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Trump Facing Unprecedented Number Of Lawsuits And Investigations; Top Democrats "Cautiously Warming" To Biden Running Again; Inflation, Crime, Border, Dominate GOP Midterm Messaging; House Republicans Roll Out Their "Commitment To America"; January 6th Committee To Hold Next Public Hearing This Week. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired September 25, 2022 - 08:00   ET





MANU RAJU, CNN HOST (voice-over): Trump's legal peril grows.

LETITIA JAMES, NEW YORK ATTORNEY GENERAL: Claiming you have money that you do not have does not amount to the art of the deal. It's the art of the steal.

RAJU: And the ex-president is lashing out.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The racist attorney general of New York state, she deserves to be removed from office and banished from the legal profession forever.

RAJU: Could a string of courtroom setbacks Jeopardize Trump's dominance over his party?

Plus, Republicans want election to focus on abortion.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): Republicans want to criminalize women's health care.

RAJU: The GOP wants it on inflation and immigration.

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R), FLORIDA: Biden can't defend his policies of open borders. Nobody can't deny that there's a crisis.

RAJU: With early voting this weekend which issues will decide the election?

And Biden 2024?

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My dad used to have an expression. Don't compare me to the Almighty. Compare me to the alternative.

RAJU: Brand new CNN reporting that once skeptical Democrats are coming around to the idea? INSIDE POLITICS, the biggest stories sourced by the best reporters,



RAJU (on camera): Welcome to INSIDE POLITICS SUNDAY. I'm Manu Raju, in for Abby Phillip.

A tightening web of investigations into former President Trump's conduct is growing even tighter, as the former president is dealt two significant legal blows. On Wednesday, New York Attorney General Letitia James unveiled a staggering 200-page lawsuit. It alleges Trump's business empire was built on years of grift and fraud.


JAMES: Claiming you have money that you do not have does not amount to the art of the deal. It's the art of the steal. And there cannot be different rules for people in this country or this state.


RAJU: Now, the former president had choice words for the attorney general and her suit at a rally in North Carolina on Friday night.


TRUMP: There's no better example of the left's chilling obsession than the baseless, abusive and depraved lawsuit against me, my family, my company by the racist attorney general of New York state, Letitia Peek-a-boo James.


RAJU: And also this week, a federal appeals court ruled against the former president, allowing the Justice Department to continue to investigate the classified documents that were seized from Mar-a-Lago.

Now, just before that ruling, the former President Trump made, well, an interesting claim.


TRUMP: If you're the president of the United States, you can declassify just by saying it's declassified even by thinking it, because you're sending it to Mar-a-Lago or to wherever you're sending it, and it doesn't have to be a process.


RAJU: So here are to discuss all of this is CNN's Melanie Zanona, Jonathan Martin of "The New York Times", Zolan Kanno-Youngs, also "The New York Times", and Molly Ball of "Time Magazine".

So, Jonathan, declassifying documents just by thinking about it, probably nothing -- the former president probably has never said something like that, or suggested something like that in the past, but his legal woes are really mounting here. How much worries are in the Trump's world?

JONATHAN MARTIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I'm interested to see if his lawyers in court actually present the claim that he declassified.

RAJU: By thinking about it.

MARTIN: Or at all, right? Because this special master demanded to know if that's the case and Trump said it repeatedly in interviews and on his social media, but no, probably they'd not put that in open court yet.

RAJU: Yeah.

MARTIN: It is I think significant.

RAJU: Yeah, it is one of a number of issues he is facing and Republicans dealing with these questions as well. I put the question to a number of Republican senators last week about the president's claims about declassification, whether the fact that he claimed there's no process of doing that. They didn't quite agree.


SEN. JOHN THUNE (R-SD): I think there's a process for declassifying documents and, you know, I think ought to be adhered to and followed.

SEN. THOM TILLIS (R-NC): I believe there's a formal process that needs to go through -- that needs to be gone through and documented.

SEN. MIKE ROUNDS (R-SD): I think anyone who takes the time to appropriately protect that information and who has taken the time to see what's in the information would have serious concerns about how items could be accessed if they're not stored properly.


