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Bush Vs. Trump: Feud On Display In Liz Cheney Race; NYT: Trump Campaign Knew Voting Claims Were Baseless; Biden, Macron Agree "Open Consultations" Would Have Helped. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired September 22, 2021 - 12:30   ET



DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It's not his party anymore, not even close. What he can do that is actually active and practical, is raise money. And that is what he is doing. And so he went from the rhetorical and the symbolic and that moment in the speech to OK, let me see, let me do something within my power. And he doesn't have a lot of power in Trump's Republican Party. This is something he can do in Dallas, where there are a lot of Bush Republicans who have big fat checkbooks, and they're going to write checks to Liz Cheney.

JOHN KING, CNN HOST: It is a fascinating public step forward because Trump has made no secret. Yes, there are a lot of Republicans on the, what I call the Trump vengeance tour. But Liz Cheney would be very high in the list.

JOSH JAMERSON, NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Exactly. And we're going to pay a lot of attention to this race, it will give us sort of how you were describing like that litmus test of where the Republican Party is. But if you just look outside of Wyoming, from the Ohio Senate race to North Carolina, or Pennsylvania, and how those primaries are shaking up, there's not a Liz Cheney type that is gaining momentum in Republican primaries across the country right now. And that's like you said, because it's the party of Trump at this point. And they know that and they know that that's what they're up to.

KING: A little back in time moment here for just how personal this is, in the sense that Donald Trump, the former president has repeatedly criticized the George W. Bush presidency. But for those of you who remember 2016, and remember it well, Jeb Bush was a candidate in that race and the bad blood between Trump and Jeb Bush, well, here you go.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Jeb is having some kind of a breakdown, I think. And, you know, look, he's an embarrassment to his family. He has to bring his mother out and walk his mother around at 90 years old. I think it's a very sad situation, that second place.

Oh, I know you're a tough guy, Jeb. I know.

JEB BUSH, FORMER GOVERNOR OF FLORIDA: And we need to have a leader that is --

TRUMP: Really tough.


KING: Again, it's just a fascinating dynamic in that Donald Trump's campaign for the presidency was the campaign against the Republican establishment and he used the Bush family.


KING: He used the Bush family sort of as the poster child for him for the Republican establishment. Dana was noting the great irony, that Jeb Bush's son very much wanted Donald Trump's endorsement in a Texas campaign but didn't get it.

KIM: Right. And it just that dynamic right there illustrates that if you are a currently active politician and Republican politics, you do need Trump's support right now to the point that you're willing to go against someone or to beg for the support of someone who has gone after your own family, which is the remarkable point. But you are seeing Trump's influence so much in the Republican Party primaries right now. And you've seen, you know, you had great reporting from your colleagues at the journal about his meddling in the Republican Senate primaries of him trying to oust Mitch McConnell, who he has obviously had a very -- who whose relationship has been put on ice with him.

So it'll just be interesting. Like while we -- when we go through the all these primaries for the next several months, who actually wins out in the end, because right now it is those Trump candidates. And what does that mean for, for example, in the Senate races when they -- when these Republicans do need to win statewide elections. We know that something that Republicans strategists are already concerned about.

KING: And we can show you on the screen the 10 Republicans who voted to impeach one, Anthony Gonzales of Ohio has already said he's not going to run for reelection. We know that Adam Kinzinger is probably going to face a Republican primary challenge back home. We'll see how that goes. Liz Cheney, we can show you this is a -- this is her opponent. Donald Trump, Jr. has already been to Wyoming. Donald Trump has said he will campaign and help the primary challenger. And we'll see if he actually goes to Wyoming, the former president. This is Liz Cheney's opponent making very clear again, that in her view, she is the issue. Trump is the leader of the party.


HARRIET HAGEMAN (R-WY) CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: Liz Cheney has betrayed Wyoming. She betrayed all of us. And she betrayed me. She just wants to spend her time fighting with President Trump rather than fighting Biden and Pelosi and what we see are the radicals in Washington. (END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: There are debates all the time. This is still Donald Trump's party that is just indisputable. There are debates all the time about whether that influence is waning or whether it is growing. This is one of the races when you talk to people up on Capitol Hill, this is one of the races they're going to watch very closely because of the Bush name is iconic but so is the Cheney name.

HEATHER CAYGLE, CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER, POLITICO: Right. And but let's remember, let's put this in a little perspective. Cheney is a special case in the sense that she has that built in network, the Bush-Cheney network behind her. She was able to carve out a path for herself in the House becoming the vice chair of this Committee giving her a very prominent platform. A lot of these other Republicans who may be uncomfortable with Trump feel like they're pariahs and they don't have this opportunity, this support network. We saw Anthony Gonzalez who said, you know what, I'm out. I think Trump is, quote, a cancer, but I can't do this.

So while Cheney's race is very important. She is a lot different than some of these other Republicans who want a different path but don't see it for themselves.

