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Soon: Biden Makes Remarks on Expanded Child Tax Credit; McCarthy Initially Condemned Trump for Jan 6 Before Reversal; Trump Calls Talk of Coup Attempt "So Ridiculous"; Sanders Willing to Compromise on Spending Price Tag; Biden Administration Rolls Out Child Tax Credit. Aired 12p-12:30p ET

Aired July 15, 2021 - 12:00   ET



JOHN HARWOOD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That is a signature achievement.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: President will be speaking any moment now, let's see if he takes questions when he - us he is also meeting with German Chancellor today. So we've opportunity for questions there. It is great to see John, thank you so much. And thank you all so much for joining me at this hour. I'm Kate Bolduan. "Inside Politics" with John King starts right now.

JOHN KING, CNN HOST, INSIDE POLITICS: Hello everybody and welcome to "Inside Politics". I'm John King in Washington. It is a very busy news day. Today the top House Republican makes the show of loyalty to Donald Trump.

Kevin McCarthy's visit comes as new book details more Trump election lies even top Pentagon fears of a post-election Trump coup. And it comes as the former president wants McCarthy to undermine that new committee investigating the insurrection.

Plus, President Biden highlights new help for millions of Americans families. The White House says the new child tax credit will be a boon to struggling families and that it will fight now to make that health permanent. And a crossroads COVID moment cases now raising in 47 states the Surgeon General warns misinformation is killing Americans.


DR. FRANCIS COLLINS, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH: We're losing time here the Delta variant is spreading, people are dying. We can't actually just wait for things to get more rational. If you were on that fence about whether vaccination was going to help you listen to those numbers. Unvaccinated people going into hospital and dying, vaccinated people essentially not so why are we waiting folks--

(END VIDEO CLIP) KING: We're standing by to hear from the president and vice president at the White House on that new child tax credit. We will take you there live on that event begins. But until then, we start with this; the top House Republican is going to visit Donald Trump today.

My Kevin is what the former president calls Kevin McCarthy and McCarthy is again making clear his loyalty to Donald Trump. This week, you all know this is full of new Trump outrageous some in statements from the former president including just moments ago spreading more lies about the 2020 election some in new books about the final days of the Trump presidency, eye popping details of how the big lie was born?

How Trump was pleased as he watched the attack on the Capitol? How America's top general worried Trump would try to use the military in an effort to stay in power. So the timing of this McCarthy visit is rich, to say the least even more so because McCarthy has yet to name Republican members to that Select Committee now investigating the insurrection.

And we know Trump wants House Republicans to torpedo that committee, either by boycotting it, or by naming Trump loyalists to disrupt its work. With me in studio to share their reporting and their insights CNN's Nia-Malika Henderson, CNN's Jeff Zeleny, Jackie Kucinich of "The Daily Beast" and "POLITICO's" Rachel Bade.

Can you imagine the CEO of your company, going to visit Donald Trump right now? Right now, after what we have learned in the last 7200 hours from these new books. And the disgraceful things you're learning about Trump the birth of the big lie, General Mark Milley, the top American General worried there could be some effort to call up the military.

And Kevin McCarthy thinks - Leader McCarthy is his title thinks this is a good time to go embrace Donald Trump.

JACKIE KUCINICH, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, THE DAILY BEAST: Well, if - but if you - if your goal is to ride on Donald Trump's coattails to the speakership, that's absolutely where he would be. I mean, let's not forget he was on the phone with Former President Trump during the insurrection.

So I don't think it gets any more real than that for someone like Kevin McCarthy, but I mean, let's look at the receipts that he's pulling at. He is fundraising like crazy. He is really making a play for the - to lead the House of Representatives and that goes through Mar-a-Lago or New Jersey--

KING: --it is no question that this is a quest for power over all else over all us. But let's remember there's also Kevin McCarthy's own call what you hypocrisy, wishy washiness, will change of heart because he was among those who immediately after the insurrection, said, Mr. President are now Mr. Former President, you're to blame.


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.


KING: But then that Kevin McCarthy quickly went into the witness protection program. Three weeks later, he went to Mar-a-Lago, you see the picture right there. And to Jackie's point he decided, oh, wait a minute. I want to be speaker. I think I need that guy. I don't care about facts. I don't care about the Constitution. I don't care about anything.