MARTIN: The subtext here of what all those senators are saying, Manu, it's September 2022, man, you're still asking me about Donald Trump controversy. That's -- I'm not totally joking. This is the larger story.

RAJU: Yeah.

MARTIN: The elites of the Republican Party cannot believe they have to answer questions about the former president, that he is a central factor in the midterms of 2022, but here we are.


RAJU: Yeah, look, in 2016 they thought they would be done with that.

MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL CORRESPONDENT: Right. And Republicans have really twisted themselves into knots trying to defend Trump but that has become increasingly harder to do with more information, when Trump says I can declassify with my mind and it is not just the classification issues but he had the documents. Even if they're declassified, which there's no evidence that's the case, he's not allowed to him in his possession.

ZOLAN KANNO-YOUNGS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: And the more they talk about this, the less they can also talk about the economy, the less they can also talk about some of the burdens that Americans are facing, which is where Republicans would like the focus to be here.

The classification argument, I want to go back to a point you made about court. Just to repeat that, you can have as many arguments made on Truth Social as you want, but there's the subtext, the context around Trump's legal team not bringing this up in court is lying is a crime in court as well. So, it is - it is something to watch for if they avoid that topic in the court.

RAJU: Yeah, I mean, that's the -- also the issue of planting evidence. The special master asked them to provide evidence that the FBI may have planted this evidence, is that the argument they're really actually making and they have given the Trump legal team until Friday to respond. So, they have to put this in writing if they actually appeal.

MOLLY BALL, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: That's right. Well, the appeals court in rejecting some of these claims also said straight out the declassification argument is a sideshow, it's a red herring is what they said, because it really does hinge on possession. It's really is about who's documents they are because according to the government and on a lot of case law, they aren't his document, they weren't his to take and that's really what this case hinges on.

But he does seem to insist on, you know, digging himself deeper and deeper and the outlandish of the argument that he's making. I mean, this is sort of new frontiers in the unitary executive, right?

RAJU: Right.

BALL: But -- and a pretty stark illustration of the rule of law, right? I mean, the idea of a leader to imagine things and they become law that with all due respect to the late Queen Elizabeth is sort of what we fought the revolutionary war to get away from, you know? So, yes, I think it's causing Republicans heartburn to have Trump continue to be in the news and deep himself deeper both legally and I think in the court of public opinion.

RAJU: And, politically, the question is the impact that it's had on him especially the standing in the Republican Party has impacted the likely run in 2024. Will he certainly be the prohibitive front runner if he decides to run? Just remember what he said back in 2016 in Sioux Falls, Idaho.


TRUMP: The people -- my people are so smart. And, you know what else they say about my people, the polls. They say I have the most loyal people, did you ever see that? Where I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose any voters, OK? That's like incredible.


MARTIN: Talking about reading stage direction there.

RAJU: I mean, look, there's a new Washington Post/ABC poll --

MARTIN: The Sioux center doctrine we'll call it.

RAJU: That's right. Forty-seven percent of Republicans say he should be the 2024 nominee, 46 percent say he shouldn't. Forty-seven percent is more than most Republicans get. He still has significant sway in his party despite all these issues.

KANNO-YOUNGS: No, it's absolutely true. And, look, each time you're going to see a press conference from the New York attorney general, you can probably guarantee to see emails go out as well to tap into fundraising as well and trying to seize on this and claim it's a witch hunt, which, of course, there's no evidence of.

ZANONA: He has maintained support within the base, in some cases, not in spite of all these legal issues, but almost because of them. They really see this as him as being targeted. He plays the victim card very well.

But I will tell, Manu, you know this, too, from talking to Republicans on Capitol Hill, there is a lot of uneasiness about where this is all heading. They're nervous about the idea of him becoming the nominee and then being indicted.

And one another point I would make is that I think after the November elections, if some Trump backed candidates fail, there's going to be conversations in the Republican about whether they can support him.

RAJU: You know, one of the reasons why some of the Republicans are uneasy and nervous about things that they're seeing, including a Trump rally, listen to the music that was played on Friday night.


