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Republicans Welcome Trump Back To Washington; Supreme Court Preserves Access To Abortion Pill; Trump Calls RNC Host Milwaukee "Horrible" City. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired June 14, 2024 - 06:30   ET





JIMMY FALLON, COMEDIAN: Trump's birthday should be fun. The last time people gathered to say, are you one, are you two, are you three, they were counting guilty verdicts.



KASIE HUNT, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Donald Trump was back on Capitol Hill yesterday for the first time since his conviction and he met with Republican lawmakers to discuss his campaign priorities.

Multiple GOP sources say Trump used his time to air some of his grievances. He had thoughts about Taylor Swift, Nancy Pelosi, and the city of Milwaukee.

Some lawmakers also telling CNN that during the meeting, there weren't any members who voiced dissent with their party's presumptive Republican nominee.


REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): It was a pep rally environment for President Trump.

REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): I saw nothing but overwhelming support for President Trump.

REP. BRANDON WILLIAMS (R-NY): I didn't sense any dissension, but, you know, I didn't catch everybody's response either.

REP. MARIA ELVIRA SALAZAR (R-FL): He is the leader of the party and he happens to be the guy who was chosen by the overwhelming majority of Republicans to be the nominee. Who are we to say no?

(END VIDEO CLIP) HUNT: All right. Joining me now to bring us inside the room is Republican congressman from Florida, Cory Mills, who endorsed Trump during the presidential primary last year.

Congressman, good morning.

REP. CORY MILLS (R-FL): Good morning.

HUNT: So this seems to feel like it was a birthday party. Take us inside the room. What was it like?

MILLS: Well, it was more than a birthday party. It was actually a coalescing around our Republican nominee and we talked a lot about what the issues that we're facing. We've talked about economics. We talked about, you know, the 41 percent to head vote in the Gallup poll regarding the fact that economics, inflation is what they're most concerned about.

We talked about the border then key issues.


But the thing that was really interesting is that he didn't talk just about his winning of the nomination or his winning of the White House. He talked about how does he help the rest of the GOP to win their races and to maintain the majority.

And so this was really about him. I actually offering to try and help and support and he can talk about a lot of the races in the past, that he's gone out and done teletown halls for, that he's gone out and actually done rallies for.

And so this wasn't just about, you know, President Trump. This is about how do we actually strengthen the party and also strengthened the nation?

HUNT: Did he say that the city of Milwaukee where the convention is going to be held is a horrible city?

MILLS: No, that is not at all what I've heard. No one else actually --

HUNT: He didn't say that? You didn't hear him say that?

MILLS: No, and actually -- no, and actually, Jake Sherman's report on this, if that was said, it must have been somewhere where me, Brian Mast, Byron Donalds, Jason Smith, like none of us heard that because we've got asked it after the meeting and I was like, I never heard this once. I'm understanding where this is even coming from.

So --


HUNT: OK. Well, CNN has confirmed that the word "horrible" was used but I appreciate your kind of direct account. MILLS: Well, I'm sure he's talking about either something of the

country or something that's going on because I think that we can all agree that it's pretty horrible what we're seeing on our borders, pretty horrible what we're seeing with regards to elimination of the middle-class. And so, I think that it could have been a reference to that, but --

HUNT: We have other uses for the word "horrible", okay?

MILLS: Absolutely.

HUNT: So, Congressman, we've been talking this morning about Mitch McConnell, who shook hands with the president after not speaking to him since the January 6 riot at the Capitol. And, you know, that -- that image I also recalls the one where Kevin McCarthy went down and that was just a couple of weeks after the January 6 insurrection and stood next to Donald Trump.

I just want to remind you and our viewers of what both McCarthy and McConnell had to say at that time. Let's watch.

I think --


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): The mob was fed lies. They were provoked by the president and other powerful people.

There's no question, none, that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day. No question about it.

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): The president bears responsibility for Wednesday's attack on Congress by mob rioters. He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding. These facts require immediate action, but President Trump except to share of responsibility, quell the brewing unrest and ensure President-elect Biden is able to successfully begin his term.


HUNT: Congressman, how did we get from there to here?

MILLS: Well, I think that people are starting to realize the facts that came out. I mean, look, first off, I know you call it an insurrection. I still haven't had proved for any the court that actually has deemed of his being such.

But my whole thing is, is that I'm identifying this --

HUNT: When they tried to disrupt the results --

MILLS: Well, let's go to the --

HUNT: -- counting the results and the certification of the election, and they were chanting, "hang Mike Pence". MILLS: Let's talk about the idea of disruption. How many people were actually also found to actually not be MAGA supporters or America First or even Trump's supporters that are wearing false flags that were actually in there? I mean, you had --

HUNT: We don't have any evidence of that, sir.