RACHAEL BADE, POLITICO PLAYBOOK CO-AUTHOR: Yes, I mean, then President Trump was actually watching that speech and was furious and called him a number of vulgarities. And when that was reported, McCarthy realized that would again hurt his chances as speaker - to be speaker one day and so he quickly went to Mar-a-Lago to make amends.

I think the timing of today's visit is unfortunate for McCarthy with all these big revelations coming out in books, but the reason one of the big reasons he's going to be going down there is just think up strategy with the former president when it comes to this January 6th Committee.

I mean, last time, around during the previous impeachments Trump was really pressing McCarthy to put his top bomb throwers on the intelligence panel.


BADE: Put his top allies like Matt Gaetz on there, Mark Meadows, who was then in Congress would become his future chief of staff and McCarthy actually had a very different strategy back then he wanted to put moderates - keep moderates there out front to defend the president because he believed if moderates were attacking the process, and they were attacking these investigations, that it would carry more sway with the public and with these people in these centrist districts.

And so I bet he's there to sync up strategy with the president. We have heard - last night we're hearing from Trump people that again, the president wants these big bomb throwers on the committee, but McCarthy is looking at some more centrist members. And so they're probably there to try to figure out how to do this.

KING: And again, the timing part, putting power over principle or whatever, that Kevin McCarthy is a Leader in the Republican Party. He is attaching the Republican brand or keeping it attached to the former president. At a time you read this is an excerpt from "I alone can fix it" a great book by two Washington Post Pulitzer Prize winning reporters.

General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff - concern, those at the White House would try to keep power refused to yield to Joe Biden. They may try but they're not going to effing succeed. You can't do this without the military. You can't do this without the CIA and the FBI. We're the guys with the guns. This is America's top Generals who have served in Democratic and

Republican administrations voicing concerns to his top team that Donald Trump might try a coup essentially, to stay in power.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, in some ways, it's not really a surprise. I mean, given Trump's fealty and sort of adoration of authoritarians and authoritarian tactics, even as we were sort of covering this and living through it, I mean, the idea that he would try a military coup wasn't far from anyone's mind.

I believe it was Flynn who suggested this idea that somehow the military can go in and rerun the election in America, which made no sense, but to that group of people and certainly, to Donald Trump.

This made perfect sense. And it is good that people like Milley were there to stand in the way of something like this happening. But even with Milley there, lots of damage still have done to the Democratic process.

You think about the uprising, the insurrection on January 6th, and the big lie that continues and this continued a hole that Donald Trump has on the Republican Party in millions of Americans who believe him. And listen wouldn't have mind in a military coup in some ways.

KING: You make an important point, in the sense of you read these quotes, and they're eye popping, and they're - riveting conversation. When you just step back and think about this America's top general a man with decades of experience in the military.

And according to the book, this is what he said. This is a Reichstag moment, the gospel of the furor. This is America's top General, who honors the Constitution, civilian control of the military, American elections based democracy worried that Donald Trump was Adolf Hitler that we had a fascist or a Nazi, who was willing to ignore the results of an election and try to send the military into the streets, declare an insurrection, try to seize power. It is mind numbing.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Without a doubt, and it's just you know, one more example of the former president also not being steeped in history at all, shall we say, but General Milley is and he, you know, was defining what he was seeing.

I think we also have to point out that General Milley is also on a little bit of a rehabilitation tour for himself. He was discredited and really embarrassed by appearing with the president in Lafayette Park last summer during the protests.

But that said, this is way, way, way beyond that. I mean, this is something that, you know, contemporary is so reporting about, you know, what he was witnessing his conversations with Speaker Pelosi et cetera. So what does this mean for the here and now?

I think if we keep this in the moment the conversation the meeting with Kevin McCarthy today tells you all you need to know. Republicans are still terrified of the former president. They do not want to separate themselves from so this is like a movie that's repeating itself. But President Trump Former President Trump still is driving the train here.

KING: It's still driving the train to the effect I just want to - number one when you read these books that you think any Republican who is still aligned themselves and their party and the future of their party with Donald Trump raises the judgment question.

