It was not.

MASON: No chili flakes there.

HUNT: Maybe that's the problem.

All right, let's turn now to this story.

Donald Trump returns to Washington today for the first time since he became a convicted felon. He is holding closed door meetings with key congressional allies, vice presidential hopefuls, and a few former very aggressive critics. The House speaker, Mike Johnson, will be there. This was his response when he was asked whether the former president would respect the outcome of the upcoming November election.


REP. MIKE JOHNSON (R-LA): Of course he respects that. And we all do. And we've all talked about it at nauseum.

(END VIDEO CLIP) HUNT: Our panel is back.

Mike Dubke, one of the people that is going to be in this room is going to be Mitch McConnell, who, let's - let's just play what Donald Trump has said about Mitch McConnell over the years.

Take a look.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day.

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: If Donald Trump wins the Republican nomination, would you support him?

MCCONNELL: Look, let me just say again, there is simply no room in the Republican Party for anti-Semitism or white supremacy.


Shortly after the attack on the Capitol, I was asked a similar question. And I said I would support the nominee for president, even if it were the former president.


HUNT: So that, of course, was actually Mitch McConnell on Donald Trump over the years, finally saying at the end there, back in March, that he is going to support Trump, citing previous comments.

But here is what Trump has said about McConnell over the years.

Watch this.



We do have to do something about Mitch McConnell. He's - he's a disaster.

These Washington Republicans, like Mitch McConnell, who's the absolute worst.

I had to fight Mitch McConnell, another beauty.

Mitch McConnell, and his wife, Coco Chow. Coco. We got to get the McConnells of the world to do their job.


HUNT: Mike.

DUBKE: Washington as a city of strange bedfellows. HUNT: Uh-huh.

DUBKE: I'm just going to let that one sit for a second.


DUBKE: We've got - well, President Trump's coming back to Washington. He's talking to both houses of the Senate, Republicans in the - and the House Republicans.

It's - think it's normal for the presumptive nominee to come and speak in front of Congress. We can play these clips, and there's probably multiple clips you've got lined up, ready to go as well on this. But the one thing that, you know, I think everyone's realizing is, we are living in a - in a time, in a zeitgeist, where Donald Trump has somehow touched a nerve. He is like a populist candidate from years past. And whether or not - whether or not the party regulars who have been there for a number of years like it or not, he is going to be the nominee of the party. And if you - Mitch McConnell, you know, at the end of the day wants a Senate majority.

HUNT: Sure.

DUBKE: And he understands that goes through a very positive outcome for Donald Trump in the presidential election, in state after state -

HUNT: Well -

DUBKE: Because most of the competitive congressional - or Senate states are also competitive presidential states.

HUNT: OK. Sure. Well, and I think - look, McConnell is leaving his post as well.

DUBKE: He is.

HUNT: Which I think says everything about kind of where the Republican Party is going.

I will say, there were some Republicans who are sticking by the principles that they had outlined when it came to Donald Trump, including Mitt Romney. Here's how he explains why he will not be attending today.


SEN. MITT ROMNEY (R-UT): I leave on a flight at 2:00. I can't make it.

HUNT: Just can't make it, Jeff.

MASON: There you go. There you go. Conveniently unavailable.

HUNT: But what he -

WILLIAMS: Well, let's - I don't have reception. MASON: And yet, you know, but in fairness, Romney has also been very clear about his position on the former president. And Romney is also leaving Congress. And so he's got a little bit of freedom to stick to his guns.

HUNT: Well, in no small part because I think they thought he couldn't win a primary in Utah.

MASON: Well, indeed.

HUNT: Right.

MASON: Indeed.

HUNT: Kate.

BEDINGFIELD: The thing that's so interesting to me about this is that Donald Trump won the election in 2016, but since then has been defeated and has also suffered in mid - his party suffered in midterm elections since then. They were expected to overperform. They didn't. In part because some of these Trump candidates underperformed so badly.

So, it is so demoralizing to me that the Republican Party is choosing to line up behind this person who is, you know, says things that are incredibly dangerous, that are hateful, that stoke division, that bring out the worst in us as a country. But all - but it also is - it like defies political sense to me because they are - they're lined up behind this guy who is - has consistently walked them into electoral losses.

So, I - it's like a, I don't know. It - I mean maybe Mike's right, he just has touched on a populist nerve. But it's almost like he's brainwash them in a way into believing that he's stronger than he is. And the fact that they continue to line up behind him, even after he calls them losers and idiots, it just says a lot about the weakness of the Republican Party right now.

HUNT: Well, I mean I think the November election is going to answer that question since, of course, he did, at the end of the day, win a primary. But with Trump going to - he's not going to be at the Capitol itself. He's going to be meeting slightly off campus. It's a political event that - those are the rules. But, of course, this is the first time he and McConnell are going to be in the same room since January 6th. And they have not spoken since then.

And as Democrats are trying to frame the election as a struggle for democracy, the Biden campaign is trying to seize on this moment, this return, with this new ad, which is set to air in battleground states starting today.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On January 6th, Donald Trump lit a fire in this country, stoking the flames of division and hate. Now, he's pouring gasoline.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pledging to pardon the extremists who tried to overthrow our government. There is nothing more sacred than our democracy, but Donald Trump's ready to burn it all down.



