Return to Transcripts main page

Inside Politics

Trump Falsely Claims That AZ Bogus "Audit" Showed He Won; VA Governor's Race: Pressure Rising For Dems; NY Gov. To Sign Emergency Order Ahead Of Vaccine Deadline. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired September 27, 2021 - 12:30   ET




REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): There's a difference between somebody who voted for Donald Trump and being the Republican leader after an insurrection and setting all of that aside and going to Mar-a-Lago and rehabilitating him, bringing him back in. That to me is unforgivable. On the issues that mattered for Wyoming, I stood with him. You know, you can say you disagree with him. You think that his character was bad, which it was, all of those things. But the line that can't be crossed is what happened after the election.


JOHN KING, CNN HOST: It is not just personal with Donald Trump or Liz Cheney, it is personal with Kevin McCarthy unforgivable rehabilitating him, bringing him back in.

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, she has stepped up as criticism of him ever since getting tossed from the number three spot in the leadership. McCarthy of course, turned his back on her, effectively pushed her out, but McCarthy's calculation is very clear. His conference overwhelmingly supports Donald Trump, especially some of the more vocal elements that are very few people are her and Adam Kinzinger, who really speak out against Trump just 10 voted to impeach. One of them is decided not to run for reelection. The others have really kept their heads down maybe another one may also retire fed up.

So it's a -- there's a reason why Kevin McCarthy has done that, why he went down to Mar-a-Lago, he knows it's critical for him to get become speaker because he'll ultimately need those votes. And he'll need Donald Trump support.

KING: Which gets you to the part, the corrupt part as Liz Cheney sees it. And then sometimes it's very hard to disagree with her in the sense that she says they rehabilitated him, they brought him back in, they want to use him to raise money. They want to keep the base voters, Trump voters happy because they want power, because Kevin McCarthy wants to be speaker of the House. And this is the former president of the United States this weekend. Here is what you are inviting in and who you are rehabilitating, a liar. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Yesterday, we also got the results of the Arizona audit, which were so disgracefully reported by those people right back there and the headlines, claiming that Biden won. We won on the Arizona forensic audit yesterday at a level that you wouldn't believe.


KING: The -- it was a fraudulent audit. It wasn't a real audit. But the company that Republicans hired came to the conclusion that in Maricopa County, Joe Biden got even more votes than the county counted. So it didn't go Trump's way. And there, he's lying again, the biggest fraud in America is that he keeps lying to his own supporters who deserve better, who's deserved better, most of them are hardworking Americans, they deserve better. But --

LAURA BARRON-LOPEZ, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, and this also isn't just about relitigating 2020. This is about sowing doubt. It's about laying the groundwork to potentially challenge the results of '22 and '24 to potentially also try to overturn those elections. We see a lot of Trump allies that are running for election boards, and for secretaries of state in key swing states.

And those are Republicans who have cast doubt about the legitimacy of the past election. So when push comes to shove, are they going to side with Trump and try to overturn election results in 2022? That's what that is about, what that speech was about from Trump.

AYESHA RASCOE, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, NPR: And in democracy is in many ways in the balance, right, like Liz Cheney is not wrong about the fact that if you continue to elect people into support a man who says whatever comes out in the election, don't believe that, believe what I say and what I say is that I won, that is not sustainable for a democracy.

MANU: It's actually good political strategy too, to tell your supporters the elections are rigged. I mean, it didn't quite work in Georgia. They lost two Senate races, in large part because Trump was sowing doubt in what was happening in Georgia. And now look what happened. Democrats are the majority, they can potentially put through a massive plan that they are because of what happened in Georgia.

KING: The point about rehabilitating him. There it is right there in his own words.


Up next for us, the Virginia governor's race is tight heading into this week's final debate. The Biden agenda Donald Trump and COVID mandates are certain topics.


KING: Five weeks to Election Day in Virginia and Terry McAuliffe is nervous, fed up with his fellow Democrats on Capitol Hill.


TERRY MCAULIFFE (D-VA), GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: I'm tired of people up in Congress sitting around doing chitty chat, let's pass these bills and let's lift up our families.


KING: Virginia's off your elections often do give us clues about the coming midterm season. And McAuliffe's complaint there is born of fears might be hard to motivate Democrats to vote when they see their agenda stalled in Washington. Jeff Zeleny who interviewed Terry McAuliffe on the campaign trail yesterday joins our conversation.

So Terry's a Democrat, he's trying to get his old job as governor back, Virginia has trended blue. This should be kind of no brainer, but a decent race for the Democrats to be optimistic. And why is he so nervous? And why specifically about the fate of the Biden agenda?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: He's worried about the fate of the Biden agenda, because the whole, you know, reason for Democrats being elected was competence. We can govern, we can get things done.

So, if this agenda collapses this week, or God forbid, in the coming weeks, I mean, who knows how long this is going to last, I think that that is a sign that Democrats can't govern. And if you're an independent voter out there, why are Democrats any different I mean, the one thing about the Virginia Governor's race as we all know covering this. It always happens the year after the presidential election.