TRUMP: But now we are in a nation in decline. We are a failing nation. We are a nation whose once revered airports are dirty and a crowded mess. Where you sit and wait for hours and then notified the plane won't leave and they have no idea when it will.

We will never give up and we will never, ever, ever, ever back down.


RAJU: And the reason why that music has caused some alarms is because it's associated with the fringe conspiracy movement QAnon which, of course, the FBI is concerned about and the Trump team said there is nothing to do with that. But this is the second time in a row and essentially a dog whistle to the conspiracy theorists.

[08:10:00] BALL: He has really leaned into it. He has been retruthing a lot of Q memes and not being very subtle about it. Previously, he sort of tried to skirt around the edges of this thing.

You know, Mel is exactly right, the minute the midterms are over, 2024 begins in earnest and by inserting himself in the forefront of the political discourse, as Trump, you know, sort of can't resist doing, he is making the midterms a referendum on himself and if the more Trump associated candidates fall short, he's going to be blamed and a lot of questions what that means for him politically.

RAJU: You know, it's interesting how, you know, he was going to announce that he was going to run for president before the end of the midterms, it looks like he's not going to do that now. So, maybe there's recognition that he could be a liability by inserting himself in here late.

ZANONA: I talked to Kellyanne Conway. She was in Capitol this week. She was a former Trump adviser, GOP pollster, and she said she is encouraging not to announce because the midterms because he will get the blame if things go sour.

MARTIN: Well, and it was notable this week that there's a new offshoot of a Trump PACs who's trying to get set up before the midterms to direct some of his money that he has lots of it toward I think given for and not been doing a lot with midterm candidates, which he's not doing a lot of, which clearly is an effort to track, at least mitigate blame that he's surely going to get if his handpicked candidates don't get the nomination.

RAJU: And I'm going to make a prediction. If his handpicked candidates don't win, he is not going to take blame. Just a wild guess here.

OK. So, up next for us, new reporting from CNN revealing who Democrats think should be on the top of the 2024 ticket.



RAJU: Do Democrats want Biden on the ballot in 2024? The mood inside the party is shifting to yes. Now, according to new reporting from CNN, quote, many Democratic leaders, operatives and officials are cautiously warming to the idea of President Joe Biden running for re- election in 2024. That's according to dozens of high ranking Democrats.

But just that many voters and donors -- like many voters and donors they are not sure he should do it or that he will.

Now, last Sunday on "60 Minutes", Biden himself weighed in.


BIDEN: Look. My intention as I said to began with is to run again. Is it a firm decision that I'll run again? That remains to be seen. (END VIDEO CLIP)

RAJU: CNN's Isaac Dovere joins the panel. He's sharing this new reporting.

So, what does cautiously warming to the idea mean?

ISAAC DOVERE, CNN SENIOR REPORTER: Things are going better for Joe Biden, things are going better for Democrats. They're in a better mood than they were a couple of months ago.

And they're starting to think, hey, maybe there's a case for Joe Biden to make and not a complete disaster for Democrats to think about not only the midterms for 2024, and that Joe Biden can say especially against Trump where maybe that's where we're headed, that he can say, look what I did and look what Trump did and the contrast and the strongest argument there could be for reelecting Joe Biden.

RAJU: Based on the reporting what is the biggest factor? Who is playing a key role in that decision making?

DOVERE: Look, part of going on in that response that you played from "60 Minutes" is being careful with the FEC laws of not declaring a candidacy yet. But part of it also that he is aware that he is older, older than any president ever already, that he would be turning 82 just two weeks after Election Day 2024.

And he is also got to think about where his family is, especially his wife Jill Biden who is a key factor in this. The reporting -- I reported on it in 2015 and 2016, Jill Biden was not convinced in 2015. He didn't run. Jill Biden was in favor from running in 2019 and he got into the race then. So, where she lands on this decision is going to be incredibly important.

RAJU: Yeah, the biggest X-factor and he's going to make that -- discuss this over the holidays. People are saying, we'll see what he decides to say.

But look approval numbers in the last several weeks here. This is a CNN poll of polls, an average. You see an uptick from 36 to 43 percent. So, I guess it makes some why elected officials are warming to the idea.

KANNO-YOUNGS: Well, gas prices will also help with that, and declining gas prices as well.

