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Election Denier Lake Loses In Arizona; Dem Register Big Wins In Governors' Race; Republicans Close To Seizing Control Of House; McCarthy Seeks Support In Speaker Bid As GOP Nears House Control; Rep Biggs To Challenge McCarthy For House Leadership Role; "We Want New Leadership": Gaetz Won't Back McCarthy Speaker Bid; CNN: Trump Encouraging Allies To Support McCarthy; Tonight: Trump Expected To Announce 2024 Presidential Campaign. Aired 12-12:30p ET

Aired November 15, 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 very, very busy news day with us. Denied, Republican Kari Lake loses the Arizona governor's race. She responds in true election denier fashion, calling the results BS. Plus, on the brink. Yes, Republicans now three seats shy of capturing control of the House. And yes, they are in a very nasty fight over who should take the speaker's gavel.


REP. MATT GAETZ, (R) FLORIDA: There are definitely at least five people actually a lot more than that, who would rather be waterboarded by Liz Cheney than vote for Kevin McCarthy for speaker of the House.


KING: And tonight well, here we go again. Donald Trump announces a third presidential run. He does so as new reporting details how he weaponize the IRS, raked in money from foreign dictators and remains a subject of multiple investigation. This one soil number two is among those saying Republicans just must move on.


DAVID MUIR, ANCHOR, ABC WORLD NEWS TONIGHT: Will you run for president in 2024?

MIKE PENCE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES: We are giving a consideration in our House, prayerful consideration.

MUIR: Do you believe you can beat Donald Trump?

PENCE: Well, that would be for others to say, and it'd be for us to decide whether or not we want to test that.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KING: Back to that story in a moment. Today simply just a remarkable and very complicated news day. The president of the United States at the G20. Good inflation news today. Republicans, a few race calls away from seizing the House. Donald Trump about to announce a third presidential run and Democrats win another critical midterm battleground.

We see today the sad and predictable reaction from the election denier who lost. Katie Hobbs will now serve as Arizona's fifth female governor, right here Arizona. Her win flips the governor's mansion their blue, and a deal's a loss to the Republican and Trump acolyte Kari Lake. the TV anchor who transformed into a conspiracy clearing House. Lake's reaction well expected and sad, egregious. Arizonans know BS when they see it, she tweeted. Make no mistake, math is math. The numbers unlike election deniers do not lie.

Let's take a look at them. Kari Lake trailing 49.6, Katie Hobbs 50.4. How did this happen? We made the projection last night after new votes came in, in Maricopa County. In the last install of Maricopa County, Kari Lake actually came out on top, but she was well beneath the margin she needed to catch up. Earlier in the day, both from Pima County as well the state's second largest, Katie Hobbs ahead.

Small batches of votes came in from around the county surrounding the state to Katie Hobbs. Katie Hobbs will be the next governor of Arizona. Think about that. Katie Hobbs, the Secretary of State in 2020 who said no Donald Trump you lost, Joe Biden won will now be governor, defeating a woman who stood by Donald Trump. To this day, saying Donald Trump carried Arizona in 2020. He did not.

And think of this, outside of battleground Arizona. Look what Democrats did. Yes, that one is stinging. Democrats lost the Nevada governorship, but they went in Arizona. They hold Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. They pick up Massachusetts. They pick up Maryland. They hold Kansas and Colorado. They hold Oregon as well.

Democrats looking at the governor's race and saying, we have built a bench for the future. Kari Lake saying, even before we made the projection last night, this is not over. Somehow, I must have been cheated.


KARI LAKE, (R) DEFEATED ARIZONA GOV. CANDIDATE: I don't believe that people of Arizona would vote for her and that she would win. But if that's what happens at the end of the day, how do you certify an election that is this botched and she's the one that would certify her own election, where it was botched where the machines didn't work in more than a third of the polling centers. I don't know how we remedy this. But the people of Arizona are furious. They're reaching out to us by the thousands saying, I don't think my vote even was counted.