So often it's a course correction or a precursor for what's happening in the midterm elections and that is exactly what worries, Terry McAuliffe. Of course, she was governor in 2013 to 2017. But they are worried about enthusiasm on the Democratic side, but also just a sense of not true hardcore Democrats, but just other voters in the middle like, you know, if this Biden agenda is too expensive, they can't get it all through why elected Democrat here, so and he's been trying to make his Republican opponent a clone of Donald Trump, but that hasn't really worked so far.

KING: And it's an interesting point, because Terry McAuliffe is very much like Joe Biden too, a more centrist Democrat of an older generation, Democrats not quite Biden's age. But so here's the issue, I think, tell me if you think I'm wrong, that if it's about Biden and the Biden agenda, then Terry McAuliffe can't as he would like, listen, make this about Trump.


TRUMP: The only guys that win are the guys that embrace the MAGA movement. Does that make sense to you? (END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Sorry about that. That was out of order there. But that's the President, it's a hard turn, but let's make it. That's the President calling into a Virginia radio show, John Fredericks radio show, essentially, saying Youngkin the Republican candidate, better be nicer to me and better embrace me. Because if you run for me, or just try to keep the, you know, friends, but not friendly with Trump, keep your distance it doesn't work.

RAJU: Yes, look, that's a complicated message to embrace the MAGA movement in a state like Virginia, particularly in Northern Virginia, lots of blue Democratic voters or swing voters. And that's a challenge to for Youngkin. Look, but Jeff is right.

I mean, if this collapses for Democrats, if the things go wrong for McAuliffe come N ovember, Democrats are going to freak out. They have a midterm election next year that they are very nervous about. Yes, that was one governor's race, not necessarily going to tell the whole story about next year's midterms.

But undoubtedly, there's going to be a real panic setting in and also, it also explains why there was a major push to try to get this agenda done before November. It's almost certainly going to slip into October, the larger bill likely if it slips past October, they lose Virginia, you can only imagine the reaction for some of these moderates, if they say, what happened in Virginia, potentially could happen in our districts too.

KING: Right. And if you look, this poll is about two weeks old, but this is the most recent poll, McAuliffe 50, Youngkin 47. That's a pretty close race in Virginia. Again, the suburbs in Northern Virginia have been trending blue for the last 15 years or so. So they have, governor's races are close, but usually shouldn't be that close. "The Cook Political Report," for example, just said, it's national environment sours for Democrats, Virginia Governor moves to toss up. It had been lean Democratic.

The key point is that as national environment source for Democrats, the question is we started the program on this very thing. Do the Democrats get it? Do they understand that? Yes, the liberals are far apart from the centrists. And you've got competing camps in between that if they do nothing, they're opening a trap door.

RASCOE: And what was said earlier, when you talked about the need for competence, that was the argument, right? And what Biden had was a no good, terrible, very bad summer. And he was not showing competence, right? So they need to have some type, Democrats need some type, of course correction to show we can get something done. It's not going to look like that if you have to worry about a fiscal cliff and a government shutdown when Democrats control the House, the Senate, and the presidency.

And yes, it's a tight. It's tight numbers in the House and the Senate. But people don't know about that. And they don't care about that. They want to see things get done. KING: And to the -- what's at stake, what's being tested part, you mentioned, Virginia often gives us clues. We just went through the California recall. California is way more blue than Virginia. And so you see that, you know, you see Gavin Newsom was not recalled.

You see, Democrats did a pretty good job turning out their voters, the Democrats saying what can we learn, but then you have to be careful because it's California. So you come over to Virginia, they're going to have to debate this week. COVID vaccine mandates will be an issue and let's circle back. Terry McAuliffe very much he wants to make this about a man who's not on the ballot in Virginia.


MCAULIFFE: You've heard it all. You know what the states are. This is a huge election. Donald Trump wants to use this election to begin his comeback in this country. He said it. He's endorsed my opponent four times.


KING: Trump helps motivate Democrats. But in 2018 Trump was president. Democrats took back the House in the midterms. In 2020, Trump was president running for reelection, Joe Biden beat him. But is Donald Trump is not on the ballot. Democrats going to try to put them there, but he's not.

BARRON-LOPEZ: Yes, we've seen repeatedly McAuliffe trying to really tether Youngkin to Trump. There has been ads that have been sent out about them being cozy with each other. But again, he's also, McAuliffe is also regularly talking about the bill back better agenda, the fact that he really wants to see this passed.

So again, I think the fact that the McAuliffe race is so close to when all this action is happening, the fact that it's so close to when Biden's approval ratings are going down. That's why he seen this big impact. It is hitting him in a way that I think if his race were actually in the midterm it may not.


But you're seeing also House Democrats, which we were just talking about in the break, trying to really even push their colleagues like look, we don't want to see a loss in Virginia. So let's get this done as quickly as possible.

