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Inside Politics

Biden: Don't Want New Cold War With China; Biden: China Has "Obligation" To Back N. Korea Off More Nuclear Tests; Biden, Xi Meet As Putin Set To Skip Critical Global Summit; Control Of House Remains Undecided, Dems Keep Senate; WA Dem: My District Doesn't Believe In "Crazy Ideas"; 19 House Races Uncalled As States Count Votes; Former UVA Football Player Suspected Of Killing 3, Wounding 2; Top Trump Adviser: Trump Will Announce 2024 Bid On Tuesday. Aired 12-12:30p ET

Aired November 14, 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. Today a giant sit down. On the line, well, the next 30 years. Joe Biden and Xi Jinping meet for the first time as presidents. Task number one, Taiwan and backing both countries off the ledge of a possible new cold war.

Plus, we are still counting votes, still undecided the House and a critical governor's race in Arizona. But Democrats keep the Senate, which is a giant midterm win for the president. And is Donald Trump about to pour salt in open Republican wounds. He has a big announcement tomorrow, even as more and more Republicans say Trump is to blame, and that this time they really, really mean it when they say the GOP must move on.

Up first though, a handshake and heavy global consequences. Today, the most important meeting between the two most powerful leaders on the planet, the American President Joe Biden and China's Xi Jinping. The session ran three plus hours. Mr. Biden emerged cautiously encouraged among the issues to climate, human rights, and of course, Taiwan.

President Biden telling reporters the talks were "open and candid", blunt was another word he used and making clear he wants to stop a slide into a new cold war. And the president asserted again, no change in his view in the status "towards Taiwan."


JOE BIDEN, 46TH U.S. PRESIDENT: I do not think there's any imminent attempt on the part of China to invade Taiwan, and I made it clear that our policy in Taiwan has not changed at all.


KING: We start the hour in Bali with a White House correspondent MJ Lee. MJ tell us more.

MJ LEE, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, after this three plus hour Summit, President Biden's tone was almost upbeat. He seemed to express some measured optimism that U.S. Chinese relations, which had really reached a low point could be mended. He said that the two leaders found areas where they could work together on issues like climate change and ensuring that Russia doesn't resort to using nuclear weapons.

And notably on the issue of Taiwan, President Biden saying that he believes that he and Xi came to an understanding, as he emphasized that the U.S. is still committed to the one China policy. And he also told reporters that he doesn't think there is an imminent threat of China invading Taiwan. This is more of what he have to say on that front.


PRES. BIDEN: I am absolutely believers, need not be a new cold war. I want to be clear, and be clear with all leaders, but particularly with Xi Jinping. That I mean, what I say, and I say what I mean. So, there's no misunderstanding. That's the biggest concern I have is a misunderstanding about intentions or actions.


LEE: And, you know, obviously, part of avoiding those misunderstandings is keeping those lines of communications open. And to that end, President Biden announced that his Secretary of State Antony Blinken will be traveling to China in the near future to continue the conversations that he started with President Xi today.

You know, U.S. officials have been planning for this big summit for months and months. And they really hope that the two leaders could land on some common areas and themes, and also that these lines of communication could get open. But I do think, John, it's going to be weeks and perhaps months before we learned for sure if this summit was the beginning of real improvements and U.S. Chinese relations. John?

KING: MJ Lee live for us on the ground, a very important day in Bali. MJ, thank you so much. Let's get some important insights now with us, the former defense secretary, the former CIA director, and the former White House Chief of Staff, Leon Panetta. Leon, grateful for your time on this day.

I want to get to some of the specifics in a moment. But the key here really is do these leaders understand each other? Do they know each other? Do they trust each other when things get dicey? Listen to the president United States describing this relationship.


PRES. BIDEN: I didn't find him more confrontational and more conciliatory. I found him the way he's always been, direct and straightforward. We were very blunt with one another, about places where we disagreed, or where we were uncertain of each other's position. He was as straightforward as he has been with me in the past. And I think that we understand one another.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KING: You have been in the room, sir, uniquely for summits like this. And then the staff all gets together with the presidents, and says, how do we want to describe this publicly? Tell me your takeaway from what you heard publicly from the president of what is your best bet on what happened in private?


LEON PANETTA, FORMER DEFENSE SECRETARY UNDER PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, I think this was a very critical meeting at a very critical time and probably the best thing going for us was Biden's experience, not only in foreign policy but having met Xi, having dealt with Xi, this is not as if he's meeting somebody strange. They both had a relationship in the past.