KING: With me in studio to share their reporting and their insights, Jackie Kucinich of The Daily Beast, CNN's Jeremy Diamond, and Tia Mitchell of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. We can put the tweet back up. Kari Lake says Arizonans know BS when they see it. No, Arizonans know math, tough math, competitive race, very close race, just like the 2020 presidential race was. But Katie Hobbs is the next governor.

The question is, Kari Lake has every right way to the 100 percent of the vote is counted, way till it is certified as official. If you see something you want to have a recount or a canvas that is within the right of any candidate. But then what, will she stick to this? Or will she move on?


JACKIE KUCINICH, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, THE DAILY BEAST: So, what we've seen with other election deniers throughout - through the last couple of days, is there, they have conceded it. May have taken a couple days and may have, you know, been grudgingly but there have been concessions because they all lost. The election deniers, the people that are really closely affiliated themselves with Donald Trump's misinformation lost across the board. But, you know, we'll have to see if eventually she concedes. She certainly doesn't look like she's headed there at this right now (Ph).

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I mean, Doug Mastriano, who conceded I think he was like the morning of his concession. He was still retweeting claims of election fraud, that for which there was no evidence. I think the big difference between the concessions of some of these candidates versus Donald Trump's continued election lies about the 2020 election, is Trump had far more power, far more influence over the process than any of these candidates do.

As much as Kari Lake would like to perhaps continue denying the results of the election, her ability to actually change those results, or to try and influence it through some kind of January 6 moment is really limited.

KING: And the question is, does Kari Lake want to run again? And what does she think the best strategy as if she wants to have a future in politics? In the sense that we saw across the country, right, whether it's Mastriano in Pennsylvania, Don Bolduc was the Republican candidate for Senate in New Hampshire, got close at the end. Maggie Hassan beat him. She says today, the American people and Republicans should take note, election denning doesn't work.


SEN. MAGGIE HASSAN, (D) NEW HAMPSHIRE: I think the people of the United States of America resoundingly rejected election deniers. They know how dangerous it is. I think we need to focus on changing our campaign finance system. And I think we need to make sure that people know that election denier is not supported by voters. People know how dangerous it is.


KING: Voters seem to have agreed with that, that in most, not all, but in most cases, especially the big high-profile races for governor, for secretary of state. The election deniers were denied. The question, is this Kari Lake get that message?

TIA MITCHELL, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, THE ATLANTA JOURNAL- CONSTITUTION: Yes. I think it's because so many of these election deniers, and you know, being perceived as eroding democracy did not help. But a lot of them that denialism was very much their brand as a candidate. They didn't seem to bring much else to the table when it came to actual policy, policy issues, that American voters, you know, want their elected officials, particularly in the governor's mansions to address. And so, to me, that's a lesson too, is like, you can't just be one note, especially when the economy and other policy issues are at the top of minds of voters.

KING: So, the Democrats held the Senate race in Georgia to see next month to see whether they can get 51, which would be a majority of the committees, which would allow them to do a lot more. This to me is very significant when you look to the future. Look at these governor's races across the country.

Katie Hobbs will be the next governor of Arizona, Jared Polis held on in Colorado, Gretchen Whitmer held on in Michigan, Josh Shapiro leading new governor of Pennsylvania, Tony Evers held in Wisconsin. We could add to that list, the Democrat reelected in Kansas. Two Democrats replacing retiring Republican governors in Massachusetts and Maryland. Those Republican candidates in those races were Trump election deniers.

KUCINICH: But right, and that's, again, one of the reasons that these - I mean, something like the , Josh Shapiro race. I mean, that wasn't even remotely close. It was just, you know, a landslide. Similarly, Michigan wasn't the race that I think some people thought it might be because of the some of the dissatisfaction with Governor Whitmer. And all of these people have the - that were the election deniers, were the candidates of former President Trump. There were other candidates. There were other candidates that ran against these folks who may have done better, we'll never know. But that morning was over in the primary. And that's what they were left with.

DIAMOND: And I think that while there is a clear message nationally about this election denialism, especially when voters are looking at people who can impact the process, right, because there are dozens of House Republicans who denied the election, who still won reelection, but it was the governors, and the secretaries of state ran on election denialism.

