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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

Gaetz Versus McCarthy; Dems Weigh Whether to Help McCarthy in Speakership Fight; McCarthy: There's No "Secret" Deal with Biden; Ukraine Official: Kyiv is Hostage to "Internal American Games"; 100,000+ Armenians Flee Nagorno-Karabakh. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired October 03, 2023 - 05:00   ET




REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): Well, he doesn't have my support anymore. And he doesn't have the support of a requisite number of Republicans to continue as the Republican speaker.


KASIE HUNT, CNN ANCHOR: Matt Gaetz makes his move against Kevin McCarthy. What will the speaker do now?


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: You always count me out, right?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORREPONDENT: I'm just asking you the possibility.

MCCARTHY: I'm just telling you the same thing I tell you every time. I never give up.


HUNT: Good morning to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Kasie Hunt. It is Tuesday, October 3rd.

And this morning, the ball is in Kevin McCarthy's court after Florida congressman, Matt Gaetz, made good on his threat. He filed a motion to have McCarthy removed as speaker of the House.

McCarthy's message to Gaetz has been -- bring it on. Now that Gaetz has, Republicans are likely to try procedural remembers to try to kill Gaetz's motion without having to hold an up or down vote to oust McCarthy directly.

But no matter what, McCarthy is going to need to turn to Democrats. At this hour, CNN's whip count shows by Republicans say they're standing with Gaetz. McCarthy can only afford to lose four.


GAETZ: If Kevin McCarthy goes and makes a dirty deal with the Democrats to keep power, I believe that the people in this country will rise up and demand that their representatives and their lawmakers accept a better path, a more responsible path.


HUNT: Why does Gaetz call that a dirty deal? Because Democrats are going to give Kevin McCarthy anything for free.

As one congressman put it, quote, the word of the week is leverage.

Gaetz has been trying to convince progressive Democrats to help him dethrone the speaker. One of McCarthy's allies had a warning for those Democrats, the ones who might be thinking about that.


REP. MIKE LAWLER (R-NY): I guess Democrats need to determine, first and foremost, whether they want to align themselves with Matt Gaetz.


HUNT: And as of right now, most Democrats are waiting on their leader, Hakeem Jeffries, to weigh in with the plan.


REP. STENY HOYER (D-MD): Our two leaders need to talk. And I think we ought to come to an understanding and I hope we can.

REP. JARED MOSKOWITZ (D-FL): There's lots of different considerations here. But at the end of the day, I'm waiting to hear from Leader Jeffries. Leader Jeffries has earned that right from every Democratic member.


HUNT: All right. To help this game it all out, let's bring in Mychael Schnell, congressional reporter for "The Hill".

Mychael, it's great to have you back on the show.

There is a lot going on here. Part of me, honestly, was waiting last night to see if Gaetz was actually going to do it because it seems like, maybe, he was going to chickened out honestly at the last- minute. But he didn't.

Here we are. What happens next?

MYCHAEL SCHNELL, CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER, THE HILL: Yeah, well, Kasie, you're exactly right. Matt Gaetz actually went to the floor a couple of hours earlier at noon and delivered a floor speech in what many folks that would be that motion to vacate. At the end of it, he said, stay tuned. And as you mentioned, we then saw it after votes last night.

So, the question of what comes next, obviously, that's key. Because this was brought up as a privileged resolution, you know, in layman's terms that essentially means that Gaetz is able to force a vote on the legislation in a speedy manner. So, GOP leadership is going to have to set a vote on this resolution, on this motion to vacate the chair within two legislative days. So, that means either today or tomorrow.

And as you laid out at the top, leadership is likely going to try to quash it with some procedural motion, whether it'd be a vote on tabling the measure, a vote on referring it, what have you. And again, that would shield lawmakers from having to weigh directly on whether or not McCarthy should remain speaker.

But even so, these procedural votes are still going to put McCarthy in the hot seat, still going to put his colleagues on both sides of the aisle in a tough position deciding, do they side with him or do they go against him?