KING: That's a great point in the sense it'll be interesting to see if the establishment whether it's the former president or other step up not only to help Liz Cheney, but do they make a more concerted public effort to help some of the others if you want to take on Trump that would be a bolder way to do.


Up next for us, the corrupt depth of the big lie, new court documents show the Trump campaign new soon after Election Day its claims about Dominion voting systems were bogus. But guess what? It continued to peddle them anyway.


KING: It is a staple of the propaganda playbook, repeat a lie and repeated so often too many it becomes the truth. Case in point, you will still find Trump supporters peddling this fiction as fact.



SIDNEY POWELL, TRUMP LEGAL TEAM: Uncovering more by the day is the massive influence of communists' money through Venezuela, Cuba, and likely China in the interference with our elections.

RUDY GIULIANI, TRUMP LEGAL TEAM: Smartmatic is owned by Venezuelans close to Chavez. There's nobody here that engages in fantasies.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KING: Wrong, wrong. That guy right there was engaging in fantasies. Trump lawyers, Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani were lying at that event two weeks after the 2020 vote. A new court documents made clear the Trump campaign knew they were lying, yet did nothing to stop it that day or countless times after from the president's lawyers, supporters, and of course, even Trump himself.

Our panel is back with us. And to that point, let's just put up on the screen. "The New York Times" got this memo out of court documents. It's the Trump campaign memo. That says there's no evidence of interference with voting machines. There's no direct ties between Dominion and Venezuela. There's no evidence Dominion's leadership was tied to Antifa or to George Soros or to anybody else that the President's quote unquote, lawyers, including once American icon, Rudy Giuliani kept repeating over and over and over again. They knew it wasn't true. And they kept saying it, which makes it even worse than reprehensible.

JAMERSON: Well, I just -- if you go back before the election, you can kind of remember the warnings coming up. And what they were taking advantage of was, it was a pandemic election year, and there was an unprecedented amount of mail-in voting. And people saw one thing when they went to bed and another thing when they woke up, and they took advantage of that dynamic playing out.

And what happened is, like you said, to this day, there are Trump supporters, voters, who believe that he won the election. And they -- it's just a part of our American history now that there will be people who believe that forever.

KING: And it's a cancer on democracy and faith and institutions, not just elections, this pedals over into faith and institutions everywhere, including faith in our business, because they continue to say that we're the liars that they're not the liars that their lies, just in the last week the depth of the big lie. This "New York Times" getting into the court documents, Trump campaign knew the voting claims were baseless. Trump lawyer pushing plan that essentially as Mike Pence execute a coup. Go outside your constitution abilities when you're certifying the Electoral College, Trump writing Georgia Secretary of State to certify the election yet again. This is the Georgia secretary of state he says Trump knows he's just crying for help.


BRAD RAFFENSPERGER (R-GA), SECRETARY OF STATE: There's more misinformation, disinformation. It's been 10 months now. I look at his letters of plea for attention. He knows he's lost.


KING: Is -- does he know he's lost? And even if he does, OK, but he's -- Trump is doing this for a reason to Josh's point to keep, to keep the big lie out there, to keep his supporters wedded to this fictional approach for the ultimate day when he decides I'm back. Let's fix it. KIM: Right. And you kind of see that if he does decide to run again in 2024. And, again, that's a very big if at this point, that his platform is going to be based largely on this big lie this absolute, baseless false claim that he did not win this election that still gets a significant part of the Republican base going. And going back to kind of what we, to our earlier point when you see the difference between what his people were saying publicly and what they were saying privately. We saw this unfolding in real time, they were saying certain things to us in, you know, and through press conferences to the media and saying different things in court documents where it is an actual crime to lie in court documents.

So they know this is false, but this is going to continue as long as President Trump or President Trump keeps his name out there. And also Republican leaders kind of don't do anything about it. Don't condemn him.

KING: Right. Don't stand up to it every time it happens to say we will have no part in that. Instead, they say let's raise money with Donald Trump. But let's go for it. In the new book by Bob Woodward and Bob Costa, of "Washington Post" "Peril," they get it this. There were some Republican saying, Mr. President, stop, Mr. President, stop. But about your legacy, you know, think about the future, think about how history will record you if you keep telling this lie.

This quote from the book, my legacy doesn't matter. If I lose, that will be my legacy. My people expect me to fight and if I don't, I will lose them. It does get at a key point about Trump. He views loser, loser, as about the worst label you can put on someone.

CAYGLE: Absolutely. And I think part of motivating his base and those voters is always being in a defensive crouch, right? And that's why they keep furthering this. And you see Republicans on the Hill, some of them his allies continue to try to legitimize these claims, despite these court documents and other Republican leaders just not saying anything, which to Seung Min's point, as long as they do that this is going to keep going and it's a concern for 2024, but also 2022 in the midterms, with the House and Senate so close.

BASH: The tails wagging the dog.

KING: The tail is wagging the dog. And to the point of this quote, if I lose that, it will be my legacy. He lost. He lost.


When we come back, don't this one, President Biden picks up the phone and tries to repair a rift in relations with France. New details, an interesting conversation, that's up next.


