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Jordan Texted Conspiracy Theory Then Pushed To Join 1/6 Cmte; Federal Reserve Signals Multiple Rate Hikes Coming In 2022. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired December 16, 2021 - 12:30   ET



JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Did they have any advance notice there might be violence and all of that. Another piece of it is what did the Trump allies in Congress do from Election Day right up until January 6th. And in that regard, the other day, we were talking about an unknown lawmaker who texted the former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. Well, that is no more.

CNN can know confirm it was Ohio's Jim Jordan was one of the Republican Congressmen texting the Chief of Staff, then Chief of Staff Mark Meadows in the lead up to the Capitol riots. On January 5th, Jordan passed along a convoluted legal theory that Vice President Mike Pence could just declare electoral votes unconstitutional, and throw them out. It is the latest evidence detailing how before the January 6th violence, Trump allies in Congress were part of this conspiracy to ignore the election results and find ways to keep Trump in power. Committee efforts to question the senior Justice Department official also involved in that effort remain on hold Jeffrey Clark wanted then President Trump to name him acting Attorney General, and he told President Trump he could then declare the election invalid. Clark's deposition has now been postponed for a second time over medical issue. So let's bring into the room. Number one to Clark, let me come back to the counselor first, postponed for a medical issue. He's also a central witness. How long does that go on?

SHAN WU, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, there's a limit to how long you can keep postponing for a medical issue. I don't know if it's a note from his doctor or not. But I think that's only going to work for so long, unless you can really show that I mean, he's in the hospital. I mean, at some point, they're going to have to overcome that constant excuse.

KING: And so again, that's somebody in the executive branch. Roger Stone is a Trump ally outside of government. The Jordan text, we know they're a half dozen, there's some great reporting, say about this, half dozen Republican members of Congress, who essentially from Election Day, up until the violence of January 6th, were trying to do whatever they could come up with all these convoluted legalese. How important is that to the work of this Committee trying to put together the historical record.

OLIVIER KNOX, NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, THE WASHINGTON POST: It's enormously important, you know, the threat was coming from inside the House, that old trip from horror movies. I think it's enormously important. I think the other thing that we're finding out is, we've been focusing a lot about people who are appearing before the Committee to testify. But what we've seen in the last week or so is the importance of the document record, of the texts, of the memos, of the things that they put down on paper, maybe that's metaphorical. Two digital stuff, I think that's proving to be just as important.

In terms of the lawmakers, I think you're referring to "The New York Times" piece that details really it's tremendous of detailing what these guys did and how far they were willing to go. I think it's enormously important. And I think you've heard members of the Committee say we are going to -- one, we're trying to make sure this doesn't happen again. And two, we're going to take this wherever it goes implicitly, even if that means policing some of our own members. You saw in the aftermath of a couple of the Meadows texts coming out, you saw a lot of glum faces on the house, Republican side of that chamber, and it may be sinking in that some of these folks who thought they were texting the chief of staff are now going to be it's going to be revealed to --

KING: Right. Let me just read as you jump in, let me just read a line from this fantastic "New York Times" reporting, Olivier, just mentioned, a half dozen right wing members of Congress became key foot soldiers in Mr. Trump's effort to overturn the election, when Justice Department officials said they could not find evidence of widespread fraud, Mr. Trump was unconcerned just say the election was corrupt, leave the rest of me and the R. Congressman, he said, according to notes on one of the calls. So that was it, the former president, and that's why this is so important.

Number one, they hope to take power and take the majority next year, and if so, would be in the majority in the 2024 presidential election where if you had a similar situation, things could go differently in the Hill. But number two, it just gets to the fact of the octopus nature of this conspiracy. Trump was trying to work inside the government. He was harassing secretaries of state and local election officials and he had his Republican friends in Congress as a backup.

LAURA BARRON-LOPEZ, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: And there's members of the public that may ask why are reporters so diligently covering the January 6th Committee? Why is the January 6th Committee even doing what it's doing? And it's because of future elections to come? It's because of the fact that these are member -- current members of Congress, more Trump loyalists are running for key election positions, whether it's Secretaries of State, gubernatorial, you know, governorships, House and Senate races. And they are sometimes running on platform saying that they may not certify a future election if a Democrat wins, or that they wouldn't have certified the 2020 election. And that's why it's so important to find out who these members are, and that they're held accountable for what they're doing. And it's also why Democrats feel so urgent about the need to fortify the elect -- the certification process, because of the fact that in future elections to come, this could happen again with maybe success.

KING: Right. And again, in Jordan's case, remember the great irony he was among the Republicans when the Republicans briefly entertained the notion of cooperating with the Investigative Committee and joining the Investigative Committee. Jordan was one of the members they wanted on Speaker Pelosi said no. Listen to his take at the time.


REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): We know what this is about this about the Democrats attacking the President again, President Trump again like they've done for what now, five years. So we know what it's about. There's one fundamental question that I hope the actual -- the Democrats will actually answer and address and that is, why wasn't there a proper security presence that day.