Who lost, I think, well, that's a clear message. Arizona, for me is, you know, we're talking about 20,000 votes at this point, it is not the 15-point margin. And so, I think that does still show the potency of some of these election lies. And the fact that they are not going anywhere anytime soon, especially as it relates to the Republicans.

KING: Without a doubt, Arizona and Georgia, two of the battlegrounds in transition, if you will. And now the Senate race in 2024 will tell us a lot about Arizona's movement. Democrats are thrilled at the governor's races. Democrats are thrilled, they will keep their Senate majority and perhaps depending on Georgia build on it. Here's the pain of the midterms. Democrats are in a celebratory mood right now.

Will they be when this becomes clear? The Republicans right now are just a few race calls shy. 215, you see we've called that many for Republicans, takes 218 to get the majority. There are 16 seats remaining. It is not impossible, but it is highly improbable. So, it is most likely that Republicans will talk in a moment about their leadership challenges, but Republicans will have a narrow House majority come January, which is going to make President Biden's life more complicated, some would say more miserable.


DIAMOND: Yes. No doubt about it. I mean whether it is, look there are differences in terms of a, you know, 20 seat majority versus a three or four seat majority, but subpoena power. That says, you know, it doesn't matter what your margins are. And so, this is going to be a headache for the Biden White House. It's going to be their first experience with power sharing. In the first two years, you know, the president controlled both houses of Congress Democrats did. So, it is going to be a difference.

KUCINICH: Like Joe Manchin (Ph) hit the power show----

DIAMOND: That's true. That is true. But he will - this is the White House that's very much gearing up for that reality.

KING: That's a good point. The 50-50 Senate maybe gave him a little bit of experience. We'll continue the conversation. Up next. House Republicans have a big leadership vote today that amid fierce finger pointing over their midterm debacle. Kevin McCarthy hopes to be the next House speaker, but first must quiet a GOP revolt.




KING: Today, Republicans are on the verge of winning a narrow House majority. And they meet to pick a leader amid a ton of grumbling that their midterm gains could have, should have, been much bigger. Kevin McCarthy wants to be speaker of the House. And today, he will ask his fellow Republicans to nominate him, but McCarthy faces a challenge. And the question, is whether he can contain it or whether enough Republicans see him as so weak that they turn to someone else as their candidate when the full House picks the speaker, come January.

CNN's Melanie Zanona tracking the story. She's live for us on Capitol Hill. What do we know?

MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Well, from Kevin McCarthy, it's all about the road to 218. And it is likely to be a very rocky road for Kevin McCarthy. Now, later today, he is likely to become the GOP nominee for speaker. That is because he only needs a simple majority of his own party, but the real test is going to come in January. That's when he needs a majority of the entire House or 218 floor votes.

And as we first report on CNN, Congressman Andy Biggs, a Trump acolyte is preparing to challenge McCarthy in the leadership elections later today, not because he's a serious candidate or a serious contender, but because he wants to represent the anti-McCarthy vote. And the hope among these hardliners is that they want to show McCarthy how vulnerable he is. How he doesn't have the 218 votes and force him to the negotiating table.

So far, Kevin McCarthy has been really resistant to make any promises or give into those demands. But this is a numbers game, John, ultimately, if they do take the House with a razor thin majority, these members are going to have leverage. Those members know that. Kevin McCarthy knows that. And so, I suspect in the next few weeks.

You're going to see Kevin McCarthy hunkering down, trying to cut deals and trying to win over these conservative critics. But even though he's so far, expressing confidence that he's going to be able to get there, it's going to be a messy, messy couple of months here in Capitol Hill, John?

KING: Messy, messy might be an understatement. Melanie Zanona, appreciate your hard work on this important stories. Keep in touch as it plays out. Our reporters back around the table to discuss, and she mentions messy. Look, Republicans know they're going to have a tiny majority, maybe three seats, maybe five seats, maybe six or seven, if they get lucky in these last undecided races, but it's going to be tiny.