KING: Breaking news, a top our Political Radar today, President Biden moments ago wrapping up a call with the French President Emmanuel Macron. This after a major diplomatic rift, the French so angry over sub snub, they recall their ambassador to the United States. Let's get straight to our CNN correspondent Cyril Vanier joining us now live from Paris. Cyril the readout of this call the joint statement issued by the White House is delicious, to say the least.


CYRIL VANIER, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR & CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I think delicious is a great word, John. And we have actually two statements, an English language statement, French language. They're almost identical except for a key part. The wording of what looks like an apology by Joe Biden. Get this, John, it's a lot closer to an apology in the French language version of this joint statement than it is in the English language version.

So the French are saying that both leaders agreed that all of this, this could have been avoided, this crisis could have been avoided if there had been further consultation among allies. That is the closest you are going to get to an apology from the most powerful men in the world, Joe Biden.

The English language version of this communique says however, only that the situation would have benefited from further consultations. So I think diplomats and students of this moment are going to find this quite funny, possibly quite petty, John, I would argue. Anyway, it's the closest the French are going to get to an apology from Biden. That is what they wanted from this phone call. They have gotten what they wanted. And we know that because they are now going to send their Ambassador back to Washington, the ambassador that they recalled last week. So the snap analysis of this, John, is that the worst part of this crisis is over. And it didn't cost frankly, the Americans very much.

KING: To follow up quickly to make your point about the French had the upper hand here. The statement also makes clear that the two leaders spoke at the request of President Biden. That was very important to the French, was it not, to make clear that this was a rift of the U.S. making, and therefore the U.S. President had to essentially say I need you to help me here.

VANIER: Yes, absolutely. And look, the French on the record and off the record have been saying for the better part of a week that it was Mr. Biden, who wanted to call Mr. Macron. You understand, John, that there's a lot of face saving going on in all of this. And the French wanted it to be known that it wasn't them who were running after this phone call, John.

KING: Remarkable moment. Cyril Vanier in Paris, appreciate the hustle on the breaking news for us. We'll continue to track that one.

More radar now, former President Donald Trump suing his niece, yes, suing his niece, Mary Trump for disclosing his tax information to "The New York Times." Trump asking for at least $100 million in damages in a lawsuit filed in New York, the 45th president also suing the three "New York Times" reporters who wrote about his finances.

A Republican Senate candidate says he will not support Mitch McConnell as a Republican leader if he is elected next year. The former Missouri governor Eric Greitens said in a statement that he is quote, committed to finding new leadership in the Senate when Republicans win back the majority in 2022. Greitens is running to replace the retiring Republican Senator Roy Blunt and it is very clear who he is trying to please here. Remember, the Wall Street Journal reporting just this week, Donald Trump is looking to oust McConnell from his leadership role.

The newest branch of the U.S. military, well, it's getting new uniforms and Twitter is having a field day, Space Forces, new prototype for its Guardian members features a navy blue coat with six diagonal buttons to signify Space Force as the sixth branch of the U.S. Armed Forces. And the internet was quick to note the sci-fi similarities including some delicious, delightful "Star Trek" comparisons.


Still ahead for us, the Secretary of Homeland Security is promising a swift investigation into these troubling images from the U.S.-Mexico border that as the Biden administration faces an onslaught of criticism, even from members of its own party over the ongoing border crisis.


KING: Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas today promising a thorough but quick investigation into aggressive tactics by Border Patrol agents in Del Rio, Texas this week.


ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: The facts will drive the actions that we take. We ourselves will pull no punches. And we need to conduct this investigation thoroughly but very quickly. It will be completed in days and not weeks.


KING: CNN immigration reporter, Priscilla Alvarez is with us. So you have this short term investigation amid a short term immediate crisis in Del Rio, that's part of a bigger problem for the administration.

PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN IMMIGRATION REPORTER: Well, these are the images that the administration is contending with. You have migrants underneath the bridge in squalid conditions, and you have photographs and video of border patrol agents in aggressive confrontations with Haitians.

So Mayorkas is launching this investigation. He says that the results are going to come in within a few days and that he is committed to making them public. He also said that the people who are the subject of this investigation are on administrative duties. But the administration is receiving blowback here from Democrats and Republicans during a hearing moments ago, Democrats urge Mayorkas to treat migrants humanely not deport them to Haiti, a country that they are unfamiliar with after years of living in South America. Meanwhile, Republicans say they're tired of the administration's explanation that this is the Trump administration's fault and say that this border crisis is of their own making. So, blowback here for the administration on both sides with allies and with Republicans as they shift these migrants out of that bridge, so there's a few movements happening here. They are both deporting them to Haiti and ramping up those flights. They are also releasing some of those migrants into the U.S. depending on circumstances. And also just working to shift it and solve the issue here.


KING: We'll keep in touch as it shifts and shifts. Appreciate your time today in Inside Politics. We'll see you back here tomorrow. Ana Cabrera picks up right now.