And if the result of this meeting is to put the relationship back on a more diplomatic plane, in which instead of kind of beating each other up, they can begin a dialogue on the kind of issues that need to be dealt with. I think this meeting could very well be pivotal in terms of the relationship with China.

KING: Well, one of the most dicey issues is Taiwan, obviously. And you've seen all the speculation in recent weeks and months that, are we getting to the point where - and if you look at the Chinese state media, look at their big communist party meeting. China has made quite clear that it is prepared to take Taiwan. Now the president United States saying, he did not see that as imminent.

The president United States also facing some pressure from conservatives back here at home, including the Wall Street Journal editorial board saying, Mr. Biden can't afford to show weakness in the U.S. commitment to Taiwan's defense. Mr. Biden is harming his own policy, they say, and U.S. interests by lacking your critical economic policy and strategy with Taiwan.

Do you buy that? Is that just pressure on the president? Or does the United States, if you're going to convince Xi, we are serious? Does the United States have to do even more to help Taiwan now?

PANETTA: Well, I think that the important thing is that he had to make clear to Xi just exactly where we stand. I mean, Biden has said that if China invades Taiwan, U.S. forces will be deployed. That's a pretty heavy statement. And I think what he was trying to do in this meeting is to in indicate that our approach to Taiwan remains the same in terms of our one China policy. But he also made clear that if Xi does - do anything to go after Taiwan, we will be there to confront them.

And the other the other part of this is that I think Xi has learned from what happened to Putin in Ukraine, that you can talk about invading another country. But it's another story as to whether or not you'll be successful. And I think that has put some hesitation into Xi and whether or not he would invade Taiwan.

KING: One of the challenges in incredibly important and an incredibly delicate relationship like this. Try to get a few things you agree on, try to make progress in a few areas, which then helps you when you have to talk about the difficult stuff. Listen to the president. North Korea lately has been launching missiles quite frequently over Japan, sending a message to South Korea. The president United States says that came up, he would like China's help at this.


PRES. BIDEN: I've made it clear to President Xi Jinping that, I thought they had an obligation to attempt to make it clear to North Korea that they should not engage in long range nuclear tests. I'm confident China's not looking for North Korea to engage in further escalatory means.


KING: The president also essentially seemed to say that if North Korea keeps it up, the United States is going to increase its military presence there. And he wanted Xi to understand that was about North Korea, not about China. This has been a question mark. I don't know what to call it a frustration. When you serve back in the Bill Clinton presidency, when you served again in the Obama presidency. Would China help with North Korea? What's the answer?

PANETTA: Well, the answer is you have to continue to pursue that effort to try to get China to exert its influence on North Korea in order to avoid the potential for war in the pacific. And I don't think Xi wants to see a North Korea suddenly start dropping nuclear bombs, either in South Korea or in the U.S.

And so, it is important to make clear to Xi that he can be an influence here, in terms of trying to deter Kim Jong-un from the potential of conflict in Korea. I don't think China wants that. I think the president was right to raise that issue. And to try to make clear to Xi, that he could be a positive influence here in terms of preserving peace in the pacific.

KING: I may ask you quickly in closing, among the many important jobs you've had as a CIA director, the man who currently holds that job and a man you know quite well, Mr. Bill Burns is meeting with his Russian counterpart today in Turkey. We're talking in China about trying to manage difficult relationship. Obviously, the relationship with Putin right now is off the rails. What could come of that? And why is it important?

PANETTA: Well, it's important because obviously, Putin is losing in Ukraine. And as I said, I think that sends a very, very strong signal to Xi, to be a lot more careful about whether he uses force in that part of the world. So, if Bill Burns can be effective in dealing with the Russians and he's somebody who knows the Russians has worked with the Russians.


If he can send a signal to them, that this is a moment in time when the Russians are losing, and it makes better sense for them to try to sit down and negotiate some kind of resolution in the Ukraine. I think that could be a very positive result. KING: Leon Panetta, grateful for your time always, but especially on this important day. Thank you.

PANETTA: Good to be with you.

KING: Thank you, sir. Up next for us. The midterm count continues. We'll map out the big remaining questions including, yes, this one, which party will win control of the House?


KING: We are still counting votes and there are still some big questions about your midterm election verdict. One of the races we're still waiting for a final say is here, the Arizona governor's race. More votes will come in later today perhaps enough to make a projection. Maybe not as we keep counting. Katie Hobbs, the Democratic at the moment, 26,000 vote lead over the Republican Kari Lake. That's one of the big races where we still need to count.


One of the big dramas and the big surprises is this, Democrats will keep the Senate, we know that for sure. Democrats have an outside possibility to distant possibility, but they still have a chance to keep the House. Look at that map filling in, ahead in the races right now. 222 Republicans, 213 Democrats, if that held, Republicans would have a narrow House majority and takes 218.