HUNT: Yeah, no. It's a -- it's a very interesting conundrum for a lot of them.

Let's talk for second about Republicans who, honestly, are with McCarthy because here was one congressman who feels very strongly about it because honestly, Gaetz doing this derails all the things that they are actually there to do. If they do want to pass these big spending bills, they say they want to do it before mid-November when the government is going to shut down again, they got to worry about this first.

Take a look.


REP. JASON SMITH (R-MO): It is absolutely personal. It is -- it is unacceptable. We have a lot of work to do for the American people. He has claimed that the reason he would do it is because Kevin McCarthy didn't fulfill his promise of passing all 12 appropriations bills by October 1st.


Guess what? We passed -- we passed 70 percent of all the funding for government. We still have 30 percent to go.


HUNT: So, he says it's personal.

SCHNELL: Yeah, look, that idea about a potential government shutdown, I think that's a really key point here. I spoke to Congressman Ryan Fitzpatrick yesterday -- last night. He's a moderate Republican. He said that because of this effort to force votes on ousting Gaetz, which -- ousting for McCarthy, which although Gaetz said he is not likely to stop the first one if it fails, he's likely to do this over and over again, it would publicly to a government shutdown because this is going to take up floor time, it would probably lead to a government shutdown because this is going to take up floor time, this is going to take a lot of attention on lawmakers.

And, you know, when you get to this question of not, if it's personal or is it based on policy? Listen, Matt Gaetz publicly is saying that this is because Speaker Kevin McCarthy has not met a series of demands that have to do with policy and spending, of course, the continuing resolution that'll put on the floor this weekend to avert a shutdown, that frustrated a lot of conservatives, including Matt Gaetz.

At the end of the day, this relationship between Matt Gaetz and Speaker McCarthy has always been acrimonious. They've always sparred in the past. Remember back to January, that Matt Gaetz never actually threw his support behind McCarthy's bid for speakership. Behind all 15, battles they have also been engaged in a war of words and the pass.

And so, I think what while Matt Gaetz would be frustrated with some of these missed demands by McCarthy, I think there is also a personal tinge to it.

HUNT: Yeah, very much so. And, Gaetz, of course, has talked -- not talked about, but there is an ongoing ethics inquiry into Matt Gaetz that seems people around him believe Kevin McCarthy is allowing it to go forward. There's a lot of deep, personal, acrimony here in addition to all the politics.

Mychael Schnell of "The Hill", thank you very much for being here and getting us started this morning. I really create your time.

SCHNELL: Thanks for having me.

HUNT: And coming up here, does Speaker McCarthy have a secret deal with Joe Biden? More on the drama that Matt Gaetz has unleashed.

Plus, what Trump's former accountants said in court about his financial statements.

And a New York family is really days after their little girl was abducted. We will have details on that, ahead.




JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I fully expect the speaker and the majority of Republicans in Congress to keep their commitment to secure the passage of the support needed to help Ukraine as a defense itself against Russian aggression and brutality.


HUNT: Continued funding for the war in Ukraine, becoming a central part of the drama over whether Kevin McCarthy will remain speaker. His chief tormentor, Matt Gaetz, demanding to know whether McCarthy made a deal with President Biden to allow stand-alone vote for more money for Kyiv after Biden said this over the weekend.


REPORTER: Mr. President, are you going to be able to trust Speaker McCarthy when the next deal comes around?

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We just made one about Ukraine. So, we'll find out.


HUNT: So, here was Gaetz on this yesterday.


GAETZ: Members of the Republican Party might vote differently on a motion to vacate, if they heard what the speaker had to share with us about a secret side deal with Joe Biden on Ukraine. I'll be listening, stay tuned.


HUNT: McCarthy, for his, part insisting that there is no such deal.


REPORTER: Secret plan Gaetz says you have.

MCCARTHY: Okay, first off, stop right there. Stop saying something that is not true. There's not a secret plan.