RAJU: He's still underwater just to be clear, not great numbers but improving.

KANNO-YOUNGS: No, absolutely. But it is emblematic of the changing momentum with the Democratic Party in general. The summer helped for him passing a series of bills especially on the climate investments will help.

But also, let's be clear, this is all coming at a time where Democrats are also seizing on the Roe decision and this is a decision that impacts a huge number of voters, the health of many Americans. And you can see the White House, as well Democrats on the Hill turning to that issue, basically saying -- trying to make the midterms, as well as future elections really not just a referendum on the Biden presidency but what the Democrats are proposing.

RAJU: And, look, even as some of the elected officials maybe warming to the idea of a possible Biden 2024 run, the voters don't seem to agree, 35 percent of Democrats say he should be nominated again, just 35 percent, 56 percent say no. So there's a -- pretty clear what they think.


BALL: That's pretty significant, but then again, I think the question as with Trump is, who else is out there? Who is there who could make the case to the 56 percent looking for an alternative that would like to see someone else step into the fray? And yet it is obviously a delicate question with the Democratic base who's willing to step in and take him on if anyone from his own party given that he is an incumbent president? So, I think that chatter is also going to heat up as soon the midterms are over.

And, you know, we've just been talking about how these midterms a referendum on Trump's continuing influence in the Republican Party. And Republicans are going to look at how they turned out for evidence of Trump's continuing political appeal or lack thereof.

Same thing with Biden and the Democratic Party, these midterms are going to be a referendum on Biden to some extent. If they go better that looks better for Biden and a case to stay on the ticket, if they don't go well, that's going to be bad for him.

MARTIN: Two things. One thing I found striking in this story, Isaac, was a reference to elected Democrats who are biting the tongues right now. I think that after the midterms, we'll see a more candid assessment from the leadership of the Democratic Party, members of Congress, governors and such, in terms of what they want Biden to do. I think now they are being reluctant with the midterms are upon us.

The other thing is the Democratic Party had an internal culture almost reflective of the GOP used to be with a penalty for stepping out of line. Look, when Dean Phillips from Minnesota, the congressman, said Biden shouldn't run again, he got blowback at home and certainly online, because there's this idea that if you criticize the leader of the party, you criticize the party and so different than politics elsewhere in the world, where the sort of care about the party, not the certainly the leader at the moment of the party, right?

RAJU: Yeah.

MARTIN: But it is a penalty, this perceived penalty for criticizing the leader of the party that I think helps Biden and constrain the possibility of silence. But I wonder as the midterms, is there a permission to start saying, look, he's 80, 81 years old, guys, let's get serous about this. And if that ice cracks, is that then will change? RAJU: What's interesting is just, you know, in talking to a lot of

Democrats about this, what I hear back, and what you heard back, and a lot of us do, we hear back is they don't say yes he should run. They say, if he runs, I will support him. That's what Chuck Schumer said and Dick Durbin. They don't want to say that, in part because what you say, ahead of the midterms.

I do want to ask you what would come next if Biden decided not to run. It would be a mess. You were up in New Hampshire last night. Pete Buttigieg was there. What do you make of that?

DOVERE: Listen, Pete Buttigieg came in second in the New Hampshire primary in '20 but the poll showed he would come in first over Joe Biden and Kamala Harris and other potential candidate. If Biden is not running, there would be -- I don't know if it's a field quite as large as the 27 Democrats who ran in 2020 but it would be a lot of people, a lot of big names. It could have multiple people within the Biden administration. Buttigieg, Harris, maybe more than that.

RAJU: Yeah.

KANNO-YOUNGS: Really does bring up the questions of not just the administration but Kamala HGarris, too, and the vice president who when she was brought in was the heir.

RAJU: That would be -- she would not be a prohibitive front-runner. She will have to fight for that.

MARTIN: Keep her in the weeds. Will New Hampshire even be an early state?

RAJU: There we go!

MARTIN: That's going to be revealing to Biden and the choice is. If they change the calendar to benefit Joe Biden, we'll know it.

DOVERE: New Hampshire not okay for him.

