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Biden Meets With Yellen, Powell Amid Inflation Worries; Kemp Allies Looking For A Truce With Trump; NY Gov. Makes Deal For 10 New Bills To Tighten Gun Laws. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired June 01, 2022 - 12:30   ET



SEUNG MIN KIM, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: And quickly to that point, I mean, President Biden himself was asked in Tokyo by a reporter like, should Americans be preparing for recession? And his one word answer was, no. We'll see how much, if that comes back at all in the coming months.

JOHN KING, CNN HOST: And so one of the one of the things you do see, and again, the facts are on the President's side, when he says we've created 8 million jobs that the post pandemic growth is off the charts, that the fundamentals of the economy, there are new reports today just about the number of jobs available out there. The economy, there's a lot of jobs out there.

The issue is Mark Zandi puts this smartly in "The Washington Post" today. He's the chief economist at Moody's. People are using inflation as a political cudgel, so it's just complicated people's understanding of what's going on. They're not going to feel good about anything, until inflation is back down to something that is more comfortable, because you see inflation every day when you get groceries or you pump gas.

EVA MCKEND, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER: Right, if you have this academic exercise, people coming out and trying to explain away this issue, it's going to do nothing to change the bottom line. So they can throw every single person at the White House. They can explain all of these external factors until they're exhausted. But it won't do anything to change the problem in the immediate term. And that's what people are responding to.

KING: And you see in the middle of all this, a number of reports that the President is not happy. He's mad at his staff sometimes. He's mad at the general dynamics, political environment in the country. Let's sort of like debt and taxes. These stories are -- they're inevitable. I don't even say that to be snarky, but in a tough political climate, you go back to any presidency, you see these stories. Some of them even say maybe a staff shakeups. Is that going to happen in the middle of this -- as we enter summer and a midterm election, that would be kind of admitting the problem, wouldn't it?

KIM: It would be really hard to see it before November. I mean, there have been, you know, slower, more lower level transitions that kind of make sense at this point in administration, but to the chief of staff level or his top advisors. I think that would be a terrible sign of just how antsy and worried the White House would feel if this were to happen before the election. So I think it will be a surprise but who knows.

KING: It would not be Joe Biden's DNA at least if you're looking in the rearview mirror's history. But we'll keep an eye on that.

Ahead for us, some big political news in Georgia, the Republican Governor Brian Kemp said to be interested in detente with Donald Trump. But Herschel Walker, the football star turned Republican Senate nominee, says the former president is not emphasis, is not the reason he is running.


HERSCHEL WALKER (R-GA), SENATE NOMINEE: President Trump never asked. Mad at him because he never asked but he's taking credit that he has.




KING: Donald Trump surprise central to several big legal and political dramas playing out in Georgia. Today, for example, the first meeting of that special grand jury that was impaneled in Fulton County, that's Atlanta, to investigate the former President's effort to overturn Joe Biden's 2020 Georgia win. Georgia Secretary of State and its Attorney General are on the Grand Jury witness list. And as the Grand Jury investigates 2020, Trump and his allies are at it again, now spreading bogus claims that Republican Governor Brian Kemp somehow cheated in his big primary win over a Trump-backed challenger last month.

Our great reporters are back with us. And let's start there. A former Newsmax correspondent who I believe now works for the pillow guy wrote something saying nobody in America gets 73, 70 percent of the vote, therefore, Brian Kemp had to have cheated. I just want to put up here.

These are other Georgia Republicans in the recent primary, including Trump-backed candidates there and you see an 83 percent, a 76 percent, a 74 percent for the governor. Marjorie Taylor Greene gets 70 percent, Herschel Walker gets 68 percent. And yet, somehow the brilliant people who want to allege fraud if it's somebody Donald Trump doesn't like, say that never happens. Oh, there it is.

JACKIE KUCINICH, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, these are the same people that can't explain how Donald Trump lost in some states, but Republican governors and congressmen and state officeholders were all elected the exact same year. I don't think intellectual honesty is really part of this argument.

