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Senate Passes Big Investments in Climate, Health Care; Biden: Senate Deal Filled with "Game Changers" for Americans; Big Senate Deal to let Medicare Negotiate Some Drug Prices; Senate Passes Big Investments in Climate, Health Care; New Photos could be Proof of Trump's Attempt to Destroy Presidential Records. Aired 12-12:30p ET

Aired August 08, 2022 - 12:00   ET




JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Hello and welcome to "Inside Politics". I'm John King in Washington. Thank you for sharing your day with us. The 50/50 Senate comes through for President Biden the weekend vote pushes the president tantalizingly close to giant wins on climate, on health care and on taxes, with major consequences on policy and politics.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: A whole range of things that are really game changing to ordinary folks. When you sit down that kitchen table the end of the month, is available pay a whole hell of a lot more bills.


KING: Plus disaster and death in Kentucky. Just moments ago, the President landing to survey the destruction from historic and hellish flooding, pledging the federal government will help the state recover.

And documentary evidence of a potential Trump crime; a new book captures a photo of a White House toilet get this stuffed with White House documents. Up first for us though President Biden now on the verge of a huge agenda win; the Inflation Reduction Act cleared the Senate on a party line vote yesterday Sunday and is due for a House vote this coming Friday.

The marathon weekend Senate debate included some last minute Democratic concessions; a measure to cap the cost of insulin, for example, stripped out of the final bill. And a minimum tax on large corporations was watered down. But the substance of the final product is hugely significant.

Giant first time investments in climate protections and long saw changes to how Americans pay for health care and their prescription drugs? Step back and look at the long arc and the President's legislative summer holds legacy defining power, the short term political impact well, that's TBD. Republicans say this bill is more Democratic spending. They say it is certain to aggravate inflation. Democrats say check the math that it proves the measure actually shrinks the deficit while delivering finally, a long time party promises to lower drug costs and address the climate crisis. We start the hour up on Capitol Hill with CNN's Melanie Zanona. Senate Democrats, Melanie exhausted but happy?

MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Exhausted but happy. I'm also exhausted for the record, but Democrats got it done. And just a few weeks ago, it looked like this wasn't going to even happen or that it would be a lot narrower than what they ended up getting.

But Democrats did not a significant victory here. The bill includes a historic investment in the climate, nearly $370 billion for climate and energy provisions, including electric vehicle tax credits and clean energy manufacturing. Bill supporters say that this will reduce carbon emissions by 40 percent by the year 2030. So that's huge.

Then there's the there's health care provisions in there, it would allow Medicare to negotiate some drug prices, it would also cap Medicare out of pocket costs at $2,000. And it would also extend Obamacare subsidies which were set to expire this fall.

And then finally, in order to pay for this package, and to reduce the deficit, which was a priority of Senator Joe Manchin, it includes a number of tax provisions that includes a 15 percent corporate minimum tax and a 1 percent excise tax on stock buybacks.

So now the bill heads to the House, it will get a vote on Friday, and we are not anticipating any major issues there. In fact, two key House Democrats came out and said they're going to support this bill, even though it does not include some of the tax provisions that they previously had been demanding. So despite Republicans being united in their opposition, this bill is very likely going to become law, John.

KING: Melanie Zanona kicking us off on the Hill Melanie, thank you. With me in studio to share their reporting and their insights Francesca Chambers of USA Today, Molly Ball of Time and Tarini Parti of "The Wall Street Journal".

So let's look at the bill number one, American rescue. Let's add it up. Let's add up Biden's last couple of months the American Rescue Act $1.9 trillion, the infrastructure investment $550 billion, the chips the recently passed semiconductor act $280 billion, this new inflation reduction of $700 billion.

Molly Ball, if you just close your eyes and think how many times the last few years, we said we'll come by and get anything done, can Biden get anything done? That's a lot.

MOLLY BALL, NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, TIME: It is a lot. And you think you know, there's more that the Senate has been up to recently with, you know, the burn pits legislation and NATO and the chips bill and potentially they may be on the brink of breakthroughs when it comes to the long running negotiations on gay marriage, the Electoral Count Act. So it's like we've gone from zero to 100 in the United States Senate overnight. You know, there was this long lull between those first couple of things you mentioned ARP and infrastructure last year, and then a lot of just angst and fatalism and Democrats tearing their hair out.

You know, I think as important as the legislation itself is and hope Democrats hope to help them make a case to voters for the midterms that they have previously been so pessimistic about. Just as important I think is the sort of shot in the arm it's given them psychically and the optimism you're now hearing where previously it was very much this sort of you knows hope is lost.