RAJU: We will certainly, I assume, be discussing that more in the months ahead.

Now, coming up, Republicans want to keep the focus on border security and crime, but a new abortion ban in the big swing state may complicate that effort.



RAJU: Early voting has begun in four states and Republicans are working to keep inflation and crime at the forefront of minds. But a Friday ruling could complicate that. In an Arizona court a century-old abortion ban, making it just the latest state to annex strict anti- abortion legislation. Could it energize Democratic voters? Is this ruling significant?

Democrats want to be talking about abortion into the midterms. They think it could help them.

BALL: Well, part of why Democrats are so confident in the abortion issue is because they know that it's going to keep happening. This isn't something that you pass a piece of legislation and then done and people stop talking about it.

There's going to continue to be -- you know, there are court fights in multiple states over laws like this one. Ballot initiatives in multiple states on the issue and will continue to sadly be horror stories of women trying to access abortion and being denied because of laws and the uncertainty in the medical system.


And so this is not an issue that is going to go out of the headlines any time soon regardless of what Democrats or Republicans say about it. It just is a live issue in so many places because of the Supreme Court ruling.

RAJU: Yes. And because of so much uncertainty. But Republicans are very clear on what they would rather be talking about.


SENATOR MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), SENATE MINORITY LEADER: I think it is clear that regardless of what we may be debating here in the Senate the American people are focused mostly on inflation, the crime wave that's affecting the entire country, and the open borders.


RAJU: That's where they want this midterm focus. And the challenge -- can they keep that focus there?

ZANONA: Right. I mean we obviously saw them talking a lot about inflation and gas prices. Increasingly, they are leaning in to crime and the border as things have improved a little bit in the economy. That is still a huge part of their message. But they really do feel like in some of these districts they can make it about crime and border and be effective.

They saw in the previous election how those defund the police attacks of Democrats really proved potent. And so they're trying to replicate that success.

The thing is Democrats not only are talking about abortion but they're trying to go on better offense to preempt some of those attacks. They just passed a package of policing bills in the House even though they're going nowhere. So it will be interesting to see how these issues play out in different races.

RAJU: Do you think it overcomes the abortion issue, immigration, crime?

MARTIN: I think it depends where we're talking, what state we're in on the state. I think it's going to vary place to place. Look, you know, there are some localities, some states that have been

hit harder by inflation, you know, a place like Nevada. Molly, you are very familiar with which is obviously very tourism dependent and it's a kind of place where economic disruption could have a really jarring effect.

On the (INAUDIBLE) side, I think it varies. Look. It is challenging though because I think, Zolan (ph) mentioned gas prices --

RAJU: Right.

MARTIN: -- that's such a psychological issue. It's such the biggest reminder of inflation and when you just see a steady decline in gas prices, it does sort of lose some of the salience there.


KANNO-YOUNGS: This is the sub text behind, you know, for example, the flights that we have been seeing. Texas Governor Greg Abbott as well as DeSantis in Florida, basically flying migrants, dropping them off in Democratic led cities.

Sub text around this, the context is Republicans trying to basically seize on border crossings and illegal crossings to try and portray the Democratic Party as one that is not backing law and order, right. That does not have a plan on immigration.

And look, that is reflected by the anxiety that's also in the White House over the issue of immigration. We've reported that senior White House officials, including the chief of staff, has voiced to the staff as well, saying the border is a vulnerability for us going into the midterms as well.

The Biden administration, we've reported that, Democrats and White House officials have consistently as well, debated not just how fast to unwind Trump era border policies but what to replace them with.

That's not just because of the obviously challenge at the border, the fact it doesn't attack actual vulnerable families and human lives. But also because of the awareness that this issue is a political vulnerability.

RAJU: It's interesting because you know, when hear the Democratic messaging on immigration, they sort of dismiss it. The White House has not -- Joe Biden has not been to the border --

MARTIN: Right.

RAJU: -- since becoming president. They said that he did it on the campaign trail in 2008 when he was running. That's what the White House said.

They've downplayed this issue but they have taken crime and law and order very seriously on the campaign trail.