MILLS: Actually, there is actually evidence multiple times. One of the biggest antagonists actually was a guy named Shaun Packer Riley (ph), who actually was even indicted, but he was never actually gone before court. He was the same the visual who was actually leading part of the Black Lives Matter, and actually was an antagonist --

HUNT: We're going down to a very -- a place that I do not want to go.

MILLS: My whole point in this is just to explain that I still do not see where we can talk about how peaceful protests can be deemed when we talk about Minnesota, we talked about Minneapolis, or we talk about all these other areas, those are mostly peaceful protests. And yet people coming together without weaponry, without any type of, you know --

HUNT: When there was a blood smeared on the statues and several Capitol police officers died in the wake of this.

MILLS: There was things smeared on the Capitol --

HUNT: And they were spraying bear spray at cops. Like, how is that okay?

MILLS: Spraying bear spray at cops. There should be -- no one ever violating or ever attacking law enforcement. I'll be the first to go ahead and say --

HUNT: But they were attacking enforcement on January 6.

MILLS: But I've also seen this in the BLM rights. I've also seen this in other areas. We can't sit here and say one was better than the other. But what I say is this -- I am not a fan of what is going on --


HUNT: Sir, I am, you are a member of Congress and I am asking you about the attack on the building in which you serve. Not -- I am not asking you about -- I understand we can say here -- we could sit here and make equivalency all day.

MILLS: It's a dark day. I'll be the first to tell you, law and order is law and order. I don't care who you vote for, who you don't vote for. If you actually are using law enforcement, if you're actually committing an act of crime, you should be charged to the fullest extent. I'll be the first to go ahead and say it.

But there was a lot of people who has been pulled into this who wasn't even actually in the Capitol itself. So if we're talking about the J6 argument, I can actually argue where many people who are still detained don't even have charges that are being brought and levied against them, and we're seeing that in Pinellas County's courthouse. We're seeing that in other areas. We even see where members of Congress can't even go and visit to find out what's actually occurring and what's happening. So that's one thing and itself.

Now, as far as McCarthy and McConnell's comments, I personally, I'm not a big fan of the idea that -- I think -- don't think that McConnell has been a great leader, so, Rick Scott is actually trying to challenge him right now. I don't think that a man who can somehow --

HUNT: McConnell is stepping down, yeah.

MILLS: Well, and he rightfully should. I mean, you're talking about a guy who is somehow he's the only member that I've ever seen both in the Senate and the House, whose wives can get appointments under both a Democrat and Republican president alike.


So, I'm not a big fan. President Trump has made it very clear that he did not look for violence in any way. If you read it his tweets, if you read what he said, he said go home peacefully. There's not a person who's inciting violence.

Let's talk about how --

HUNT: Yeah, it took hours, it took hours --

MILLS: Let's talk about how Pelosi and Maxine Waters who said -- well, what about Maxine Waters who was like getting the face of people? Start making more noise.


HUNT: OK, again, now, we're making equivalencies. I want to talk specifically about those events and what happened, and the reality on that day --

MILLS: And that's exactly what I'm getting to.

HUNT: -- was the president did and said nothing for hours in that time as cops were --

MILLS: But no one, where did he say we should go storm the Capitol? Where did he say -- he didn't. That's the whole point.

HUNT: He urged his supporters at that speech that he gave to go to the Capitol and then he told the Secret Service inside his car that he wanted to go to the Capitol, too.

MILLS: Actually, wasn't Nancy Pelosi you just admitted that her daughter was actually filming that she didn't have adequate security and that she should have done more than responsibility was on her for the protection of the Capitol, that actually Capitol police had reduced their forces, that National Guard was recommended --

HUNT: So, wait a second now. Which is it? Does the Capitol need to be protected more because there was danger on that day? Or was everything peaceful and fine?

MILLS: I think that if we look at -- we look at 2016, the city of D.C. was burning and we're worried about it then. Isn't that a prelude to what we've seen it coming elections? Aren't we seeing where this unprecedented things occurring, where every president has come under impeachment, everyone has to be under scrutiny of lawfare, every single transition of power has to be.

So, look, this is partially on the fact that there's divided government that is continuing to play partisan rhetoric that's dangerous and it's on both sides. When we're sitting here pointing fingers non-stop, what we're divided as an actual Congress, we're also divided as a nation. And I think that, that's where what we need to be seeking (ph) right now is some type of healing, some type of coming together.

