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House GOP Looks To Impeach DHS Chief Over Problems At The Border; 24 Children Among At Least 36 Dead In Thailand Nursery Rampage; Biden Defends Saudi Trip As OPEC Plus Cuts Oil Output. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired October 06, 2022 - 12:30   ET



JOHN KING, CNN HOST: He is according to this reporting the GOP's number one target. Our chief congressional correspondent Manu Raju joins our conversation. I just want to put up here, why would you impeach Secretary Mayorkas. So some say he has failed to maintain operational control of the border, make that argument, is that impeachable? He's accused of blocking stringent border controls, including Donald Trump's wall. Again, that's a policy difference with House Republicans. How does that a high crime and misdemeanor? Congressman Chip Roy though does say he believes Mayorkas lied to him under oath, and you talked to him about this, let's listen.


REP. CHIP ROY (R-TX): It is because I believe that he lied to me under oath, I believe that he has been denying the reality of the border purposely. And as a result, Americans have died, migrants have died. But you know, impeachment cases are things you build, you build and make your case. And I think we ought to have those conversations.

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What about Biden, there's been some talk about impeaching Biden, how do you feel about that?

ROY: That's a much bigger political question.


KING: Let's leave Biden aside for a minute. If you could prove somebody lied to you under oath, OK, let's have the conversation about high crimes and misdemeanors. What, what is Chip Roy say was a lie?

RAJU: I mean, this is the way he discussed how the administration has handled the border and their decisions that they've made to deal with the border. And really, it's about maintaining operational control over the border. And the administration defends what they have done at the border. That is not what the view of the House Republicans is. And the debate within the conference right now is does what the administration has and has not done, has that risen to the bar of high crimes and misdemeanors. This has nothing to take lightly here, John, only one time in American history, has a cabinet secretary been impeached by the House because of the fact that it is high crime and misdemeanor and there is serious discussion happening within the Republican conference right now, not just among the right flank, which how widely supports this idea, who as a result of very influential within the conference, but also people who are close to Kevin McCarthy as well, even though Jim Jordan who's would be in line to chair the House Judiciary Committee will be in charge of impeachment proceedings says he supports it, says that McCarthy has indicated to them that he would be open to talking about it. And when our colleague, Melanie Zanona, asked McCarthy directly, would you go forward with impeachment proceedings, he says, quote, what happens at the border is above everything else. You will not go that far. But still a lot of Republicans are still leery about this idea.

KING: Well, the leery part is interesting in the sense that if they take the majority, you can make a case for aggressive oversight. And I would listen to Republicans if they wanted to say Democrats have not -- had enough oversight of the situation at the border or some other thing. That's a conversation and a debate. I think that would be worth having. The question is, do you impeach somebody? Or do you accuse somebody of high crimes and misdemeanors or do you just have aggressive oversight and ask the policy questions, this you mentioned some people, Jim Jordan, Mayorkas deserves it. It will be a conference decision.

Congresswoman Lauren Boebert, Mayorkas should be a priority. Steve Womack, though, Republicans says we should focus on policy. And Tom Cole, a veteran Republican says, I don't think it'd be a very wise decision. However, at the moment, Tom Cole, who might have this experience does not have as much juice, shall we say, with the leadership as a Jim Jordan.

SEUNG MIN KIM, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right, right. And I think all the talk that we have about Democrats having had momentum over the last, you know, last several weeks and perhaps cutting their losses in the house, it won't matter at the end of the day, when Kevin McCarthy is a speaker, Republicans have the chairmanships, and they have subpoena power and gavels. And if they have a majority of the House, could pursue impeachment proceedings.

But I think the Tom Cole perspective is interesting, because I think that there are some Republicans. Now I don't know how many, but there are still some Republicans that are concerned about overreach. You know, Republicans felt that Democrats overreach in pursuing the first impeachment of Donald Trump in particular. And so I think there are many people in Washington who are very cognizant of that political calculation.

KING: And so how does this work out in the sense that if you're Kevin McCarthy, and you have a huge majority, or big majority, maybe you listen more to everybody, if you have a tiny majority, is the message from voters don't go too far, or is the message going to end up being, that means Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lauren Boebert, Jim Jordan have more influence over you because there aren't quote unquote, moderates around to say, whoa, slow down.

CLAUDIA GRISALES, CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT, NPR: Exactly. If they do have this thin majority has been projected in some cases, how do you wrangle everybody together with this thin majority to go after an impeachment say, Biden, maybe that's too tall in order. Mayorkas, maybe we can get everybody on board, we have a bigger chance going there first, maybe it's the warm up act before they look at bigger folks like Biden himself. So it is really tricky when you have these extreme corners of the party and the thin majority. You have a lot to balance speaker in that situation.

KING: And we've already heard at the White House and as part of Homeland Security, beefing up the legal staff supposed to figure this out, right. They expect this coming.

ZOLAN KANNO-YOUNGS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Oh, there's been an awareness that that this could be coming. I mean, for some time now. Republicans have also been clear about it. Not only beefing up the legal staff, but also a certain anxiety about how much time and resources will need to be dedicated to going back and forth on the Hill when you still do have a very real issue at the border as well. It's fascinating.