KING: That's again it's a classic. It's a classic change of subject to divert attention to somewhere else. So that would have been putting him on the Committee we now know reading these texts where he was part of the effort to overturn the election like fox guarding the henhouse.

FRANCESCA CHAMBERS, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, MCCLATCHY: And now pressure is on the Department of Justice, John, whether they will prosecute any of the folks like Mark Meadows who are being held in contempt by Congress. And there is a lot of pressure on President Joe Biden also coming from Democrats to be more vocal on this issue, on the issue of democracy heading into the 2022 elections.

KING: It's a lot of TBD's, a lot of TBD's. Roger Stone tomorrow guarantees a little bit of drama, safe prediction.

Next to dramatic policy shift from the Federal Reserve, but will it help drive down decades high prices?



KING: More proof today of the labor markets recovery 206,000 Americans filed for initial unemployment benefits last week. That's up about 18,000 from last week's Labor Department report, but it is still a remarkably low, historically low number. The strong jobs market is one reason cited in a major about face from the Federal Reserve, the Fed Chairman Jerome Powell yesterday, revealing the central bank is moving up its timeline to raise interest rates and to scale back its COVID pandemic stimulus approach. The change is designed to fight inflation. Let's get the latest from CNN business reporter Matt Egan. He is here. So explain, Matt, the Feds going to raise interest rates three times next year, it moved up the timetable. Wall Street likes it. What about Main Street?

MATT EGAN, CNN BUSINESS REPORTER: Well, John, this is a major policy shift from one of the world's most powerful institutions, and it will impact virtually all Americans. To really understand it, though, we have to flashback to March of 2012, when the world was falling apart, the Fed came to the rescue with unprecedented support for the economy, it cranked up support to a 10 out of 10. And it worked. There was no financial crisis. Credit kept flowing. There were no bankruptcies, no big bank failures. And that's a big part of the reason why this recovery is so strong. But what's interesting is that the Fed is still kind of in emergency mode. Even though unemployment is low and inflation is high, policy support is still at like an eight.

Now the Fed is finally recalibrating for the reality of the moment. So as you mentioned, that means they're going to wind down the bond buying stimulus program. That makes a lot of sense, because that program is only fanning inflation, especially in the housing market. And they're penciling in three interest rate hikes for next year. Now that would impact everyday Americans because it would raise the cost of borrowing on everything from credit cards and mortgages to auto loans.

And, you know, we still see borrowing costs will be low, but they'll creep higher, the bigger impact for everyday Americans would be on the inflation front, because inflation is very hot right now. Consumer prices in November rose at the fastest pace in nearly 40 years. You can see from that chart that inflation is hot, and it's getting hotter. And it's not just gas prices. We saw record 12th month price gains in November for full service meals for tools and hardware for new cars, and staggering gains, used cars up 31 percent.

So John, if the Fed successfully teams inflation here, and that's a big if then everyday American families would see relief from all of this sticker shock, and their paychecks would go a bit further. And of course, that would be great news.

KING: One of the big gifts, one of the big questions we watch as the year end, and we start a new one. Matt Egan, appreciate the insightful reporting. Let's bring the conversation back into the room. And let's just listen to Jerome Powell. Now seeing this big change yesterday, here's a little then and now.


JEROME POWELL, CHAIRMAN, FEDERAL RESERVE: There's absolutely no sense of panic. I just -- I've explained, I think several times here today that the best -- my best estimate is that this is something that will pass, it's really a shock to the economy that will pass through. Inflation may be more persistent, and that may be putting inflation expectations under pressure. And that the risk of higher inflation becoming entrenched has increased.


KING: I mean, he was he was wrong in July, he was wrong. Inflation was not a passing fad.

BARRON-LOPEZ: And you've seen the White House change, you know their language as well, instead of saying it's transitory, which they did over the summer regularly. Now, they've, pulled back on that. And they've started to, Biden his more aggressively addressed the fact that he understands that inflation is impacting Americans, and saying that he's hearing that the public is upset about it, and that he's trying to address it with different steps, be it, you know, opening the ports more, be it what he's doing with telling the Fed to prioritize this, as well as him trying to argue that his package, again, which we talked about earlier this hour, that the social spending package, he says would address this, but that package has is going nowhere right now.

KING: And it's interesting to watch because again, when in boom times presidents probably get too much credit than they deserve. In tough times, President gets more criticism than they deserve, because some of this is out of their control. And the COVID pandemic is what is driving the economy most of all now. But if you look at our new poll from yesterday, approve of the President's handling economy 45 percent, 54 percent disapprove. That's a problem for the President and his party, whether it's in his control or not, as you head into the midterm election year,

CHAMBERS: And the White House has really struggled with the right tone to strike on the economy because they believe that they deserve credit for the good things that are happening in the economy, but they also want to make sure that they sound like they understand inflation, that they're working on doing something about this. So the White House's messaging shift has been to blame Republicans more for blocking the President's legislation that they say would address some inflation, fighting things. But as we were talking about earlier in the hour when he's facing off against Joe Manchin, even that effort to pin this on Republicans becomes more difficult for the White House.