HUNT: Do you -- do you think that the U.S. is still the greatest country in the world because --

MILLS: Hands down.

HUNT: -- President Trump continually says that we are a nation in decline and the governor of Pennsylvania came out and said, hey, stop, stop S talking this country.

MILLS: Well, look, we are a nation in decline in many ways if you think about $35.6 trillion in deficit and I want to I paint a really grim picture here. This is the first time in American history that we're going to pay more interest on our national debt, than we will and servicing our actual national defense.


MILLS: Not to mention only 28 nation and empires in our world's history has ever seen 130 percent of GDP. Only one survived this, which is Japan.

So we are a nation in decline. If you look at our open borders, if you look in the increase criminality, if you look at the divisions that we just discussed, I think that it's not something that we can argue to say were better off now than were four years ago.

HUNT: Well, four years ago, we were on the midst of a pandemic. It's hard to -- it's hard to feel better, you know?

Anyway, Congressman, I appreciate your time today.

MLLS: Thank you.

HUNT: Thank you and talk to you soon.

MILLS: Thank you. HUNT: All right, democracy or a republic. A lot of Americans don't seem to care as long as Trump's in charge.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We use to have freedom of speech, and freedom of religion. We used to have that, too. Now, they're picking on the Christians and the Jewish people. I mean, how much more can we take?




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

A significant Supreme Court decision on the widely used abortion pill, mifepristone. All nine justices yesterday unanimously rejected a lawsuit that challenge the FDA's regulation of the drug, finding that the doctors bringing the case lacks the right to sue in the first place. The decision does leave an opening for anti-abortion groups continue to challenge the pill.

Tesla shareholders voting to re-approve a $48.3 billion with a B dollars pay package for CEO Elon Musk. It was previously struck down by a judge.

More rain expected today in south Florida. It is the fifth day of storms that have led to dangerous flooding across the region, leaving roads impassable and homes flooded.

Then, this story.


SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL): Have you seen his hands? They're like this. And you know what they say about men with small hands.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT & 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He said I had small hands. They're not small, are they?

I guarantee you, there's no problem. I guarantee you.


HUNT: Remember that proud moment in American politics?

Well, the Supreme Court says that you can mock Trump's manhood all you want. But if you call him too small, you can't trademark it. The justices ruling against a California man who wanted exclusive rights to the phrase Trump too small to print on hats, and T-shirts.

ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: You know, isn't America an amazing place that a senator can comment on the size of a presidents hands in a zing on his manhood and a man can try to trade market it and lose it in the Supreme Court, what a country. It's just sort of how do you make this up? Nowhere else in the world.

HUNT: What a country.

Okay. President Biden has been making the case that Donald Trump is a threat to democracy. But many of Trumps hardcore supporters, we heard from one of them this morning disagree with that notion that democracy -- well, actually, I should amend that. Some of these people who are about to hear from different from our previous guest, think that democracy may not exist. Watch.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are a republic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're a republic.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are not a democracy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: America's not a democracy. It's a republic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not a democracy. Okay?

Democracy is actually not as good as you think it is.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't see freedom in democracy. I see freedom in the republic.

DONNIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN REPORTER: Are you concerned if Trump loses?


O'SULLIVAN: That there'll be another January 6?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. I think there will be a civil war.


HUNT: Okay. On that note, if it's Friday, it must be Smerconish. Michael Smerconish is here.

Michael, wonderful to see you. I'm just going to -- you saw that. What do you think?

MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN HOST, SMERCONISH: I think we're more inclined to vote on the size of one's hands than we are at the relative merit of democracy.


And what a sad commentary that is in this election cycle.

But we know because when President Biden has spoken of the events of January 6 and tried to use that as a campaign issue. It hasn't resonated. So I'm not surprised. As concerning as I find it, that people aren't troubled by the prospect of the loss of some of their -- their Democratic principles and responsibilities and opportunities. It's not going to be a big issue in the election.

HUNT: Well, Michael, I mean, I have to push back a little bit on that just because I think we did see some evidence in the midterms in 2022 that democracy was an animating issue for some voters. And we do see it in the polling. They will say that they are concerned about it and they were instances you -- if you look down into some of these, like secretary of state races in places like Nevada and Arizona, and others, that people did seem concerned about those who were potentially messing around with the actual levers of democracy, the way that we count the votes.

That said, you know, President Trump has a former President Trump has tried to kind of turn this on President Biden and say, well, its actually President Biden is not participating in democracy. I mean, is that what's kind of motivating this conversation?

