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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

Trump Gives "Complete and Total Endorsement" to Jim Jordan; Sources: Plans Underway for Potential Biden-Xi Meeting; Iranian Activist Narges Mohammadi Awarded 2023 Nobel Peace Prize; Colder, Fall-Like Temperatures to Replace Record Heat. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired October 06, 2023 - 05:00   ET



KASIE HUNT, CNN ANCHOR: Right now, Donald Trump makes his pick for speaker of the House.


HUNT: Good day to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Kasie Hunt. It's Friday, October 6th. Five a.m. here in Washington, 2:00 a.m. on the West Coast.

Congressman Jim Jordan waking up to the news that could propel him to a new job as speaker of the House. Former President Donald Trump throwing his weight behind Jordan.

In a Truth Social post overnight, the former president called Jordan a star who is strong on crime, borders, our military/vets and the Second Amendment. And he says Jordan will be a, quote, great speaker of the House and who has my capital C complete, capital T total, capital E endorsement.

Jordan is and has been a close Trump ally. He has been a driving force behind the impeachment inquiry into President Biden and he's endorsed Trump's presidential campaign. While Jordan's rival for speaker, the House Majority Leader Steve Scalise has not.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Jordan said he is confident that he can unify Republicans even the eight who voted to oust McCarthy.


REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): I disagree with what took place, but those guys are friends of mine and, you know, I think that that is the message I've been talking to my colleagues about, is who can -- who can bring the eight into the team, who can unite our team. I think that I can do that. If I didn't think I could do that, I wouldn't run.


HUNT: Trump's backing is going to upend the raise for speaker, plain and simple, but it is sure to spark uneasiness among the moderate Republicans who are on the frontlines of the GOP majority. And it raises the temperature in an already intense battle inside the party.

Let's bring in Mica Soellner, congressional reporter for "Punchbowl News".

Mica, good morning. It's wonderful to have you back here.

Let's just take this simply as what in your view does this Trump endorsement do to the race for speaker of the House?

MICA SOELLNER, CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER, PUNCHBOWL NEWS: Yeah, so thanks for having me on, Kasie. The Trump endorsement is really going to shake things up here. I think that it will galvanize and embolden a lot of Trump wing of the Republican Party.

Obviously, I think Jordan was a natural pick for Trump. He even awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom. So his endorsement is not surprising. But I think that it will create some challenges with some of the moderate more vulnerable Republicans that have said they don't want Trump near Capitol Hill with reports saying he may or may not come Tuesday, talking about the speaker race.

And so I think a lot of these other members are really shying away from the president. And that's going to create some challenges for Jordan who is very focused on the eight Republicans that ousted McCarthy this week.

HUNT: Yeah, Mika, I mean, I'm thinking through this, because you are right. These moderates, and we should explain to people, it is the moderate Republicans that insure -- that give the GOP the majority. Those are the districts that are on the bubble. They need to win in more moderate districts to expand their majority, make it easier to govern. Obviously, their slim majority made it impossible for Kevin McCarthy to govern at the end of the day.

But I think that it is important to underscore that this conference broadly speaking is with Donald Trump. And when Trump was president, if he said something, it could swing -- a single tweet could swing the votes of dozens of Republicans and just send the whole institution kind of into a scramble situation.

I guess while I absolutely take your point about the moderates, my question is whether this would make it impossible functionally for Steve Scalise to get to 218. Would 218 Republicans vote for him over Trump endorsed Jim Jordan?

SOELLNER: That's a great point. And I think that when you see a surprising number of endorsements going for Jordan outside of Trump as well, but we did some of these candidates who even floated Donald Trump to be the next speaker now turning their support to Jordan. So I think that you are absolutely right in saying that whatever Trump says, you know, that is what members will follow for a handful to maybe more than that in the House Republican conference that is very, very loyal to the president.

We're talking about people like Marjorie Taylor Greene. We saw Troy Nehls, we see Congressman Barry Moore of Alabama who told me that he was very seriously nominating Trump or supporting Trump for speaker who is now turning his endorsement to Jim Jordan because Trump made that enforcement last night.


So we're seeing a lot of shift here.

HUNT: Yeah. And I do think -- I need to dig into this on the reporting side a little bit, but Barbara Comstock yesterday made the point that there was sort of an idea floated out there that maybe Trump could be the temporary speaker of the house and Comstock said no, he's not allowed to because the House Republicans have a rule that you can't serve in leadership if you've been indicted. So, whoops on that.

But let's dig into Jordan a little bit here and kind of talk about his evolution because he obviously was a founding member of the Freedom Caucus. He was one of John Boehner's chief tormenters when Boehner ultimately bailed out of the House because he didn't want to deal with these guys.

He has since evolved as a figure. He is now chairman of the Judiciary Committee. He is firmly inside. He has a good relationship with Kevin McCarthy.