KING: Well put.

KUCINICH: I don't think that at its root, really. KING: And so in the middle of that, if you just see, so Brian Kemp wins his primary over Senator Perdue, he wins it big. That's a loss for Donald Trump. Donald Trump wanted Brian Kemp to lose. And so you would think that Brian now and now after the election, Donald Trump and his allies in his Super PAC are saying this funny numbers. They're spreading it again. You would think Brian Kemp would just say, I don't want anything to do with you. But his political people are smart. They need Trump voters come November.

So this very smart piece by Patricia Murphy and Greg Bluestein and Tia Mitchell in "The Atlanta Journal-Constitution," few expect Trump to bury the hatchet and endorse Kemp, whom he has wrongly blamed for his defeat since 2020. But Kemp's camp is hoping for a detente that would -- could at least scale down the vitriol ahead of November matchup against Stacey Abrams. That is the, we need those voters like it or not, right?

MCKEND: Yes, they are making the political calculation that they need those Trump voters so even if Trump wants nothing to do with Kemp, Kemp recognizes that he still needs to tread lightly when it comes to Trump and his supporters. What I won't say though, is that even if Trump doesn't recognize this himself, you would think that those in his orbit are starting to advise him that there are limits to this election grievance. So this is going to cost us, right? Last year when he so doubt in the voting system in Georgia, it costs them.

KUCINICH: Yes, it shattered some Georgia Republican dreams for sure and Mitch McConnell of taking over the Senate.

MCKEND: And it could do it again.


MCKEND: So I would imagine, I would wonder at least if those in his orbit are going to say, hey, we want to win these races coming to general election. We can't continue this and expect it not to somewhat suppress turnout.


KING: Right. And to that point, if your Kemp's team you say, you know, what -- you reach out and you say, can we just stop talking Donald Trump? I mean, but is there anything in our history that says that, you know, one of this is such a personal grievance to him? It's his -- he's motivated by grievance.

Kemp was the guy who said, no, after Brad Raffensperger said, the Secretary of State and the Governor said, no, Joe Biden won the state. Sorry, we voted for you Mr. President, but Joe Biden won the state. Any likely positive -- I get the Kemp side wanting detente. Will the Trump side, give it to him?

KIM: I mean, once upon a time, Donald Trump did endorse Jack Kemp before all this transpired. But I think the best hope for --

KING: Brian Kemp. KIM: Or, yes, of a Governor Kemp, but I think what the best hope for the Kemp camp now is just for Donald Trump to kind of stay quiet. You know, you don't, you know, you don't have to blast out statements or, you know, just pick out, you know, pick out Governor Kemp every day. But maybe, you know, Republicans and others can sort of make sure he kind of stays quiet because right now the focus is on trying -- for Republicans to try to beat Democrats in November.

I do think in other contested primaries, even if they have been nasty, you've seen the Republican Party in those states kind of come together on Wednesday morning, like in Ohio or Nebraska say this is our candidate. We're going to win in November. Whether that happens in Georgia, obviously, it's important for Republicans. I don't know if they can, but certainly they hope so.

KING: And so another Trump central drama now is Herschel Walker, the former football player who's now the Republican nominee for Georgia Senate. He's going to run against Senator Warnock who won last year but has to run again because it was a shortened term. It was other senators' term. Donald Trump takes credit for Herschel Walker. He says I talked him into running. Herschel Walker says, no, he didn't.


WALKER: One thing that people don't know is President Trump never asked me and I need to tell him that he never asked. You know, I heard it all on television that he's going to ask Herschel, saying Herschel to run. President Trump never came out to Herschel, would you run for that Senate seat. Herschel run for that? He never asked. I'm mad at him because he never asked but he's taking credit that he has.