SMERCONISH: But, Kasie, we're having this conversation one day after the triumphant return and that's really what it was among Republicans by Donald Trump to Capitol Hill, which was the scene of the crime. I mean, there's Mitch McConnell with a handshake and a fist bump.

HUNT: Yeah. Let's put that, yeah.

SMERCONISH: Notwithstanding -- notwithstanding what he said in the well of the Senate after the events of January 6, you know, where you thought there'd be no rapprochement ever possible between the two.

So that's my response. Maybe it resonates on one side of the aisle, but certainly not among Republicans.

HUNT: Yeah, I mean, Michael, what did you make of this McConnell photo? I'm trying to put it -- put it up, but it's him and Donald Trump hand-in-hand. I -- I think I was just a little bit that stopped me. This image stopped me.

SMERCONISH: Well, I think it's a recognition of the strength that Trump has, the command that Trump has over the Republican electorate. There's really no side, I guess Mitt Romney was on a plane, right? But there are very few exceptions to those who fell in line yesterday and made sure that they were there to show fealty toward the leader of their party.

And, you know, he had opposition. He had a number of candidates, he, Trump running against him, but he was the victor blew away everybody who was on that stage.

So you have to kind of step back and take stock of the fact that in the end, the indictments, the conviction, the events of January 6, none of it stood in his way in securing the nomination of his party.

HUNT: Yeah. One of the other things they did at this event Michael was -- give them a birthday cake because today is Donald Trump's 78th birthday I believe. SMERCONISH: Right. Yeah.

HUNT: And I think it is worth reminding that this is a rematch that everybody tells us, you know, Americans tell us in polling they don't want.

SMERCONISH: So, at age 78, he would be the oldest ever at his swearing in. Joe Biden is 81, 3 years now, separate the two of them.

Kasie, I took note of the fact that there was -- there was not a 78 on that cake, okay? There was a 45 on that cake, but nobody wanted to put 78 on that cake.

And look, according to CBS and YouGov data that came out earlier this week, a quarter round numbers of Americans don't think that either of them has the mental or cognitive health to be president, but the numbers for Biden, the concerns about Biden, you have to say this, far exceeds he those for Trumps 65 percent, including 29 percent of Democrats who have doubts about Biden's cognitive ability. If Biden weren't the comparison, I think more voters would look at Donald Trump and they would say, my God, 78. I mean that dwarfs Ronald Reagan at the time that he was running for reelection.

But because you've got that never-ending comparison, it's a big problem for the incumbent and it's one of those problems that's not going away. It's not going to get better with time. It's going to get worse.

HUNT: And depending on the outcome of the election, I mean, I think you're going to -- you're going to hear a lot of --

SMERCONISH: Kasie, can I say one more thing?

HUNT: Yeah, yeah, go ahead.

SMERCONISH: The debate, the debate, the debate, because it just puts all the attention, this age acuity, call it what you want, we're less than two weeks away, two weeks from today, I hope you and I will be having a conversation about what happened in last night's debate. And this is going to be the focus -- who looks like they are mentally fit and competent?

HUNT: Yeah, that's right. That Friday, you and I -- it's a date, Michael Smerconish. The day after --

SMERCONISH: OK, thank you.

HUNT: The Friday after the debate and yes, we've been having that box on the screen. It's going to be right here on CNN. Don't miss it.

Michael Smerconish, always grateful to have you.

And also do not miss CNN's "SMERCONISH". It's tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. Eastern. Thank you, sir.

All right. Let's turn now to this, Donald Trump's comments about Milwaukee being horrible just one month before this set the city hosts the Republican National Convention.


And, Sarah Longwell, these were comments that were made behind closed doors. We've reported yesterday at this meeting where he said this is a horrible city.

Here was -- let's take a look at what the Milwaukee mayor had to say back to him on local news just yesterday. Watch.


MAYOR CAVALIER JOHNSON (D), MILWAUKEE: Donald Trump was talking about things that he thinks are horrible. All of us lived through his presidency. So, right back at you, buddy, to insult the state that's hosting your convention, I think is kind of -- kind of bizarre actually. It's kind of unhinged in a way.


HUNT: Right back at you. Hmm?

SARAH LONGWELL, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, we heard your previous guests, the congressmen, say that, of course, you know, this wasn't, this isn't true and we don't have it on tape, so I don't know.

But it sounds like something Donald Trump would say. I don't know. I've heard him say a lot of these things. In fact, just going back to Mitch McConnell and the ritual humiliation he's suffering, Donald Trump calls him and old crow regularly. He's made racist smears against Mitch McConnell's wife.