HUNT: So, that's their new ad. And I just want to remind everyone what we hear from former President Trump about the people who were shown - some of the people who were shown in that ad who have been held accountable for what they did that day.

Here's the president at a rally. And it starts with a version of the national anthem that I guess honors these January 6th attackers of the Capitol.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and gentlemen, please rise for the horribly and unfairly treated January 6th hostages.

DONALD TRUMP (R), FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT AND 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You see the spirit from the hostages. And that's what they are is hostages. They've been treated terribly.

Unbelievable patriots. And they were unbelievable patriots, and are.


HUNT: Jeff Mason.

MASON: I just - it makes me think of that quote from Mike Johnson, who says that of course President Trump will respect the outcome of the election. Well, that is objectively false. He can't say that. He doesn't know that. We saw how President Trump reacted to the results of the election in 2020. He has certainly not come out and said, I will respect whatever the outcome is in 2024.

You can't, as an individual, as a journalist, as a politician, just accept that from - from the speaker. You can't.


HUNT: Mike.

DUBKE: No, I really - I really have a problem with this question being asked over and over and over again of - of basically -

HUNT: Why? DUBKE: Every Republican.


DUBKE: Because it - it is a hypothetical. I mean it - it -


DUBKE: No, no, no. No, no. we go back to 2020 and that is a - that is a different election. But in terms of this question being - being asked, I think it's a setup. I - frank - I'm just saying, it's a setup. It seems -

HUNT: It wasn't a question before there was a violent rally -


HUNT: At the Capitol to try to overturn the results of a free and fair election.

BEDINGFIELD: Correct. And Trump himself has subsequently said that he will not accept the results of the election.

DUBKE: Well, I'm going to -

BEDINGFIELD: So, I don't know how that's a hypothetical or a setup when that's a fundamentally dangerous thing to say.

DUBKE: It - for - for asking Donald Trump that question, fair - it's a fair question.

For asking every Republican that comes - not every Republican, but a vast majority of Republicans that come on the air, not just this network but other networks, and ask that question, whether or not they should come, a, come up with a better answer. But, secondly, it does - for - for the vote - for the vote -

BEDINGFIELD: Yes. The better answer is yes.

DUBKE: Yes, I agree with you. But for the voters out there that are attracted to Donald Trump, they're attracted to the populist message, that want to throw the bums out, that believed that there is corruption, that there are elitists for all of that, from the media, its sounds like just a - just a - just an elitist question to - to politicians. I'm just calling that out. That's all I'm trying to say on that.

HUNT: All right, let me - let me pull in something that we got from the Trump campaign yesterday, Elliot, because the fundraising email says, "haul out the guillotine."

WILLIAMS: Oh, dear. Well, and I think the - the unfortunate thing about the guillotine reference is that, you know, given January 6th, the gallows and nuisance that were images there, now -

HUNT: "Hang Mike Pence." They were changing "hang Mike Pence." WILLIAMS: And, again, even - we're - even if we're going to quibble about the legitimacy of, were they really chanting here? Was sarcastic or whenever. It was literally gallows on January 6th and an image like that sticks in people's minds.

You know, but, Mike, to your point, it's, this is Donald Trump's hold on the party. And we were talking about this in the last segment before the break, which is that, against rationality and political sound judgment, folks still seem to fall in line behind it.

BEDINGFIELD: Yes. And - but so when Republicans who are supporting him are interviewed about him, I don't understand how it's a setup or an unfair question to say, do you support the fact that he has said he will not accept the results of the election. I mean that -

DUBKE: No, no, it is, do -

BEDINGFIELD: That is central to Donald Trump's case here.

DUBKE: The question is asked, will you - will you accept the - the results. So, I mean, I know we're quibbling over language here.


DUBKE: And we can - obviously we can move on. But this is a -

HUNT: Can we?

DUBKE: I do - well, I do because I do think at least part of what I'm trying to express here is that there is a segment of the population that hears those questions and then they - they feel like, well, this whole thing is a - is a setup to try to - is a gotcha question. That's all I'm trying to say.

And there is a segment of the population that you've got to take into account when you're looking at this. And I think the Republican Party - all right, I'll stop.

HUNT: I just want to say, as someone who was at the Capitol on January 6th, I do not find these questions to be at all hypothetical.

All right, I do want to leave time to leave you with this because I lost a dear friend this week and the nation lost a great journalist. Howard Fineman passed on Tuesday. He was a pioneer in Washington reporting circles for nearly four decades. He moved from daily news coverage to "Newsweek" magazine, later to cable news commentary, and then the new frontiers of online journalism. Howard, those who knew him will know, he was incredibly witty. "The New York Times" notes in his obituary that he had a mind like an encyclopedia.

But most of all, he was kind and quick to share his wisdom with journalists following in his footsteps, like me.


He was one of the first people who believed in and really encouraged me to find a career in television after we first met on the campaign in trail back when I was a cub reporter at the "Associated Press." I will never forget that he did that for me. I will never forget him. And I do want to send our prayers to his family, his wife, Amy, his daughter, Meredith, his son, Nick. May his memory be a blessing.

Thanks to our panel for being here today. Thanks to all of you for joining us. I'm Kasie Hunt. Don't go anywhere. "CNN NEWS CENTRAL starts right now.