Number two, the personal character of the former president; he just issued a statement in which he talked about that moment Lafayette Park and said the next day Milley choked like a dog. By saying I shouldn't have been there. By saying it was a mistake for me to be choked like a dog of the coup attempt. He says so ridiculous. Sorry to inform you. But an election is my form of coop. Mr. Trump, he lost the election someday that will sink in.

And if I was going to do a coup, he says in the statement, one of the last people I would want to do it with is General Mark Milley. He goes on to say he was overrated. And he gave him the job only because another general that Trump hated more didn't like him.

KUCINICH: Well, I mean, so just keep this in the here and now as Jeff said, I think what we see with that - said tweet, but he's not on Twitter. That statement isn't - nothing's changed other than the fact that he's not president. He's not going to sink in that he lost the 2020 election.


KUCINICH: He doesn't think he lost or he's, or you know he's not going to let that drop. And the fact that you still have Republicans that are coalescing and using him, even using him in fundraising pitches, it tells you all you need to know about where they're at right now.

BADE: Yes. One of my colleagues, Meredith McGraw at "POLITICO" just did a story this morning about how Trump is furious about these books? And he's been anticipating a lot of these anecdotes coming out for a few you know--

ZELENY: He participated in that riot.


HENDERSON: --still down.

BADE: Mike Bender actually sat down with him and asked him point blank about this anecdote about him saying Hitler did "Good things" and they tried to say, this is defamatory, sort of a legal threat there if you print it. But yes, it sounds like Trump has been fretting about these books for a while.

ZELENY: If I were to do a coup, not saying I would never do that--


ZELENY: --if I were to do a coup. I mean, that's we've never heard of former president or current presidents. HENDERSON: Yes, it's also notable the ways in which Donald Trump used the military surrounded himself with generals in positions that generals hadn't typically been. You think about his Chief of Staff General Kelly, and listen I mean, they gave him credibility and cover in some might argue some enabled some of his tactics as well.

KING: Right. When you read these statements that he issues now several a day trying to defend him, it just he exposes himself as a crass course person who in that never mind the fact check part of it just the personal character part of it.

Again, we're waiting for the current President of the United States Joe Biden at the White House to talk about an important policy he says millions of American families will be able to put food on the table. Maybe take a summer vacation because of a new child tax credit. We'll take your life to the White House just a few moments.



KING: And we're waiting for the President of the United States and the Vice President of the United States - a big event at the White House today to talk about a new child tax credit. We'll take you there live as it breaks out.

Also mark your calendars for the middle of next week. That will be crunch time. We are now told for big elements of the Biden and Democratic agenda. The Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says he will hold a key vote on the Chamber's bipartisan infrastructure bill. It's a plan right now. Not a bill yet.

Next Wednesday, one day ahead of the leader self-imposed deadline for Senate Democrats to agree on a separate sweeping $3.5 trillion spending bill that bill President Biden says needs to pass.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Hopefully won't be like the last team in here. A bunch of weak and I pay the gun. But we're going to get something done.

ZELENY: Mr. President, any concern that having two tracks your disrupt divide partisan --?

BIDEN: No, I think it's only a way to get it--


KING: The last voice of the reporter you heard there among our panel back with us right now, Mr. Zeleny. Two tracks, president want a bipartisan infrastructure plan $600 billion ballpark, then you bring in the 3.5 bigger spending plans.

The question is can he thread the needle get enough Republicans to stay on the first plan so we can say bipartisan win? And then come over here and pass a sweeping Democratic bill and say Democratic agenda big first year success?

ZELENY: He's right. That is the only way to get this done. The question of is can he thread that needle? And he was meeting there yesterday when I asked that question with a bipartisan group, just still pretty rare of mayors and governors.

And they across the board, you know some 300 or so mayors, again, bipartisan have come out in support of this bipartisan plan so trying to make the case. But the president's schedule yesterday said all you need to know about this. He spent his lunch time with Senate Democrats trying to unify all of them.

He needs every single one without a defection on the bigger piece. And then in the afternoon, he was trying to focus attention on the bipartisan piece. So look when you talk to people at the White House behind the scenes, yes, they think it's possible they are pretty confident of keeping Democrats unified.