And that's another piece of this puzzle because McCarthy hasn't put his finger on the scale, but we know that he has been a little bit, I don't know, frustrated is the right word, but they have been watching Steve Scalise's ambitions pretty warily and there's an involving sense that McCarthy may try to take his operation and put it in force for Jordan, that could also be a game changer.

SOELLNER: Certainly. And we know that there were some tensions there between Steve Scalise and Kevin McCarthy throughout his speakership. And I think we're going to see that potentially play out in this speaker's fight depending on what Kevin McCarthy decides to do.

But, of course, him and Jordan are close. He made him chairman of the Judiciary Committee. And I think that Jordan has really swiftly and successfully navigated the ranks of the Republican conference without isolating that conservative base, which I think is very, very difficult to given that the whole idea of the Freedom Caucus is kind of not being afraid to go against leadership.

So, we're really going to see how that plays out as well.

HUNT: Yeah, we sure are. It is -- we are in for -- I'm glad it's Friday. We're in for a really busy week next week, as you are.

Mica Soellner, "Punchbowl News", thank you very much for finishing up a very long week on Capitol Hill with us with your reporting.


HUNT: And coming up, plans are under way for a potential meeting this fall between President Biden and Chinese President Xi. Plus, did Donald Trump talk about sensitive nuclear secrets with a

foreign billionaire? A new report ahead.

And the presidential candidate not named Trump who vows that Mexico will pay for a border wall?



HUNT: Welcome back.

Sources tell CNN that planning is under way for a potential face-to- face meeting between President Joe Biden and China's President Xi Jinping at San Francisco's APEC Summit coming up in November. It would be their in-person meeting as officials work to ease tensions between the two superpowers.

CNN's Marc Stewart joins us from Beijing.

Marc, it is 5:00 there, 5:00 here. Thank you for being here.

And this is, of course, no way a done deal, but the Biden administration has been taking steps to lay the ground work for months. You are on the ground. What is the feeling from Beijing on this?

MARC STEWART, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right, Kasie. Whether you are here in Beijing or if you are in Washington, there has been this collective feeling that there is the need at a natural progression for a face-to-face meeting. And the APEC meeting in San Francisco would be the logical next step.

I'm thinking back to June of this year, we had Secretary of State Antony Blinken here in Beijing. He met with Xi Jinping. And if you look at some of the dialogue and some of the discussion, there is very much this principle of stabilizing the U.S./China relationship. So this very much falls in line with that continuing narrative.

And as you know, we have seen some very high profile visitors here in recent months. We've seen Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. We have seen Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo. And I think that it is fair to say that a part of these visits is to determine where there is common ground between the United States and China and where there are red lines.

So, if and when this meeting were to take place likely in San Francisco, there would be some definitive starting points, because as you know the list of issues between the United States is -- and China, it's very thorny. We have human rights issue. We've got chip and technology issue. We've got the Taiwan issue. It's a very long list.

So these meetings in many ways will narrow down the beginning focus, Kasie.

HUNT: Yeah. Well, and the other thing too, Marc, is that there are member of Congress heading to China next week. A lot of them are China hawks. What's the goal there?

STEWART: Right. I was talking to one analyst last night who pointed out the White House certainly likes to have its line of dialogue with China, but so do lawmakers. So we're going to see Chuck Schumer here, he's going to be leading a bipartisan delegation. Among the topics to be discussed are certainly going to be economics, technology, security.

We are also hearing from Representative Bill Cassidy, or Senator Bill Cassidy, I should say, a Republican from Louisiana, who says indeed they have a meeting with Xi Jinping. So we'll see if that truly happens next week, Kasie.

HUNT: Yeah, there is a lot of discontent in Congress right now. In some ways this may be designed to show it. We'll watch it closely.

Marc, hopefully you'll come back and bring us up to speed when that happens. Have a great weekend.

All right. And this just in, Iranian peace activist Narges Mohammadi has been named recipient of the 2023 Nobel Peace Prize. Mohammadi is currently in jail and has been repeatedly sentenced for her ceaseless work for women's rights against the death penalty and solitary confinement. That is something that she herself has endured for weeks at a time.

Let's bring in Max Foster live from London.


Max, her name has really become synonymous for the fight for rule rights in Iran. Tell us how you understand this year's pick by the Nobel Committee in Oslo.

MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: What is I think that it is a reflection of what women are suffering in Iran mainly. And she really typifies that. She's been in prison for the last couple of decades pretty much. She's been sentenced to lashings. She's currently on a ten-year sentence I think.

But all of these seem to roll one into the next. CNN actually spoke to her or got a recording from her within that notorious prison where many of these women are kept. And in it, she is chanting women, life, freedom.

And this is really the slogan that erupted from these -- you know, after the death of Mahsa Amini, which really erupted into protests. This is a slogan that they kept repeating. And every time they repeat it, any of these women, it gets braver and braver and braver as the clamp down has been so profound.

So, she was -- she's been charging this in prison. No doubt that will extend the prison sentence. But the Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2023 to Mohammadi for her fight to promote human rights and freedoms for all. And the point that they make actually during the speech they just gave was quite profound really. This is not just about women's rights. It's about the rights of all people within Iran.