MCKEND: These guys are cut from the same cloth. That's true. So, you know, the ego is huge. I will say this, Herschel Walker could probably without the Trump endorsement have leveraged his own star power in that state done just fine in the Republican primary. I'm more interested to see what his campaign looks like now, in the general election.

He didn't participate in debates. And, you know, he is in artful and a lot of his responses on the issues doesn't seem to have a firm grasp on a lot of these issues. What does his election in general his campaign look like in the general election?

KING: And he does it with a smile there. But he's poking the bear a little bit.

KUCINICH: Well, that's the question. And, you know, the -- it doesn't seem like Trump has responded yet or Trump's representatives have responded yet. We'll have to see if they just let this one go or if he hits -- he usually hits back but this could be because they're longtime, actual longtime friends. Maybe he lets the slide. We'll have to see.

KIM: To be a fly on the wall. KING: There you go.

KIM: Indeed, Trump seen the video so.

KING: There you go.


Up next for us, New York makes a big move to tighten state gun laws. The goal is more modest here in Washington but a bipartisan group of senators say they are making some progress.


KING: Texas Governor Greg Abbott just a short while ago today asking state leaders to convene special committees to work to prevent future school shootings. In a letter to the Lieutenant Governor and the Speaker of the House, Governor Abbott writes this, we as a state must reassess the twin issues of school safety and mass violence. As leaders we must come together at this time to provide solutions to protect all Texans.

One topic on that agenda, firearm safety. Our panel of reporters back with us. This is the letter from the Governor. It talks about these, it's the Lieutenant Governor runs the State Senate, the Speaker of the House. They're very powerful men in Texas politics as -- former committee to school safety, mental health, social media, police training, and firearm safety, does not say firearm access.

KIM: It's very interesting choice of words. And we'll have to see like when the special session convenes, what exactly policies they are considering. We've seen, you know, in the immediate days, how the policy focus for most Republicans have shifted to, you know, school safety, mental health, hardening schools. You saw Mitch McConnell say precisely pretty much those words earlier this week.

But it'd be really interesting to see what they actually propose because a lot of and gun -- and proponents of gun regulations would tell you that they actually have made significant policy grounds but it's done on the state level where it's not as nationally noticed as on the federal level.

KING: You mentioned the state level where a little more than a week out from Uvalde. But we're just 10 days plus, add 10 days from Buffalo from the horrible racist supermarket massacre. The New York governor says they're going to vote on 10 new bills. He says New York already has among the toughest gun laws in the country. But some 10 new bills including raising the age to purchase a semiotic rifle to 21 requiring micro stamping technology, this is interesting on all new firearms, banning the civilian purchase of body armor and strengthening red flag laws, raising the age of something they didn't Florida after Parkland.

It is interesting, as you mentioned, we'll come to the federal conversations in a minute but you see states now there'll be people out there who agree or disagree with Governor Abbott, people out there who agree or disagree with Governor Hochul. But the states are actually moving more quickly.


MCKEND: Yes, this is where I think people who are interested in gun reform look to for some hope for some action to happen on the state level. One part of this conversation that I think is not being discussed, though, that I think might be interesting to watch, Democrats traditionally support gun control. But I wonder if progressives, all progressives are going to get on board, because a lot of these seem to come with enhanced criminal penalties. And that comes in conflict with what many progressives have fought for, for a long time for decriminalization for a look at how our system further criminalization impacts marginalized groups. So I wonder if all Democrats in these respective state legislatures are going to support all of these policies.

KUCINICH: You know, the other thing on the other side of the coin with Republicans, it'll be very interesting to see if these state, if things on a state level start getting passed with Republican support, you know, right now in Washington, it's very hard for Republicans to support increased regulations on firearms.

But if you see someone or for additional laws that would -- that have overview over firearms, but a few Republicans on the state level start making this acceptable, like someone like a Rick Scott, frankly, didn't ruin his political career, he became a Senator shortly thereafter. Whether the attitudes start to change about, you know, some of these, it is some small changes, but they're changes nonetheless.