And so I don't know. It doesn't sound off base for Donald Trump to insult the city, probably with some racial undertones going into the convention.

ASHLEY ALLISON, FORMER OBAMA WH SENIOR POLICY ADVISOR: Yeah, that's the thing. It's like its so interesting that cities that he often targets, Milwaukee, Baltimore, countries that have people with higher melanin count in their skin, or cities as well that have black folks and brown folks.

So I go back to the beginning of this hour when you said, Sarah Longwell, about like people don't like this country right now. And so I often say, what is the why? So let's hypothetically say Donald Trump did say that Milwaukee was a horrible city. I wonder why? I wonder what, what is that undertone?

WILLIAMS: He also -- well, you left out Philly and D.C., his two favorite ones. And again --

HUNT: He really doesn't like it here.

WILLIAMS: He doesn't like it here. There's a consistent thread here. What's remarkable --

HUNT: But he wants to move back I hear.

WILLIAMS: Apparently.

LONGWELL: I like him to not move back.

ALLISON: I know, me too.

WILLIAMS: But this whole -- remember this all started with I could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and still get away with it. Now the question is, can you insult voters in one of the most critical swing states in 2024 and still get away with it. He needs some of the people in Milwaukee, even if many of them are Democrats, he still needs the votes there.

And it's remarkable if this comment was made that could mean for this -- but to what we talked about in the beginning, the hold this individual has on the party is really remarkable.

HUNT: Well, I think its also worth noting that they have focused a lot on Black men, right, and if they're actually -- I mean, Milwaukee is a city where they actually, that actually could make a difference if its going to happen. And just -- I do want to play a couple of -- we've got a couple of House Republicans who came out after this meeting and were -- they were trying to explain and put context around the president's comments.

But just to leave it in contrast with a previous guests who insisted that this didn't happen. That is not what these Republicans who are in the meeting had to say. Watch.


REP. BRYAN STEIL (R-WI): He wasn't talking about the city. He was talking about specific issues in the city.

REP. SCOTT FITZGERALD (R-WI): What he was talking about was the elections in Milwaukee. They're concerned about them.


HUNT: So what I also love about this, Sarah, is that this has actually made the local news, right, and that the local folks are pushing back because that actually I think is if this is going to make good difference, right? That he says, that's why.

LONGWELL: Yeah. Look, I mean, Wisconsin is a really important state. And so if I were -- the reason they're holding the convention in Milwaukee, is because they want to win that state over. And so I think going into that state and insulting people is probably a bad call.

HUNT: Yeah.

All right. And with that, I will leave you with this a solute to the GOAT, the greatest of all time.



HUNT: No, no, not -- not him. This guy.


ANNOUNCER: Three, two, one, let's go!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who here loves this man?


HUNT: We are talking about Joey Chestnut, the undisputed hot dog eating champion.

Will Leitch argues in an opinion piece for "The Washington Post", the chestnut would never have reached GOAT status if it wasn't for another man, Japanese eating legend, Kobayashi. The two used to battle it out on Coney Island every summer in the Nathan's famous Fourth of July hot dog eating contest.

That was until Kobayashi, a 6-time champ, was banned after a contract dispute in 2010 and he did not take it very well.

This was CNN's coverage of that incident.


REPORTER: Take a look at the pictures of what happened because right after the contest ended, I spoke with a spokesperson and she said that what happened was that people were in the crowd chanting Kobayashi because they recognized him and he said he got caught up in the moment, he got excited, he did, he rushed the stage.


HUNT: Kobayashi was actually arrested after that. He never competed in the contest again.

Chestnut would go on to win 16 championship belts in Kobayashi's absence. But Chestnut himself was just dealt a similar fate. He was booted from the contest this week after striking an endorsement deal with the plant-based Impossible Foods, plant dogs.

Now the two are coming together though, for a heavyweight showdown. Tthis is going to be a live Netflix special titled "Chestnut versus Kobayashi: Unfinished Beef". The beef is going to get served up on September 2nd.

We're not joined currently by Matt Gorman, who is apparently like the eating champ expert of all experts, I don't know if any of you actually watch any of this. I do not.

LONGWELL: No, but don't tell me this country isn't great.

WILLIAMS: That's amazing. Kobayashi weighs 128 pounds.

ALLISON: I know.

WILLIAMS: That dude is a beast. Come on.

HUNT: It's interesting.

All right. Thanks very much to you guys. Happy Friday.

Thanks to you for joining us. I'm Kasie Hunt.

Don't go anywhere.

"CNN NEWS CENTRAL" starts right now.