So I think that that speaks to potentially reaching out to men in Iran as well which is a hard challenge you can imagine. But to say she's not just fighting for women, she's fighting for everyone in Iran and indeed around the world. Freedom matters and that is what she's getting rewarded for. It will be interesting how she finds out about the award because she's in prison, but what an amazing pride for her to receive.

HUNT: Indeed somebody who has really devoted her life in a way that is incredibly courageous to making these stands for human rights. And it really does -- in a world where authoritarian impulses seem to be very much on the rise. This sends a very strong message.

Max Foster --

FOSTER: Absolutely.

HUNT: -- thank you very much for being with us. Have a wonderful weekend.

FOSTER: And to you.

HUNT: And we've got a new congressional map in Alabama. Could Democrats get a second seat in that state and what could that mean for the balance of power in the House?

Plus, Donald Trump drops the lawsuit against his former fixer. We'll have details on that just ahead.



HUNT: Welcome back.

We've got quick hits across America now.

A man arrested with a handgun at Wisconsin's capitol on Wednesday, bailed himself out and returned hours later with an assault rifle. Both times he demanded to see the governor. He is now in custody under psychiatric evaluation.

The Biden administration will start deport being undocumented Venezuelan migrants directly back to their country in an effort to slow record crossings at the border. The move marks some major shift in policy.

And federal judges approved a new congressional map in Alabama, giving it a second district where Black voters make up a large part of the electorate. It could give Democrats a second seat in that state, and it may help determined who controls the U.S. House after the midterm elections in 2024.

All right. Let's go now to weather. Plunging temperatures, fall temperatures about to replace the record heat in the Northeast and Midwest this week as fall finally moves in. Which weatherman Derek Van Dam knows I've been waiting anxiously for.

Derek, good morning.

DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: And a ALDS baseball game I think that's happening this weekend? I don't know.

HUNT: The Orioles/Rangers, 103 Camden Yards, I can't wait.

VAN DAM: I heard you threw first pitch this summer.

HUNT: I did in the Yankees game. It was a packed house, man. I mean, Derek, we could talk about this all day long. My O's are -- sorry. I should just let you do the weather.

VAN DAM: All right. Well, fory you, I cater to you this morning, you got a 70 degree temperature on Saturday for that Orioles game. And you know what? There might be a bit of rain, but it won't stop the game.

But everybody else across the country who is focusing on the cooler temperatures, it is coming. This is it. This is the watches and warnings in place. That is freeze warning, temperatures are going to drop below freezing for many locations across the plains tonight and through the next couple of mornings.

Below average temperatures moving eastward, we've been talking about the advancing cold front. Here it is for the Big Apple.

On Wednesday, your high was 83. Yesterday you were 78, and only 60 degrees by the end of the weekend. Welcome autumn. It is here.

And many locations across the eastern two thirds of the country will feel it as well. Look at the thermometer for let's say Chicago, New York, D.C., we're dropping into the 40s for some of these locations overnight, throughout the afternoon won't rebound much. That will very much like middle to end of October, but I want to show you this because we have a very interesting tropical system that's going to be impacting New England once again and creating a messy weekend.

Remember a couple of weekends ago, we had another tropical system that brought rainfall to northern New England. And there it is, Tropical Storm Philippe, it is going to just churn across the open Atlantic for a few more days before curving into northern New England by the end of the weekend, going to bring some rainfall to the areas that saw heavy rainfall last week as well.

Remember into northern New England, we saw a little bit of flooding just outside of New York City. So we're going to watch out for this, this weekend. But there is the particular rain forecast showing more of a New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine situation.

So we'll keep a close eye on this if the track shifts. But you can see the evolution of the storm here. And it will miss Baltimore by the way, Kasie.

HUNT: Outstanding. Outstanding. Derek, are you a Braves fan? [05:25:01]

VAN DAM: I am. How could I not? I live in Atlanta.

HUNT: OK. You're not a Yankees fan.

VAN DAM: Like, guys, get this guy out of here.

HUNT: Derek, thank you so much for that. Have a wonderful weekend, my friend. I'll see you on Monday.

VAN DAM: All right.

HUNT: All right. The former president endorses a candidate for House speaker. Details coming up.

And MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell ditched by his legal team. We'll tell you why.


HUNT: Good morning. Thank you for being up early with us. I'm Kasie hunt. It's just before 5:30 here on the East Coast.

Former president Trump weighing in on the race for speaker of the House overnight, endorsing loyal ally and right wing hard liner Jim Jordan in a post on Truth Social. The post came after a very long day of swirling rivers that Trump might visit the U.S. Capitol for the first time since January 6.

And then he teased the idea that he might be persuaded to step into the speaker job temporarily. That provoked varied reaction.


REP. TROY NEHLS (R-TX): It's done. I'm nominating Donald J. Trump for speaker of the House.