If you listen to a lot of the members of Congress that are pushing for this, you would hear that, you know, not enough has been done at the border. You hear questions about Biden's decisions there. The fascinating thing about this issue is the White House is facing pressure also from Democrats on side and a progressive flank for actually prolonging the time that Trump era policies were at the border that had to do as well with court decision, so definitely an issue that's not going away or concern going away.

KING: Quickly as we go. How much of this is we think there's grounds for impeachment? How much of this is the Democrats are preaching Donald Trump twice?

RAJU: It is -- that's what one of the concerns. It was Steve Womack told me this is revenge type politics that could actually hurt the country, but it will depend on the speakership, potentially if McCarthy needs the votes of those people who are pushing it, will he make those promises to assure him that showed them that you will go down this route and also will Mayorkas stay on if he resigns, it can be a moot issue, but his office tells us he has no plans to resign.

KING: Remarkable reporting. We watch, you know, 33 days to the election and then we go from there. Important word just into us now the January 6th Committee will hold a likely final hearing the Committee advising it will convene next Thursday, October 13th at 1:00 p.m. Eastern for what it says will be the final evidentiary hearing.

Up next, new details on a simply numbing tragedy, more than 30 dead including at least 24 young children, that after a massacre at a childcare center in Thailand.


[12:41:00] KING: To a just incredibly sad global story now, at least 36 people are dead including 24 children and a pregnant woman that after a rampage at a nursery in Thailand. Police say the killer is a former police officer. They say he attacked a daycare center with a gun and a knife while the children were sleeping. Officials say the suspect also killed himself, his wife, and his child. CNN's Selina Wang is tracking this story for us. Selina it is horrific and it is numbing. What else do we know?

SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, what we are learning from authorities, new details about this horrifying tragedy. This is believed to be the deadliest rampage in Thailand's history. Authorities had originally called this massacre a mass shooting but now we're learning that many of the people died from knife stabbing wounds. Authorities say that this 34-year-old man went to the nursery around noontime looking for his two-year-old stepson, he could not find him. He managed to enter a room where 24 kids were sleeping during their lunchtime naptime.

He began shooting and stabbing the children and the staff members there. The police say all but one child died in that room. Authorities say that the man then left by his car to drive home in the process, running and ramming into bystanders. When he got home, he killed his stepson and his wife and then he took his own life.

Now when it comes to motives, the police say they are not ruling anything out including hallucination from drugs, personal stress, they are going to get a blood test. Now this man does have a history of drug use, according to the authorities and in fact he was in court for drug related charges just hours before he went on this shooting rampage. He's a former police officer who had been dismissed from the police force on these drug charges.

This is an absolutely horrifying and profoundly shocking moment for Thailand. This is a country where, yes, the rates of gun ownership are relatively high compared to other countries in the region. However, mass shootings are rare in Thailand. And important to note, John, that where the shooting happened in northeastern Thailand, this is a peaceful, tranquil place, it is not known to be violent. This is a nation now that is in grief, in shock, and horror, John.

KING: Beyond horrific Selina Wang, grateful for the important update there on an incredibly sad story. To another big global story now, a ballistic missile barrage from North Korea, American warships now sending a signal back to Pyongyang, Japan and South Korea also on edge because of this. CNN's Oren Liebermann is live at the Pentagon for us. Oren there are those who say Kim Jong-un sometimes just wants attention. But if you look at the reaction to the Japanese and the South Korean government and now the American military, they seem to think there's something bigger at play here.

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is much more than just attention at this point. According to a CNN count, over the course of the past two weeks, the North Koreans have launched ballistic missiles on six separate occasions, a total of 10 missiles launched there. Most of them have been short range ballistic missiles, but one of those was an intermediate range ballistic missile just a few days ago that overflew Japan for the first time in about five years. The U.S. clearly responding here along with South Korea and Japan, emphasizing its partnerships and its alliances in the region with a show of force and a message that the U.S. will not be deterred here, the latest exercise, a naval missile defense exercises with the South Koreans and the Japanese.

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said the point of the exercise and this work, this operation is to improve the ability to intercept and track future North Korean ballistic missile launches if it comes to that. But that's just the latest. There have been aerial exercises, test fires of ATACMS. Those are long range precision guided surface to surface munitions, as well as an anti-submarine exercise conducted last week and that underscores how seriously the U.S. is taking this, worth noting that anti-submarine exercise was the first in several years.

According to South Korea, the U.S. showing its willingness to engage with its allies in the region that it will not I'd be deterred by North Korea's ongoing ballistic missile launches 24 by a CNN count since the beginning of the year, and Kim Jong-un clearly showing that he wants this to continue. Secretary of State Antony Blinken saying in Chile that if North Korea continues on the fast it's more condemnation and more isolation.


KING: Those numbers quite remarkable, Oren Liebermann, grateful you're keeping track of it for us, tense moment there. Oren, thank you.

Up next for us, President Biden today calling a big decision to cut oil production a quote disappointment what it could mean for you, the next time you fill up and what it might mean in the election. That's next.