KING: And the President now has to hope, Chairman Powell is right, and that this plan works. He has to hope that COVID over time fades a little bit. You write really smartly about this today, about this COVID frustration that takes different forms for different people, but is everywhere.

KNOX: It is.

KING: And that's affecting one of these numbers about the state of the economy. Are you worried, 75 percent say yes. Americans are worried, Americans are frustrated, Americans are tired, and again, it's different for different people depending on what they do and where they live. But it's pretty universal.

KNOX: It is. It's remarkable to see how many Americans say that they're worn out on a bipartisan basis, Republicans and Democrats about six and 10 of them say that they're worn out by the pandemic. Republicans are much more likely than Democrats to see that they're angry about the changes to their daily lives. But there is frustration to everyone. As you say, frustration vary different kinds. You have people who are frustrated by school closures and people who are frustrated by not being able to get better wages at their workplace, people who are frustrated with the fact that we still haven't beaten this deadly on there's all kinds of different frustrations.

You know, one of the interesting things I think about the Feds move today is, it's part of a much bigger attack on inflation. If you look at the way the Biden administration is trying to fix the kinks in the supply chain, that's been a huge factor because it's not just consumer demand that's driving that stuff. It's also the fact that for example, the microchip shortage means used cars and new cars are going to be a lot more expensive.

KING: Right. You saw that in our poll too. It's personal to people. They have tried to buy something whether it's a new car, whether it's something more simple, and they can't get it because it's held up in the supply chain. It's personal that's why it matters so much.

Ahead for us, the U.K. seeing a tidal wave Omicron surge and it's even forcing the Queen to cancel time our royal family tradition.



KING: The COVID case surge is global as is the debate about whether new restrictions are necessary. In Europe, the case count is nearly doubling every few days. Our correspondents from around the world are covering the new developments.

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN REPORTER: I'm Salma Abdelaziz in London where it feels like everyone is bracing for that tidal wave of Omicron. On Wednesday, the U.K. recorded the highest number of COVID cases in a single 24-hour period since the start of the pandemic. And health officials are warning that the our number for Omicron is between three to five that's why you're seeing the variant phenomenal spread across the U.K.

Now there are some social restrictions in place and health officials are expanding the country's booster program to make sure that everyone eligible gets an invitation for their third shot by the end of the year. But many people taking precautions into their own hand everyone reconsidering their Christmas plans even the Queen canceling a pre- Christmas lunch with her family out of an abundance of caution.

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Ben Wedeman in Rome where a vaccination campaign is kicked off across Italy for children between the ages of five and 11. Similar campaigns began this week in Spain, Hungary, and Greece. The children here will receive the Pfizer vaccine at about a third the strength of what adults get. As of today, 85 percent of the population of Italy, 12 years and above has received two doses, 63 percent have received a third dose.

Officials are hoping to keep the numbers under control as the holiday season begins. And the Omicron variant looms large with the government this week, extending the state of emergency that went into effect at the start of the pandemic until the end of March 2022.

MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: I'm Max Foster in London, Queen Elizabeth the Second has decided to cancel her traditional big family pre-Christmas lunch. According to Royal source, it was a precautionary decision. They felt like it would put too many people's Christmas arrangements at risk if it went ahead. They felt like it was the right thing to do. This was nothing to do with the Queen's health were told. But it did come after England's chief medical officer gave a big warning saying people should prioritize what matters to them. When considering which parties to attend over the Christmas period. Perhaps the Queen has decided to prioritize her Christmas Day with immediate family which she traditionally holds at Sandringham later on in the month. And that will be the first Christmas she has without Prince Philip since his funeral this year.

KING: Topping our political radar back home today, Melania Trump getting into the Blockchain world. Her office says she's initiating an NFT titled Melania's vision. It's a watercolor, it costs $150 and it includes an audio and video recording from the former first lady. She says the digital endeavor is part of her ongoing be best initiative and will help teach children computer science skills. It is Melania Trump's first public initiative since leaving the White House 11 months ago.

The Biden administration's new list of Ambassador candidates, guess what, it has some names, you know, among them Caroline Kennedy daughter, of course of the former President John F. Kennedy. She is in line to be ambassador to Australia. Caroline Kennedy, you might remember was ambassador to Japan, back in the Obama administration. Another big name, the former Olympic figure skater Michelle Kwan, she has been nominated to serve as ambassador to Belize. Both the positions require Senate confirmation.


Sixty-six years after getting arrested for refusing to give up her bus seat to a white person Claudette Colvin has won her case to expunge her juvenile arrest records. Montgomery County, Alabama juvenile court granted the motion and ordered her records destroyed. The 82-year-old Civil Rights pioneer was 15 when she was arrested. That happened nine months before Rosa Parks.

KING: This quick programming note on Sunday, Join Dr. Sanjay Gupta for a look at how some families with autistic kids are finding hope in cannabis and see how for some that hope comes at great risk. This new CNN special report Weed 6 Marijuana and Autism begins at 8:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific. Thanks for joining Inside Politics and don't forget you can listen to our podcast download Inside Politics wherever you get your podcast on. Ana Cabrera picks up our coverage after a quick break. Have a good day.