But look, in terms of the called races, we're still counting votes in a number of these races. In terms of the called races, Republicans are at 212, Democrats at 204. So, if you look at the uncalled races, it is still mathematically possible. The Democrats could get the House majority. Now, they're essentially like drawing to an inside straight. If you're in Vegas.

They see these red seats in California, they'd have to pick up several of those. See the red seat in New York, there's one in Colorado as a couple in Arizona, they'd have to flip a couple of those. So, it is unlikely, but it is possible. The most likely outcome is a narrow House Republican majority.

And so, when you come forward, you say how did that happen? The Republicans were supposed to have a huge, huge red wave, right? Well, it didn't happen in part because of districts like this. You come down into Southwest Washington. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez is a congresswoman elect. Joe Kent was the Republican nominee.

He beat in the primary one of those 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Donald Trump. Donald Trump backed him. He says COVID vaccines are gene therapy. He denies the 2020 election results. The Congressman elect says, voters are smart. Thank you.


MARIE GLUESENKAMP PEREZ, (D) WASHINGTON CONGRESSWOMAN ELECT: I know my district. I know that we don't believe in these crazy ideas that Kent's espousing. We don't want to defend the FBI. We don't feel that we should have a national ban on abortion. And we were endorsed by so many moderate Republicans and Independents and Democrats, and I'm so proud of building that coalition. And I think that's the direction that our politics needs to move more generally.


KING: With me now to share their insights and their reporting, CNN's Dana Bash, CNN's Jeff Zeleny, Sabrina Siddiqui of The Wall Street Journal, and Marianna Sotomayor of The Washington Post. Hard to argue with that, when you look at the results. That in a number of these races were Republicans should have been able to win the district. The voters said no to way too far out there.

DANA BASH: Yes. And that's a perfect example what you just played there because that was a district held by a Republican Jaime Herrera Beutler, who was kind of the perfect at least if you look at her election results, the perfect kind of Republican for that district, pretty moderate.

And also, someone who happened to be one of those who voted to impeach Donald Trump. Therefore, Donald Trump put up against her against - yes, against her, a Republican primary opponent, who beat her. And then that person got beaten by this democratic elect. That is kind of crystallizes and classic of what Republicans saw go wrong for them across the board.

KING: We're going to get into the leadership dynamics of this in a minute. But in terms of the numbers, we are not having the conversation, Republicans, even most Democrats that we'd be having on this day. Let's just put up the balance of power. As I said, 212 Republicans to 204 Republicans, in terms of the races that are out there right now, you still have 19 races in place. So, Republicans are still shy of getting a majority.

If you look at the Senate balance of power, the Democrats will keep control of the Senate. Now we move on to a Georgia Senate race. It will be about, A about the margins in the Senate, and B more importantly about the map in 2024. When you're trying to defend your Senate majority again. Do Republicans - most Republicans, and again, we'll talk more about this later. Most Republicans want to blame Trump, what else?

MARIANNA SOTOMAYOR, CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, a lot of them are also pivoting to who might be next, right? Because if you're having that conversation about Trump and a lot of Republicans privately, some of them publicly saying that he is the reason why a number of them lost in the House, potentially a Senate. They want to look at who's next.

And DeSantis is someone that they keep saying even in these leadership elections, some Republicans on the House side saying, maybe we should side with his brand of the party, maybe we can go that way. But Trump still looms large and isn't going away as we know.

SABRINA SIDDIQUI, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: You know, I've spoken to a lot of Republicans who are doing a fair amount of soul searching, you know, they're looking at likely still a narrow House majority, but they were anticipating a red wave even up until polls closed last Tuesday, and with concerns about inflation, that ranking is a top issue. Biden's approval ratings being fairly low. They really expected to perform much better than this.

And there's just a lot of finger-pointing right now, I think frustration at Republican leaders that there was not a clear agenda for them to run on that they didn't really put forward much of a policy platform frustration that they didn't do enough to fend off some of these Trumpian candidates, far-right candidates who many believe simply were not electable at the end of the day. And so, I think moving forward, both Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy are looking at some significant blowback and headwinds as we grew up for this Republican leadership election.


KING: If you look at the House map right now. Again, it's like trying to an inside straight, but it's not impossible, and you know, what we've been surprised already this year, so you leave yourself an open mind to it. There are a number of races in California where the Republicans are ahead. One of them by 84 votes, one of them by about 2800 votes that mail-in ballots are still coming in and you'd have to flip them.