BALL: And although you do have, you know, Republicans saying, well, this is just going to make the problem worse. They also seem to have been caught by surprise and do not yet have a really united front in terms of how they want a message against all of this.

KING: Right and to your point about things look bleak. This is Chuck Schumer, the Senate Majority Leader saying in the end, wow!


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): It has been a long, tough and winding road. We did it without a single vote to spare. To do something with 50 votes is rough to do small things with 50 votes is rough. To pass such a major piece of legislation, with only 50 votes and intransigent Republican minority, a caucus running from Bernie Sanders to Joe Manchin wow!


KING: The process and the fact that it took 19 months for the Democrats to pass the climate and the health care provisions, they had to leave a lot of other things. The process sometimes just tracks.

But if you look at this, not only are these important policy changes, they're also long held Democratic promises to finally especially after four years of inaction under Donald Trump do something about the climate crisis. And then the prescription drug piece expanding Obamacare subsidies, these are key pieces of the Democratic agenda that tamales I think sometimes get lost in the process.

TARINI PARTI, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Yes, there are a lot of Democratic policy priorities in there. And as you know, Chuck Schumer said it was a windy path, there were a lot of twists and turns, there were a lot of dead ends, too, that Democrats then came together and worked on.

I think the problem for Democrats now is articulating what's in this package? They've struggled to do that with the infrastructure package. We've seen in polling repeatedly that the public still is not sure what was in that infrastructure package. They individually supported a lot of these policy issues that were passed, but they might not know that this package was passed, unless the Democrats really decide that they message on this effectively, that they traveled around the country and tell people this is how this is going to affect your daily life.

And one of the problems with that is that some of these provisions don't kick in for another year or two. Some of them are gradual. So, you know, the public might not feel the effects of this package as big as it might be. And so that might affect sort of their midterm thinking at a time when, of course, the economy is still the top issue. Inflation is high gas prices still fairly high. So I think that's going to be a calculation for Democrats.

KING: And how much of it is the specifics of any of these pieces of legislation we could talk about it? How much of is it Tarini's point about? You know, Democrats can now go home voters might disagree with the subs but Washington, they can go home and make the case. Washington works. Washington can get things done? Yes. It's messy. It's never a straight line. But look at these things we've done.

FRANCESCA CHAMBERS, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, USA TODAY: And Democratic Senators who are on the ballot this year, John are especially excited about the prescription drugs component of that that's something they feel like they can really show voters look, we are planning to bring down your costs.

But as Tarini was just making the point and President Biden made this point himself today is that it will take a lot longer for some of these key provisions to kick in. And if you're going to the ballot box on a promise that we're going to lower your costs we already did in a few months, it's going to be hard for voters to feel some of those things that that Democrats were hoping for.

And that is exactly why progressives told the President and told Democrats a year ago that they needed to do this side by side with the infrastructure bill. And we all know the reasons that that wasn't possible at the time. But this is what they were worrying about. Is it happening too close to the midterm elections?

KING: We have - we've seen in the past. You go back to 2010. The Obama first midterm election, the Republican strategy was just say no, just vote no. And it worked for them. The question is does it work this time? And I'm asking the context, you mentioned the prescription drug benefit in 2010 and 2014 Obamacare hurt the Democrats.

But in every election since it has helped. How health care has helped the Democrats can they take these pieces and say, look, we're doing more to help you?

BALL: Well, I think it's going to depend on the messaging number one. But the other thing that Obama - the Obamacare debate reminds me of is that summer August recess, when they got so much blowback for Obamacare, back in was it 2009 and 2010?

And so you know, now that we're in August, and all the lawmakers are going back home to their districts that the House when they get done with this, the Senators now they couldn't get out of there fast enough after passing this bill. They're going to be taking the temperature they're going to see - are you are we getting a bunch of protesters saying we don't like this, this is too big?

Are you getting a lot of happy people saying thank you for doing this? Or is it just a sort of a nothing burger. But I think that's going to be really crucial to see how this is resonating right to sort of see not only in the polls, which politicians are always looking at, but just in the sort of anecdotal sort of taking the temperature of their districts to see whether and how this is registering at all with voters.

KING: And Biden came to office saying I'm perfect for the job because I can cut deals in the Senate. Yet in this case, he stayed back. So Seung Min Kim of the AP writing this on Sunday in the second year of the presidency, some of Biden's most striking legacy defining legislative victories came about by staying out of it.

That was a deliberate approach essentially; Chuck Schumer told them let me deal with Manchin. Let me do this let's not - let's keep it clean to people.