HUNT: All right. Let's bring in CNN's Max Foster, live from London.

Max, good morning. It was wonderful to see.

And we are back explaining this again to everyone because the Ukrainian official says Ukraine is being held hostage in America's internal games. But they feel the chance Washington would stop helping Kyiv is slim. My read is that is correct.

I do think Kevin McCarthy needs to get through this before he can go around saying, yes, I'm going to put this on the floor. That does put them in a tough spot for right now.

MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Yeah. I mean a lot of European politicians are trying to calm any sense of panic, as it were. The reality is that Ukraine is to some extent hostage businesses because the United States provides most of the funding in this war. The war can't carry on without the funding from the U.S.

But they keep talking bout how President Biden is so behind Ukrainian funding. But American politics is incredibly unpredictable, as you just outlined.

HUNT: Yes.

FOSTER: So, I don't know how they can because so sure. I think what Republicans want to consider is a show of force. Yesterday in Kyiv, the EU foreign ministers all coming to gather, showing full support for Ukraine. And also adding in hundreds of millions of dollars more money into the war in Ukraine.

So, what they're saying there is we are fully behind Ukraine. We are going to keep supporting it. So, if the Republicans, or those particular Republicans to stop the funding or push for a stall funding in Ukraine, they are underlying those alliances. It's a much bigger problem than just Ukraine.

HUNT: Yeah. No, I think -- I think it is so important that you underscore that. Not that -- quite honestly, feeling Washington is this band of people who oppose this probably don't care about what the view is out from Europe, but in terms of, you know, the broad, diplomatic realities that that broader U.S. government is dealing with is actually really important.

I do think the bottom line in terms of whether these officials abroad can be certain about U.S. commitments, it's there, the majority -- the vast majority of Congress want to fund it. The problem is the system allows for this small group to rick quite a bit of havoc.

So, Max, let's -- let's talk about what is going on in Azerbaijan.


This is something that doesn't get a ton of coverage over here necessarily day in and day out. But I think it's a really critical, possibly unfolding conflict. So, Azerbaijan is denying across border attack on Armenia. They're more than 100,000 refugees that have fled from this region of Nagorno-Karabakh, and many of them feel abandoned by Russia basically. There've been Russian peacekeepers keeping this region safe.

The neighboring country, Armenia, had previously had a Russian alliance, a military lines with Russia. And now, they're talking about leaving. At the Russians are rattling all this.

Help us understand what is going on and whether that would be then right before a meeting in this juncture?

FOSTER: Well, the ethnic Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh have been cleared out. We saw some images from there yesterday because there were U.N. peacekeepers allowed in and it's like a desert town. There's no one there. So, it was extraordinary to sort of see that.

There wasn't much they could discover. We know that those Armenians have left. And we know that this probably wouldn't have happened if Armenia hadn't shifted its focus from Russia to the West, working much more closely with America and Western nations. Because when those Armenians were forced out, Russians didn't step into prevented from happening.

What does that mean for Armenia now? Well, those politicians in the pro-West are probably going to say, look, Russia didn't protect us. We need to move much more closely to the West. Meanwhile, as you right to point out, very limited skirmishes across the border between the two countries. The concern, obviously, is if that blows up other nations that have a role to play here, Russia and Turkey, might get involved in that. We are way away from that. It's contained at the moment. We have to watch for any further skirmishes on that border.

HUNT: Yeah, for sure, as well as any, you know, humanitarian. Obviously, a hundred thousand refugees. Quite a thing to deal with.

Max Foster, thank you very much, my friend. Always lovely to see you.

FOSTER: Thanks, Kasie.

HUNT: See you tomorrow. All right. Cheers.

A congressman, meanwhile, comes face to face with three armed men on the street, honestly right down from where we're sitting right now. What his office said he had to give up last night.

And, a missing nine year old found, and a suspect in custody. Police tell us what happened, just ahead.



HUNT: Quick hits across America now.