Just take a look at the Wisconsin senate races as (INAUDIBLE) on the issue of crime.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The driver who hit Samantha should have been in jail. Mandela Barnes supports no cash bail. It put criminals like Gerald Brooks (ph) back on the streets. He is more worried about criminals than victims.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mandela doesn't want to defund the police. He's very supportive of law enforcement and know his objective is to make every community in the state of Wisconsin better.


RAJU: And we did some reporting on this last week about all the Democratic candidates issuing -- putting ads out on the issue crime. Democrats in the house passed a bill to fund police, rebut these attacks. They're taking this issue much more seriously. The question is what do voters think?

ZANONA: Clearly, they're taking it seriously as a very carefully orchestrated strategy among Democrats right now. What's interesting to me is how Democrats are taking on this issue that they're being attacked (ph) on head on.

Republicans have run away from the abortion issue. They won't talk about it. You know, they try to avoid it at all cost. I do wonder if there's a risk there for them. There are some people in the party who say we should go on offense and we should try to make Democrats about which -- do you support restricting abortion?

MARTIN: One of the biggest challenges the Democrats have with Joe Biden is that he cannot drive a consistent message. He's never been able to in his career. And this is a prime example, right.


MARTIN: A couple of weeks ago he goes to Pennsylvania and talks about how can Republicans attack the FBI, be apologists for January 6 but at the same time try to be tough on crime.

Why isn't he driving that message week in, week out? If Democrats want to both get Trump back in the conversation of the midterms and deflect the crime attack what better way to do that?

RAJU: Yes. And look, it's a question too --

MARTIN: Where is that drumbeat. They just don't do it. Biden can't drive it.


RAJU: And we have not seen him also on the campaign trail very much. Will see how much he is in the final weeks of the campaign. Will he go to swing states? But next, we'll talk about Republicans. They introduced their quote,

"commitment to America". You can find it on Twitter, Facebook, and the GOP Web site. A very different media strategy from Newt Gingrich's contract with America 28 years ago.


NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: We believe in this contract and these reforms so deeply that we have not only put them in writing today but that they will be in a full page ad in TV Guide.




RAJU: House Republicans say they have a plan to make your life better. They're calling the "commitment to America".


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA), MINORITY LEADER): We can secure our border. We could become energy independent where your price of gas is lower. We can build an education system that has a parents' bill of rights that you have a say in the kids' education.


RAJU: It also includes battling inflation, fighting crime and confronting China. But it does not have many details about how they'll do any of that. They have been more specific about who they'll investigate than how they'll legislate if they're in control.


REP. JAMES COMER (R-KY): We must (INAUDIBLE) on the Biden family's international business schemes.

REP. PAT FALLON (R-TX): Joe Biden was also -- he also attended a dinner with Hunter Biden's business associates from the Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Russia.

REP. BYRON DONALDS (R-FL): Hunter Biden has been heavily involved in the 2016 sale of a cobalt mine in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

REP. CLAY HIGGINS (R-LA): We're absolutely going to look into this stuff. We're going to reveal it for the American people.


RAJU: We have been told that they're actually going to bring Hunter Biden to come testify in a Republican majority but look at what else they plan to investigate. Hunter Biden, how the FBI conducted the Mar- a-Lago search, COVID policies, Anthony Fauci big target and Afghanistan withdrawal, the massive withdrawal from Afghanistan, Biden's border policies, Capitol security ahead of January 6. Not anything the January 6th Committee is looking at, the committee members themselves, and the Mueller Russia probe.

ZANONA: Just a few things.

RAJU: Just a few things. It's going to be pretty aggressive investigative action.

ZANONA: Yes. You know, I was in Pittsburgh for the rollout of this GOP agenda. It's nice talking points for Republicans. That was sort of the goal here, to give candidates a platform to run on.

But the reality is, if they do win the majority it is going to be all messaging bills and a lot of investigations, also a lot of government funding fights that's going to be another point of contention.

But the big question looming over this majority of a GOP house would be do they launch impeachment proceedings?

RAJU: Yes, that's it.

ZANONA: Either Biden or cabinet.