PARTI: It was very deliberate it also, besides during the gun reform legislation that they were able to get together and pass. You know, Ron Klain signal this back in January, he told "The Wall Street Journal" then in an interview, that what they learned from their first year, was it the less they talk about the negotiations, the less they talk about, hey, Biden is calling this member of Congress or that Senator, the better it turns out for them.

Because it brings more Republicans to the table it also keeps these negotiations sort of private, and so that people can just sort of hash it out. Biden, having been a Senator knew that himself, so I think he knew when he needed to step away.

BALL: I think it's fair. It's fair to say, though, that the Biden tried and failed to close this deal, right? And if they - if they didn't want to be blamed for him not able to close the deal before, they can't take credit for him--


CHAMBERS: And the difficulty - the difficulty for the White House now is that after not wanting to talk about how the President was or wasn't involved in negotiations, whether he was or wasn't talking to Manchin is now on the back and they're trying to make sure that they get credit for this in addition to Chuck Schumer with all those things they didn't want to talk about.

KING: And they hope that this is a Washington conversation. It's a fair conversation, where the President's fingerprints are? Where they are not is a fair conversation, but they hope it doesn't matter as much out there we shall see. Up next for us, the new Democratic climate plan includes tax credits to encourage more people to look at electric cars and energy efficient homes. We'll talk next with the White House Climate Adviser; she'll explain how this new legislation might impact you?



KING: Closer look now at the landmark climate investments in this new democratic plan. $369 billion in new climate spending and the White House says the impact should help the United States cut its greenhouse gas emissions by half by the end of this decade. So how will that happen? And what does it mean for you?

Let's discuss with the White House National Climate Adviser, Gina McCarthy. Gina McCarthy grateful for your time today! $369 billion in new climate spending, that will get you a standing ovation, if you go to Davos, help me understand what does it do for the average family where I grew up in Dorchester?

GINA MCCARTHY, WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL CLIMATE ADVISER: Well John, you and I know Dorchester well. And you know what it's going to do is going to save those families who live in Dorchester money.

We are talking about opportunities here, not just for families to save money, but also to advance that job growth here can provide us stability, energy, reliability, and security. This is a way for us to expand domestic production, manufacturing in the United States, again, all the new technologies and products.

This is really quite groundbreaking. In fact, I'd call it historic, whether it's as big as 2004 for the Red Sox or not, we can debate. But this is pretty, pretty amazing opportunity for the United States to lead again in climate, but more importantly, to really serve the people here.

This is what President Biden's vision has always been. It's all about people and making sure that people benefit from every step of the way. People, labor, workers, this is what it's all about. And this is what this bill does.

KING: So let's walk through some of the particulars. $60 billion for disadvantaged areas affected by climate change, nearly $400 billion in tax credits for electric vehicles and utilities, tax credits for heat pumps, rooftop solar electric heating and heating and air conditioning conditions, water heaters, it forces oil and gas companies to pay fees for methane leaks.

Again help me get to the street here, if you know I grew up in the land of Triple Deckers you do. Do you do know Dorchester well? What happens? How do you change the electric vehicle infrastructure in a place like that? People park on the street? They don't have a garage? How do you - how does this bill change the way America looks when it comes to moving to a greener electric economy, especially in transportation? MCCARTHY: Well look, everybody, including the folks in Dorchester, need to know that every penny they spend is well spent. They're going to want to take advantage of the best appliances that are energy efficient. They're going to want to take advantage of rooftop solar.

They're going to want to know that that we're protecting them through adaptation and resilience so that they can feel that the sea is not going to encroach on them again. They're going to want to know that we're spending money in environmental justice communities.

We're talking about $60 billion here added to 60 billion in the bipartisan infrastructure law, to get to the communities left behind to tackle legacy pollution, to invest in our schools, again, to get rid of the old heavy duty diesel trucks and buses that have contaminated our air in urban areas.

But it's also for the areas that you and I haven't well-traveled, at least I haven't. It's the farming communities. This is not just about the urban areas. This is about our rural communities. They need opportunities for electric vehicles.

They need opportunities for new farming techniques. They need opportunities to make sure that they can produce our food, but also make sure that we're tackling the drought so that we can address those issues all in one. So this is an opportunity, not just for the Dorchesters of the world, but the Iowas of the world.

And we know that wind is wild in Iowa, they're capturing it. Everybody knows that clean energy is the future. The real question is who's going to build it? Who's going to produce those products? And who's going to lead the world?

This bill is telling you the answer to those three questions is the United States of America, our workers, our families are the ones that are going to benefit.

KING: As you know, these giant policy changes being considered. We're 94 days now away from a very big midterm election; the American people will decide which party controls the Congress come November?