KING: But the federal conversations, it's a small group of bipartisan senators right now. I mean, the House may pass -- the House Democrats may pass, you know, raising the age limit. The question is, can you get it through the 50-50 Senate? You mentioned Senator Scott. He's not among the bipartisan group. But he had a statement after Uvalde. That talked about his experience in Florida's governor, they talked about Parkland, where he did sign a state law that raised the age from 18 to 21.

He didn't mention that at all in his statement. He's focusing now on other school safety measures. That seems to be where they are, right? Red flag laws, maybe strengthening background checks, you know, training, school safety, not anything that would actually raise the age or restrict firearms access.

KIM: Right. And once you -- if you ask Rick Scott about this, I'm like, well, you did this when you were governor. He and many other Republicans will say, well, we strongly believe that the states themselves should decide because that's what happened in Florida. That's what New York is doing right now. We don't want to do that on a federal level. So that's why with these conversations, I know the initial reports seem promising, at least that these small conversations have been productive.

But the public should not expect anything that's anything more than kind of like going around the edges of what we can do. I think previous gun related measures that have succeeded, Republicans have been able to sell them as not enhanced regulations, but kind of better enforcement of what currently exists. So what can they come up with that they can kind of sell to their voters that's what they're doing, I don't know what that is. And we'll see in the coming days.

KUCINICH: And the longer it takes, the less likely that something is going to pass the Senate. It's just -- it's something that we've watched happen over and over again, the farther away from this event the less pressure that they --

KIM: And inertia is what kills.

KING: Inertia and time. A piece of the New York stuff is interesting this micro stamping and imprints a unique marking on the bullet casing, law enforcement can trace the make and the model much more quickly. This part because the sides are so far apart, they can't have a conversation about anything. The advances in technology and how they can be brought to bear on gun safety whether its fingerprint to fire it whether it's this micro stamping. I wish they would get in a room and talk about trying to have a conversation to reach some middle ground on using technology to maybe help a little bit but mark me down, it's skeptical given the history.


Ahead for us, shattering another glass ceiling, meet the first female officer to lead a branch of the United States military.


KING: Topping our Political Radar today, history, Admiral Linda Fagan now the first woman ever to lead a branch of the United States military. The new Commandant graduated from the Coast Guard Academy back in 1985. That was only the sixth class to include women. She rose through the ranks leading missions at sea where one of her jobs was literally breaking through ice. Today she broke the last glass ceiling.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There's no one more qualified to lead the proud women a man of the Coast Guard and she will also be the first woman to serve as Commandant of the Coast Guard, the first woman to lead any branch in United States Armed Forces and it's about time.

ADM. LINDA FAGAN, COMMANDANT, U.S. COAST GUARD: Today, we will advance the Coast Guard American needs for tomorrow. Tomorrow looks different and so we'll we.


KING: This just into CNN, United, becoming the first major airline to donate flights to ship baby formula to the United States. The White House says United will fly more than 300,000 pounds of formula starting next week from London to multiple cities across the United States. And today, President Biden is hosting a virtual roundtable to get production updates from formula manufacturers. He'd be joined on that call by the Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra and the Surgeon General Vivek Murthy.

It's been two weeks now since the Pennsylvania Senate primary in the race between Republicans, David McCormick, Dr. Mehmet Oz, still too close to call. Oz is up by fewer than 1,000 votes. The Supreme Court might make it harder for McCormick to come back. In an unrelated case, Justice Samuel Alito, temporarily blocking a lower court ruling that would allow undated ballots to be counted. McCormick was pushing for undated ballots to be counted in that Pennsylvania race. And he used that lower court's ruling as his main argument. And official recount in Pennsylvania started last week.

Thanks for your time today on INSIDE POLITICS. We'll see you back here this time tomorrow. Don't go anywhere, a very busy Newsday. Ana Cabrera picks up our coverage right now.


ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: Hello. And thank you for being with us. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York.

Will charges be brought?