RAJU: And that's the big question. There have been nine impeachment resolutions to impeach Biden this year. Just take a look, at some of them. Why they have been introduced, on what grounds? Failing to secure the border, the eviction moratorium, the withdrawal from Afghanistan, and quote, "enabling bribery as a vice president's oil and the strategic petroleum reserves, selling the oil to other countries.

A lot of -- there's going to be enormous pressure on McCarthy to do this. Can he withstand any of that pressure. Or does he cave pretty early?

MARTIN: This is going to be the story of Kevin McCarthy's speakership if he does become speaker is how he's going to try to balance sort of broader appeals with the demands of the party base. And those demands of the party base are reflected in a lot of his conference which is much more than the Senate sort of reflects, sort of hard line rank and file of where the GOP is today.

Look, impeachment used to be a nuclear weapon. It is increasingly becoming a conventional weapon now where it's less about driving a president from office and I think we're going to see here next year is more about trying to hold a president in your view accountable and respond to the expectations of your base.

Look, the fact is a lot of this is driven by the conservative media silos that the primary voters who vote for a lot of these people in the house live in, right.

And they live in a world where Hunter Biden's accountability and that sort of thing is a dominant issue, more than traditional issues themselves as in policy. RAJU: Yes. And it reminds me of when Pelosi cam in as speaker, she got

pressure from the left flank to launch impeachment proceedings. She was very dead set against it until ultimately going forward on the issue of how the Ukraine money was not given at the time and the pressure to launch an investigation into Joe Biden.

But it is going to be pressure from the right flank. You talked to Marjorie Taylor Greene in a profile earlier. She is of course, a conservative, controversial congresswoman. She said to you Molly, she said, I would say my support is very important. Talking about Kevin McCarthy. I think I may have some influence. Probably if margins are narrow it would be a strategic key. So she was talking about how much power she would have over Speaker McCarthy.

BALL: Yes. And the reason that McCarthy has been successful in keeping his conference united so far is that he has listened to people like Marjorie Taylor Greene and he has been very intentional and careful about bringing them into the tent instead of being at odds with them. And so you saw her in that announcement event presenting the agenda, she's right there behind him. She's bought in on all this. And she's been a part of those conversations.

So that's for him now because it prevents him from being criticized like someone who has no problem criticizing a Kevin McCarthy when she feels like he's not being responsive to the voters that she believes she represents on the far right.


BALL: But then what does that mean when and if Republicans win the majority? It means that she has a lot of leverage. As you were saying, she's very well aware the narrower the Republican majority is the more leverage she has and she believes that she controls a fair amount of votes in that conference. She has friends.

RAJU: Yes. Named Donald Trump.


BALL: Particularly Donald Trump and the sort of MAGA squad in the house Republican conference. She is very, very popular with the Republican base.

RAJU: It was -- you showed that, we showed that image on the screen from the event on Friday where she was --


RAJU: -- sitting right over his shoulder. They really practice, plan for the optics. So this was not an accident that to put her there. What did you make of that?

ZANONA: Well, Kevin McCarthy also invited her to a border trip. He has promised to give her committee assignments. To Molly's point, it's very clear, he's trying to bring these members into the fold. Now, we should say Marjory Taylor Greene, she's not influential, she

doesn't have committee assignments. She is a back bencher freshman member of Congress. So she's not influential in that sense.

She said a number of racist controversial things that the party has had to answer for. But because she's part of this group of Trump loyalists, it's a narrow -- the margins are narrow, they could force McCarthy --

RAJU: And this is -- this is why that the Republicans spent so much money to kind of pad their potential majority because of the effort to sort of neutralize that wing but we're seeing polling suggest maybe it won't be as big, maybe they won't get it. We'll see.

So much, still to come in the two months ahead. But next for us, the January 6 committee is back with another public hearing this week. What bombshells can we expect? Details coming up.



RAJU: The January 6th Committee will hold what could be its last public hearing this week. The committee members said they've gotten new information. So will they reveal it?

Here is what committee member Congressman Jamie Raskin had to say about that.


REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): You don't know finally what, you know, what the soup is going to taste like until we get there. So I don't want to say, but I promise you it will be interesting for people who followed it up until now.


RAJU: And he wasn't any clearer when I tracked him down at the Capitol on Thursday.