The missing upstate nine-year-old, Charlotte Sena, has been found safe. And the suspect has been detained. Police say fingerprints on a ransom note led officers to the man's camper. Charlotte was found hidden at a cupboard. That is terrifying. She was taken while camping with her family on Saturday. This is every family's worst nightmare.

And Congressman Henry Cuellar is unharmed after a carjacking in southeast Washington D.C. His office says he was parking his vehicle Monday night when three armed attackers approached him and stole his car. It was later recovered. Capitol police are investigating.

And Illinois governor demanding the federal government step of action on the border crisis. In a letter, J.B. Pritzker pressed President Biden to act, saying the situation is, quote, untenable. This comes as hundreds more migrants arrive in Chicago from Texas every day.

All right. Let's get now to weather. Record breaking heat over the Midwest and South, spreading across the northeast in, of course, October.

Let's go to our weatherman, Derek Van Dam.

Derek, good morning, always wonderful to see you. I am tired -- I want to put my summer clothes away. Can you please tell me when I can do that?

DEREK VAN DAM, AMS CERTIFIED METEOROLOGIST: Okay, you have until Saturday. Is that specific enough for you?

HUNT: Yes, thank you.

VAN DAM: There you go, I deliver. I try to deliver in the morning, right? All right. Two hundred seventy million Americans are going to see the temperature reach 80 degrees over the next week. That's incredible. Just considering the time of year that it is, but this is not going to last long.

We're going to have a drastic reversal in our weather pattern over the next, let's say, 5 to 7 days. We talk to Kasie about Saturday, reaching D.C. area where she is located. There's a cold front, there's Saturday, proof is in the pudding, right?

Forty-plus record high temperatures, potentially broken today, through Wednesday, the middle of the week. And notice where they're located, across the Great Lakes and into New England.

Check this out, just in the past day, we've smashed record high temperatures. Look at Michigan, 87 degrees. That was a tie.

Btu look at Sioux Falls, 93, Fargo, North Dakota, and a lower middle 90s as well. This is an extended forecast, taking you through the second half of the work week. We do have temperatures in the 80s across, all the way basically to the Canadian border. But look at how drastically cooler it gets Wednesday to Thursday. It's all because of that cold front.

There's the warmth across the East Coast, but it will be a short-lived because the weekend will bring back the fall vibes that we all want this time of year, right? But in the meantime, this collision of air masses, what does it do? It creates severe storms in the nation's midsection as our cold front sweeps across the area.

You can see them firing up across the plains. And eventually, into Iowa, and southwestern sections of Minnesota. That's where the storm prediction center has a level three of five, that's for the potential large -- to very large hail. Damaging wind gusts, and even a couple of tornadoes across that region.

So, Kasie, we need to keep an eye to the sky if we are anywhere located across the nation's midsection today for potential severe weather.

HUNT: All right, keep an eye out.

Derek, thank you very much as always. I'll speak to you tomorrow, my friend. All right.

VAN DAM: All right.

HUNT: Coming up here, two men, five words, and one big face-off on Capitol Hill. [05:25:01]

And, the president son, Hunter Biden, in court today.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The gentleman will state the form of his resolution.

GAETZ: Declaring the offices speaker of the House of Representatives to be vacant. Resolve that the speaker of the House of Representatives is hereby declared to be vacant.


HUNT: That's a lot of words. Here's the short version, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, bring it on. Congressman Matt Gaetz just did.

All right, good morning. Thank you for getting up early with us. I'm Kasie Hunt. It's wonderful to have all of you here with us.

It is House Speaker Kevin McCarthy's move. Now that Florida's Matt Gaetz made good on that threat to try to oust him from the speakership on the House floor.


GAETZ: I have enough Republicans where, at this point next week, one of two things will happen. Kevin McCarthy won't be the speaker of the House, or he will be the speaker of the House working at the pleasure of the Democrats.


HUNT: We could find out in a matter of hours. Several sources tell CNN that McCarthy is expected to make a procedural move.