KING: President Biden today voicing his disappointment at the OPEC Plus decision to slash oil production by 2 million barrels a day. But the President defending his trip to Saudi Arabia this summer saying the primary focus was not oil.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There's a lot of alternatives. The trip was not especially for oil. The trip was about the Middle East and about Israel and rationalization of position. But it is a disappointment and it says that they're a problem.


KING: Our great reporters back with us. It says there are problem. The President there, it's the Saudis, it's others, the Russians as well involved in OPEC Plus. I also said there are a lot of alternatives. The administration now has to worry anyway but especially a month away from a midterm election, gas prices are starting to trickle back up. What alternatives? What can you do?

KANNO-YOUNGS: Well, we've seen the administration before and go to strategic Federal Reserve for one, you know, to try and lower this impact, try and diminish his impact of high gas prices on consumers. But let's be honest, this was something the administration was relying on. And it was a bet on the President's influence over some of these, the Gulf region and Arab allies. And now you're seeing the frustration when that bed is not adding up here.

It's worth noting that it shouldn't have actually been a surprise that OPEC would also act in its own interest here. And that may be the sway of the pitch of trying to combat the impact of Russia's invasion of Ukraine would not sell that much. Let's remember, Iran is a member. Iran has recently sold drones to Russia. Also you have one of Russia's deputy ministers as well was involved in this meeting and the decision making process here. And now you're seeing the result.

KING: And it's complicated. No president of the United States Democrat or Republican can snap his fingers can affect the price of oil. It's a global market. You have these other regimes that may have grievances against him or against the United States more generally. But the optics are when he traveled to Saudi Arabia, he had that fist bump with the Crown Prince right there, who is a murderer. And the President said I had to do other stuff there. Republicans see this as T-ball. This is just in the last hour. Biden's energy policies have purposely crippled American energy production.

Biden is begging Saudi Arabia and Venezuela for oil. Preposterous, humiliating, this is what America last looks like. These dictators ignored Biden's please, slashed supply, sent energy prices souring. Again, it's more complicated. But sometimes politics comes down, you know, gas prices are, we can show you the graphic, trickling back up a little bit, bad trend for the President.

WANG: Bad trend for the President after a really great trend for the White House. And you know, the White House was very eager to take credit for gas prices when they were going down by nearly 100 days straight. So of course, Republicans are going to seize on that and blame the White House when they are trending back upward. You know, we spent some time talking about, you know, Herschel Walker's troubles and kind of that October issue. I think the October surprise for Democrats may be the rising gas prices. And because that is, when we talk about this all the time, gas prices are some of the most visual, you know, goods, consumer goods out there, you see the price every day as you drive up and down the road. It's really hard for consumers to ignore that.

KING: And so the man who would be Speaker, Republican Kevin McCarthy on "Fox" today says, elect us, things will change.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): One of our first lines of work is to make America energy independent. And that means you'll pay less at the pump. America should wake up because in 33 days, we need you to join with us. They knew their policies would bring it this direction.


KING: America needs to know just a fact check. They're just like Joe Biden can't do this, neither could Speaker McCarthy, that would just be the House of Representatives no matter what their position is whether you agree or disagree with at home. You have to get the Senate and the President to go along unlikely.

GRISALES: Right, exactly. But Republicans are in this advantageous position where they can sell this message of look what Democrats are doing to your gasoline prices. We can turn it around, even if that's not based in reality.


KING: Up next for us, a remarkable moment while the President was in Florida yesterday caught on a hot mic, dropping the F bomb.


KING: Topping our Political Radar today, President Biden caught on a hot mic during his trip to Florida to see the damage from Hurricane Ian. He's talking here to the mayor of Fort Myers Beach.


MAYOR RAY MURPHY, FORT MYERS BEACH: Thanks for coming down, we appreciate it.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: (Inaudible). No one -- with a Biden.


KING: Someday we'll learn the context of that. The President also making an effort on that trip to put politics aside standing with the Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, even calling the governor's response to the hurricane quote, pretty remarkable. Governor DeSantis also, too, praising his cooperation with the White House and with FEMA.

The Secret Service acknowledging a minor car accident that involved the Vice President was not properly reported up the chain of command at first, the vehicle carrying Vice President Harris from her home to the White House did occur. The Secret Service though initially attributed that accident to mechanical failure. That was updated later with the account that the driver hit a curb. No one was hurt. The Vice President finished her commute in another vehicle. But "The Washington Post" reporting the new Secret Service chief is concerned the incident was not properly reported from the get go.

Clemency requests, healthcare documents, IRS forms, election paperwork, those some of the items the FBI recovered when it served its search warrant at Mar-a-Lago that according to a Justice Department list made public this week. The collection even included Trump's resignation letter from the Screen Actors Guild. A special master is reviewing that trove of documents even as the Justice Department challenges that process worth remembering more than 100 classified documents found and recovered at the Trump state now in the hands of the Justice Department.


Thanks for your time today on Inside Politics. We'll see you back here tomorrow. Ana Cabrera picks up our coverage right now.