The man who hopes to be Majority Leader in the Senate he's now the Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says this is a giveaway listen.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): Democrats have already robbed Americans families' lunch through inflation and now their solution is to rob American families. You got a second time jacking up Americans electricity bills and gas prices in order subsidy rich people buying luxury cars.


MCCONNELL: And new appliances will not make one dent in the future trajectory of global temperatures.


KING: Is he, right?

MCCARTHY: No. And my hope is he'll take a closer look at the bill, because even the clean power initiative is looking at being exclusively low and moderate income families. Because we know that folks who are wealthier will be able to afford it, we want to make sure that this bill is for everyone, and leaves no community behind.

It is called the Inflation Reduction Act for a reason. And you can go call all those Nobel Prize winner economic people instead of me, and they'll tell you that this bill is going to save our family's money all across the board.

But look, right before we talked, I mean, we were looking at some heartbreaking news in Kentucky. You know, we're looking at everywhere in the United States, and frankly, across the world being impacted by climate change.

Now is the time to make investments. And if we can do this not sacrificing, but actually building a stronger economy, increasing our workforce, as this president has done used his vision that it's about people, not the planet, then we will actually provide the kind of future for our kids that we want.

But do it today with the technologies of today in the innovations of the future. This is an exciting moment in time, John, and I don't I actually am not going to listen to anybody that dissuades me, because I've seen this. I've lived it for 30 years pushing for this bill. It is second to none, in terms of its breadth of change that it promises and will deliver.

KING: We will continue the conversation assuming the bill gets to the President's desk as these things are implemented. We'll try to keep an eye on them and keep up this conversation. Gina McCarthy grateful for your time today! As Gina noted the President is on the ground right now in Kentucky.

We will take you there when the President speaks. But next for us, flushing presidential records, new photos, yes, new photos, backup reporting you see it right there that the Trump White House documents were shredded and then tossed in the toilet?



KING: New photos revealed today reportedly showing White House documents in toilets. You see them right there. Those documents allegedly flushed by the Former President Donald Trump. These photos were obtained by Maggie Haberman of "The New York Times" and the images support earlier reporting by Maggie Haberman that the Former President often ripped up official documents that that the White House staff would then find paper clogging toilets.

Maggie Haberman is with us now. Maggie, thank you for your time! You know your first instinct you see the photos it is to laugh and its understandable reflex. However, if these documents were put in a shredder or thrown in a fireplace or disposed of some other way, it'd be the same result the destruction of presidential records.

MAGGIE HABERMAN, SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORK TIMES: That's exactly right John. When I was doing research for my upcoming book "Confidence Man" in the past year, I learned about this habit of Trump's it was not widely known of but it was known of by some in the White House that he was doing this.

And as you say, this is a violation of the Presidential Records Act, which is a Watergate Era Act, where documents created or generated by the President and given to the president are supposed to be preserved. Now, who knows what else there was? Who knows what he was doing with things?

His you know, habit of tearing up documents and not having much concern about, you know, respect for them, and preservation of them was known, but this disposal method was not and as you say, if it was a fireplace, if it was a shredder, if it was almost anything else, it would still be the same issue it you know, get - it prompts, laughs but it's actually not a funny issue.

KING: And the word habit, I think is key to it in the sense that the presidency is a stressful job. If any president did it once, in a fit of rage and disappointment or whatever I'm not saying it's OK, but maybe understandable.

HABERMAN: That's right.

KING: But in the pictures here, you have a toilet on the left, which is said to be a White House toilet, a toilet on the right, which your sources told you was during an overseas trip. This was not a one off. This was something your sources tell you the Former President did repeatedly.

HABERMAN: Correct, throughout the presidency is what sources, you know, more than one source has told me, John. And it's important to note that when I reported this back in February, Trump denied it and attacked me personally, which is part of why a source provided these photos.

For somebody to take these photos speaks to the fact that they did not find it to be normal; they did not find this to be routine procedure or as you say, a one off and as you know, there are more than one instance there.

KING: Right and is, again, you show the photos, your first instinct might be one thing but think about what's in there, shredded White House document to see - Congressman's name in the toilet on the right there. Maggie Haberman it's very important reporting and now backed up despite what the Trump and the Trump camp now, saying.

Again, this is all detailed, of course of the upcoming book, you'll certainly want to read it "Confidence Man" you see right there; the Making of Donald Trump and the breaking of America, Maggie Haberman thank you.

We're also getting more insight now into the rifts between the Former President and his generals including General Mark Milley almost resigned following this moment. You remember that moment that's the summer of 2020 when Milley among others joined the President in Lafayette Park across in the White House after--