The one worry is, are any Republicans going to a defect on this bipartisan bill, and there is a decent chance of that. So that is why everyone at the White House tinder hopes. But you know, I'm not - here to call it dead. Because I think some of us thought that a couple months ago, and it's at this point. So there is still a group of Republicans who want to get something done.

KING: You make a key point at the end to everybody watching at home, you're going to hear see read, this piece is dead. That piece is dead probably several times before we get familiar next week. That's the way it works. People peel off their negotiating. So we'll see what happens.

What matters is when they actually vote, and that could come as early as next Wednesday according to Leader Schumer. Let's take them one at a time. The big sweeping Democratic plan, Bernie Sanders wanted $6 trillion. He said just days before they struck the deal. Anything below that would be too small.

He agreed to 3.5 trillion. This is absolutely critical to help Joe Biden get this through not just the Senate, but progressives in the House who view Bernie Sanders as among their leaders. Sanders say this way you govern.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): I wish you know that the rest of the Senate held my political views, but they don't. There are 50 of us in the Senate, some more conservative than others. And we have to reach an agreement.


KING: My question is does his spirit of compromise there? Number one, win over the House progressive who wishes for bigger but number two does it put pressure on the people like Joe Manchin who think number one, even 3.5 trillion is too big and more importantly, on the specifics. Eastern West Virginia, a coal state a fossil fuel state, he's worried about some of the climate incentives in there will hurt his state. Is there enough pressure on everybody on happiness among everyone that everyone says we got to do this?

BADE: I mean, look, clearly if Bernie Sanders - Bernie's revolution is willing to compromise and I think it's going to put pressure on Manchin to do the same I mean, Manchin said he wanted something like a $2 trillion Democrats reconciliation bill. This is obviously higher than that.

He's got Concerns about fossil fuels. But you know progressives aren't going to get everything they want too, a lot of the priorities they had tucked into this proposal for $6 trillion they're going to have to get scaled back.


BADE: And so you know, I think with Democrats, there's this sort of belief that they've got to do something now they're probably going to lose the House and possibly lose the Senate; this is the time to move and so, you know, in that they could see the compromise.

KING: And you hit the politics part in the end because of the map next year I mean it's more Republican seats on the ballot, but Republicans because it's 50/50 think president's first midterm, we should be able to win. So they're trying to scare they only need to scare one Democrat off that bigger plan.

If they take one Democrat away the Democrats can't pass Mitch McConnell just said that it's wholly inappropriate that spending money like that is going to fuel inflation one of his key deputies John Barrasso dropping the socialist tag.


SEN. JOHN BARRASSO (R-WY): Extreme Democrats freight train to socialism, they're going to need every Democrat to pass because there's not a single Republican in the House or in the Senate who's going to support the green bad deal. The Democrats are proposing to spend money like its Monopoly money.


KING: That's just throws it all. It just throws. But look, if you're a Democrat, you roll your eyes at that. But think about it, you know, if there's a vulnerable Democrat running next year in a purple-ish state, that's what - they're trying to try to scare you away.

HENDERSON: Yes, but listen, money in people's pockets is a good thing. I mean, you might call it socialism. But listen, I mean, it means that people can have an easier way. If you're talking about expanding Medicare and giving people dental and vision. I mean, I'm sure if you're a senior citizen on Medicare, that's a good thing.

If you're a Democrat, you want something to run on in 2022. The odds that Kevin McCarthy, retake the House are high. And so you want to be able to go back to your constituents and say you delivered something. And I think that's part of the pressure for Democrats, but also Republicans, right?

I mean, because they have the difficult map in the Senate side. So in terms of a bipartisan deal, they too want to go back with some deliverables.

KING: We're about to hear from the president on this very point, deliverables. The president wants to make the case you elected Democrats, we are doing things that help you. It will be the child tax credit in a minute. In the reconciliation bill there's an expansion of Medicare.

There's this new help for Obamacare. There's more child credit more what they call human infrastructure to help you out. That is the test. Are Democrats ready to go into the next election? Say yes, yes, we spent some money and it made Republicans mad, but we spent money in ways that helps you not corporations.

ZELENY: They definitely are, you know, a free community college, Pre- K, the list goes on and on. This is what President Biden ran on. There are no surprises here really. I mean, everything from his build back better agenda, as he calls it is contained in this bill.