KING: Anything they could use to help their argument right now I guess the way to go. But it's a fascinating race to watch. And we'll stay on at five more weeks.

Up next for us, a midnight deadline, that's tonight, for New York healthcare workers get a COVID vaccine or lose your job.


[12:50:09] KING: New York State's vaccine mandate for healthcare workers kicks in today tonight and officials are bracing for the possibility of significant staff shortages. Governor Kathy Hochul considering activating the National Guard or bringing in workers from overseas to help in New York now becomes a key test in the political and legal battles over COVID mandates.

Let's get straight up to CNN's Miguel Marquez, he's following us for us live in New York. Miguel, this is a big test for the governor, but also a big test of these mandate policies.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and the governor has already sort of started to meet that test by saying that she will issue an emergency order that so if they run short of nurses, they can activate certain sections of the National Guard or bring others in from outside the country or outside the state to help fill in the gaps here, if there are gaps.

I mean, let's keep in mind, the vast majority of health care workers, whether they work in hospitals, or they work in care homes, or they're working with adults during in adult care, they aren't vaccinated. But there is a small but significant number of individuals who either don't want to get vaccinated or are refusing it for some reason. And that's where the fight is. In across the state of New York, it would amount to thousands of individuals.

The difference with New York and what makes New York such a test for so many other places with this mandate is there's no option to get tested every week if you don't want to get the vaccine if you are a healthcare worker in this state. The governor basically saying today she wants to put this thing to bed, she's sick and tired of talking about COVID and dealing with COVID. They want to get back to a more positive place and open the economy backup. John?

KING: As we watched this statewide policy play out, Miguel, New York City going through a subset of this, if you will, a challenge for a mandate for teachers. How's that going?

MARQUEZ: Yes, New York City and New York State. New York City now, so teachers were supposed to be in the exact same place today as nurses, mandatory vaccine for teachers across the state. Now, there is a hearing that will determine on Wednesday because some teachers brought a lawsuit against the state to determine whether or not that will be the case.

For now, New York City saying they're going to revert to the old policy with either get vaccinated or you have to test out every single week until a judge decides.

But keep in mind as well, the vast majority of teachers and people who work in schools are vaccinated but it's this small resistant minority that just refuses. John?

KING: Yes, Marquez in New York, live for us, appreciate you're keeping us posted on that. And we'll keep an eye on it makes way through the courts and likewise. Coming up for us, the Department of Justice has just reached an agreement that would give unconditional release to the man who shot Ronald Reagan. We'll tell you what's included in that deal, next.



KING: Topping Political radar today the Justice Department has just reached a deal that would lift all restrictions on John Hinckley Jr. He of course is the man who attempted to assassinate the former President Ronald Reagan back in 1981. Hinckley's movements and internet activity will no longer be strictly monitored under this deal.

And the U.S. District Court Judge today said he will approve the agreement. Hinckley Jr. 25 years old when he shot and attempted to kill Reagan outside of a Washington, D.C. hotel more than 40 years ago. He was found not guilty by reason of insanity. The 66-year-old was released from the D.C. Hospital in 2016, has been living with his mother in Williamsburg, Virginia.

Brand new statistics from the FBI show murder rates jumped almost 30 percent across the country last year, the largest single increase since the agency has been recording that data back in 1960 they started. Of the cities that did submit data, Houston, Los Angeles saw the biggest jump in crime up more than 20 percent. Analysts pointing to several factors, including pandemic stress, police distrust after the death of George Floyd and more people buying and carrying guns.

Liz Cheney says she was wrong to oppose same sex marriage in the past. This is the first time Congresswoman Cheney has spoken publicly about her reversal on the issue. Back in 2013, Cheney made headlines for disagreeing with her father, the former Vice President Dick Cheney, and her sister Mary Cheney was openly gay.


CHENEY: I was wrong. I love my sister very much. I love her family very much. And I was wrong. It's a very personal issue, and very personal for my family. I believe that my dad was right. And my sister and I have had that conversation.


KING: Texas now reexamining the results of the 2020 election in several counties, but the state's Republican governor is claiming it's not because of the former President Donald Trump. Governor Greg Abbott telling "Fox News" over the weekend, the review has been in the work for months and it's just a normal part of the government process. But the facts do show that audit announcement came just hours after Trump requested it.

And this just went inside politics, Democratic Congresswoman Karen Bass running for mayor of Los Angeles. The former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, announcing the move just moments ago saying this in a statement, I've spent my entire life bringing groups of people together in coalitions to solve complex problems and produce concrete change especially in times of crisis. Los Angeles is my home with my whole heart. I'm ready. Should Bass win she would be Los Angeles first woman mayor.

Thanks for joining us in Inside Politics. I hope to see you back here this time tomorrow. Don't go anywhere in the hour ahead. Ana Cabrera picks up our coverage including the President United States, Joe Biden received --


ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: Hello, I'm Ana Cabrera.