RAJU: Is there actually going to be significant new information in this hearing?

RASKIN: I mean I suppose that will be in the eye of the beholder.


RAJU: In the eye of the beholder. I mean this is a different tone that we've heard in the past hearings in which they have promised significant new information. They're not saying that here. Now we do expect some information about the Secret Service, how they dealt with the runup to January 5th and January 6th. What they were saying behind the scenes, the deleted text messages. But what else do you expect? ZANONA: Well, first of all, I'll say we are in a very different world

than the last time we had a hearing. The Mar-a-Lago search happened since the last hearing. There is a lot of other investigations that are heating up, sucking up a lot oxygen so that perhaps is the reason why Raskin is trying to underplay instead of overplay what they have.

But we do know what they were up to over the August recess. They were interviewing cabinet members, talking about 25th Amendment conversations. They've been looking at Secret Service missing text messages. We also haven't heard them present about the money trail which we also know they've been looking into. So all of that could come up.

RAJU: Yes. And we'll see. This could be the last one before they issue a report. They're working in a different environment and what is interesting too. This could be one of the last times we see Liz Cheney in this moment and she of course, has been taking a front role, front seat in this investigation.

She's been very prominent in these hearings. She lost her primary. She's no longer going to be a member of Congress. This is what she said yesterday.


REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): I'm going to make sure Donald Trump doesn't -- going to make sure he's not the nominee. And if he is the nominee, I won't be a Republican.



RAJU: Will that make a difference?

MARTIN: I think that sort of formalizes when we kind of suspected I think that if Trump still controls the party that she's not going to be part of that party. And I do feel like she's not alone in that sense.

I think if Trump does take back the nomination and obviously, becomes president again, I think it's going to make a lot of people in the Republican Party who for awhile have been sort of operating under the impression of it will just go away eventually and I can stay Republican. They're going to have to rethink that strategy if Trump is a nominee and certainly if he's president again in 2025.

KANNO-YOUNGS: It's not only this hearing obviously it stands (ph) for someone like Congresswoman Cheney to come out and continue to try and criticize the Trump administration and their actions on January 6th and attempt for accountability.

But I thought it was interesting, Chairman Bennie Thompson also said look, we're going to try to reach people in the middle here. You hear right there as well Jamie Raskin saying it will be interested for those who have follow the hearings thus far. Will you be able to pull in additional people who have not followed

the hearings thus far and also inform them both on the security flaws as well as the decisions made that, you know, preceded the attack on the Capitol at this point?

RAJU: This is a completely different political environment that we saw in the summer when they dominated the complete attention of the media. And this is -- we're two months away from the midterms. We had the Mar-a-Lago investigation happening and DOJ investigation. We have the Trump lawsuit. This is going to be difficult in a lot of ways for them to breakthrough.

BALL: That's right. And it's an afternoon hearing. It's not a prime time hearing like the last one was. You know, they were so intentional in the hearings up to now about really sort of building a narrative arc, chapter by chapter in a very intentional way so each sort of -- each hearing had a discreet topic and built on the last one and the final prime time hearing that they held before the recess was very much -- felt like a sort of capstone, a summary, you know, complete with that sort of final statement by Congresswoman Cheney summing everything up.

So is this going to feel like they're sort of mopping up loose ends? Is it going to feel sort of scattered by that like that. Or is it going to be yet another attempt to sort of sum everything up, bring it together and make the case to the American people in which case, I think it is going to feel like a bit more of a political statement but we don't know what new stuff they've gathered. And I think they have earned a fair amount of credibility.


RAJU: Yes. And look, they have interviewed more than a thousand witnesses. They have so many documents. There will be some new information. We'll see how they present it. A lot to watch this coming week.

That's it for us for this INSIDE POLITICS SUNDAY.

Up next, "STATE OF THE UNION" with Jake Tapper and Dana Bash. Jake's guests include the new British Prime Minister, Liz Truss. And tonight, he's talking to some of the biggest names including former Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.

Catch the premiere of "WHO IS TALKING TO CHRIS WALLACE" tonight at 7:00 on CNN.

Thanks again for sharing your Sunday morning with us. See you next time.