Is everything going to make it? No, of course not but that's why at least talking to the White House officials, they really think Democrats will come together on this. The bipartisan one is a little bit more of a potential question.

KING: And I think if I'm right, we're ready to go live to the White House right now. Let's see what we got?


BIDEN: Look at this.

KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I love seeing our young leaders. Well, good morning, everyone. Good morning. Let us mark this day, Thursday, July 15th, 2021 as the day the American family got so much stronger.

Today, the expanded child tax credit is here. Today, for families all over our country, for children, all over our country help is here. It is a good day America. Now tell you know, my mother, she worked hard at being a mother.

Whether it was waking up at the crack of dawn to pack our lunches and get us ready for school, or whether after we went to bed sitting at our kitchen table and trying to just figure out how to make it all work? And I know it wasn't easy, even though she never said that.

My family's story is not all that remarkable. It is the story of the American family, parents who will do anything for their children, parents who work so hard every day. Parents who deserve their government and their leaders to really see them to really understand them as they juggle all their responsibilities every month.

Every month, the rent becomes due. Every month the childcare provider needs a check, a check that could take half an income. Every month American families need to buy groceries and gas to pay for rent or homeowners insurance, utilities and car loans and even if they have enough to make ends meet, it is often just barely enough.


HARRIS: One unexpected expense could mean the difference between taking on more debt and losing it all. In the wealthiest nation in the world, it should not be this way. And the president and I, well, we both believe that. So when we took office, we set out to provide American families with some relief.

And that is exactly what we are doing. And I want to thank those members of Congress who led and voted to expand the child tax credit. The president will detail the expansion, but let me underscore one important piece.

This tax cut will be issued in monthly payments. This has never happened before. And America, yes, it is a big deal. I have been fighting for months and for quite some time, even when I was in the Senate for monthly payments, because I know, if the struggle to make ends meet is monthly, the solution has to be also.

So before I introduce our president, let me close with this. The payments may be monthly. But the impact of this child tax credit will undoubtedly be generational. Indeed, it is the largest middle class tax cut in generations and will lift up half of our nation's children who are living in poverty, out of poverty.

And in lifting up those children, and in lifting up the American family, it will lift up our entire nation. Today is the good day America. It is a historic day. And we are here today because of the vision and the leadership of a fellow parent of a president who believes with all his heart, that the strength of our nation should be measured by the strength of our families and our children. It is my great honor to introduce President Joe Biden.

BIDEN: Thank you. Thank you. Well, for you, anybody under the age of 13 this is got to be boring, boring, boring, and right? I tell you what? We have to work something out here so that when this is over, your parents, your uncles, your aunts, whoever you're with, they owe you some ice cream or something.

Folks, it's a pleasure to be here. Take a sip here. This I believe this is actually historic day historic day in a sense that we continue to build an economy that respects and recognizes the dignity of working class families and middle class families. It's historic.

And it's our effort to make another giant step toward ending child poverty in America. I think this will be one of the things that the vice president and I will be most proud of when our terms are up.

Beginning this morning, nearly all working families, that is people making under $150,000 as families or an individual making $120,000 - 25,000 who have children or raising children in America are going to receive their first monthly tax cut payment.

That payment from the expanded child tax credit, as we signed in the law is part of my "Our American Rescue Plan". It's one of the largest ever single tax cuts for families with children. And it's a reflection of our belief that the people of this country who need a tax cut aren't the folks at the top.

They've gotten plenty of tax cuts, they're doing just fine. But it's the people in the middle of folks who are struggling, are just looking for a little bit of my dad would say a little bit of breathing, a little bit of breathing. This has the potential to reduce child poverty in the same way that the Social Security reduced poverty for the elderly.

And by the way, think of monthly payments, you get a social security check those who you know get social security, they get it monthly. Well, this will be unless you wanted a one lump sum. This will be a monthly payment for childcare, for - excuse me for your children a tax cut.

Here's how the tax credit works. For every child under the age of six the parent will get $3,600 a year. For every child 6 to 17 they'll get $3,000 per year. For example middle class family with two young children who are expected to receive $7,200 a year to help raise their children.