There are a couple in Arizona, there's that one in New York state near Syracuse, that it's possible. The most likely outcome here is a very narrow Republican majority. But I can just put up the dates here. Alaska and Maine, we expect the Democrats to win in both those states, they have so called rank choice voting.

And as you see from the dates there that will come in later this month, California and Oregon, where there are still some races, Jeff, where A, Democrats are leading they need to lock up but a few where Republicans are leading, and they could possibly flip. The mail-in ballots there can come in as late as tomorrow. And so, we're going to then count from there. We could be up as a bit.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: We definitely could be. But the bottom line is at the most it is likely to be a single digit majority for Republicans, which is extraordinary. Republicans, certainly we're not expecting that Democrats, we're definitely not expecting that. But it means a couple of things.

One, the oversight of the White House is still going to sting just as much, even if it's a one seat majority. The investigations are going to happen. But boy, the biggest takeaway, I think the most important thing for Democrats in the White House is that insurance policy in the Senate. Having Democrats control the Senate is something that's absolutely essential of the rest of the president's first term from a confirmations or appointees and judges. (Crosstalk)

KING: Judges are opposed to, yes, midturn cabinet shakeup tends to happen. Plus, if the Republicans are doing something about oversight the Democrats disagree with they can counter it in the Senate. BASH: Yes. I just want to add one thing to what you were showing on that map. It's a little inside array, but this is inside politics. So, I'm just going to jump in. And that is there's a lot of discussion going on. I'm sure you guys have heard among Democrats about their money spending strategy in that Nancy Pelosi told me that yesterday, they spent their money to protect Democratic incumbents, there were a lot of them they needed to protect.

But if you look at the races left that might determine actually, who controls Congress. A lot of them are open seats where the Democratic candidates didn't get a lot of national love. Arizona six, Kearson Angle (Ph) is a perfect example. She's like thousands plus votes behind right now. And people are saying, well, if they had more money, more resources, maybe it would have been a different story.

KING: I think that's one of the conversations. The other one is the arrogance of New York Democrats and overplaying their hand. And the redistricting map, they're going to lose several seats there, going to regret that one. Take a win. Don't get arrogant about it. More politics ahead. But next for us is suspect now in custody after a deadly shooting at the University of Virginia. We'll be live on the ground in Charlottesville. Next.




KING: A former football player at the University of Virginia now in custody after police say, he shot and killed three people on the school's main campus last night, Sunday night. Joe Johns is live for us on the scene in Charlottesville, Virginia. Joe, what do we know?

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: John, a long night here at the University of Virginia and a long lockdown. The shooting occurred around 10:30 last night in the area just behind me at a bus. This group of students here at the university had gone on a field trip to see a play in Washington D.C. Apparently, the shooting occurred when they got back.

The suspect who was now in custody is named Christopher Darnell Jones as you said, football player from 2008 teen though, we don't know if he ever played, he certainly didn't play during that year. He is being charged, we're told with three counts of second-degree murder and three counts of using a firearm in the commission of a felony with other charges pending.

The three people who died are all members of the football team. Two others have been injured, one in good condition, one in critical condition. A very sad day here at the University of Virginia, John?

KING: Sad day, Joe Johns, appreciate, you're staying on top before us. Joe, Thank you. Back to Washington now on politics. Republicans facing giant leadership questions in the House and to a lesser degree in the Senate after their disappointing midterm performance. The GOP also lost most of the battleground races for governor, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin lead that list. Massachusetts and Maryland also elected Democrats to replace retiring Republican governors. The outgoing governor of Maryland says, one man deserves most of the blame.


GOV. LARRY HOGAN (R-MD): This should have been a huge red wave. It should have been one of the biggest red waves we've ever had. It's basically the third election in a row that Donald Trump has cost us the race and it's like, you know, three strikes you're out.


KING: But Donald Trump not only takes no blame for the 2022 Republican debacle, he is ready to move on to 2024 tomorrow.


JASON MILLER, ADVISER TO FORMER PRESIDENT TRUMP: President Trump is going to announce on Tuesday, he's running for president, and it's going to be a very professional, very buttoned up announcement. I spoke with President Trump. I caught him this morning. He was on the golf course and talked about Tuesday and really spoke as he said, look, there doesn't need to be any question. Of course, I'm running. I'm going to do this.


KING: Salt meat wound?

ZELENY: Without a question and instead a very buttoned up announcement. I mean, says Jason Miller now, who knows what the announcement would have looked like. But look, the reality is the timing on this, I get why the former president wants to do it to sort of build a vacuum. But boy, it's hard to know of course now, how this will end up.