And so, Republicans when I started covering politics tended to be more disciplined than Democrats. But now we have tribes within tribes. And it's not unusual for people to mount a challenge, even knowing they're going to fail, just to identify their brand. So that is big, supporting him or at least not supporting McCarthy is Matt Gaetz, who says this.


REP. GAETZ: I think you'll see a critical mass, say that we want to turn the page. We want new leadership. We want fresh faces and new ideas. And what I can tell you as I stand here right now is that, Kevin McCarthy does not have 218 votes to become speaker. I don't think he has 200.


KING: And now Matt Gaetz, let's be very clear is not a serious player among House Republicans. But he is a very vocal player in sort of the Trump media universe, the mega media universe, call it what you will out there. So, what is his end game?

KUCINICH: It seems like Matt Gaetz wants to establish his own, you know, brand there in the party. But he also has Marjorie Taylor Greene, who's actually on Kevin McCarthy side. You mentioned discipline. There isn't discipline within the Republican Party. So, there's not going to be any repercussion for voting against Kevin McCarthy because he can't wield any sort of, you know, there's no carrots and sticks. They just have to try to get stuff done.

So that - and that was established, even before the majority was taken. We saw that last year when Kevin McCarthy refused to punish members who were doing all sorts of things, that Democrats ended up punishing them. But he would come back and double down and take their side. So, he's been really sewing this for quite a while. So, we'll see how he's able to govern.

KING: It's a great point because Marjorie Taylor Greene, Paul Gosar who kicked off committees. Kevin McCarthy says, they will get their committees back and they will get nice committee assignments. And he says he will take off Eric Swalwell, Adam Schiff, Ilhan Omar from the foreign relations committee.

So, retaliation if you will there. But it's an interesting point you make, and the people notice the Trump acolytes. Matt Gaetz would be won, Marjorie Taylor Greene is another. They are split. Trump is with Kevin McCarthy. And listen closely to why, so as Marjorie Taylor Greene.


REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R) GEORGIA: If we don't unify behind Kevin McCarthy, we're opening up the door for the Democrats to be able to recruit some of our Republicans, and they may only need one or two since we don't know what we will have in the majority, how many seats we'll have, and I will not allow that to happen. We need subpoena power. And in order to have subpoena power, we have to elect Kevin McCarthy.


KING: Now we need to help the American families deal with inflation. Now we need to cut taxes. Not we need to do traditional Republican things like small business, help small businesses, we need subpoena power.

MITCHELL: Right. And when we think about what perhaps Kevin McCarthy has promised to Marjorie Taylor Greene, or indicated he will allow her to proceed with, with Republicans in the majority. You can think about what needs subpoena power, impeaching Fauci, impeaching President Biden, and impeaching Vice President Harris and the list can go on.


Also, Marjorie Taylor Greene has talked a lot about those who have been arrested in charge related to January 6. She would like to do inquiries about how they have been detained and those investigation. And what committee, you know, could you see Marjorie Taylor Greene on judiciary, perhaps, you know---

KING: Or oversight.

MITCHELL: The oversight. You know, it's clear that they've been talking all along. He's been keeping her kind of within his ranks, but now it's looking like she believes it's going to pay off. KING: And it's interesting to watch Kevin McCarthy needs help. Remember Kevin McCarthy after January 6, went to the floor said Donald Trump bears responsibility, count to 10. He went to Mar-a-Lago and kiss the ring and said, never mind. Now this on CNN today, Kevin McCarthy seeks to assuage House Republican concerns behind closed doors, ahead of leadership election.

Former President Donald Trump has been privately encouraging allies to support McCarthy's bid for House speaker, believing the California Republican will be an asset down the road. Should the former president find himself in a contested 2024 primary. Again, it's not about policy. It's not about the direction of the Republican Party. It's about Trump thinks, this is in his personal self-interest if he has leverage over the House speaker period.

DIAMOND: Yes. That's right. And that is where we have seen that mentality, kind of, you know, in fact, the Republican Party, you know, it is a party that is now focused in many ways and leveraging power based on grievances, based on personal TIFs, etc. And that is where I can tell you that the White House is as much as they know that Republicans having subpoena power and investigations is going to be problematic for them.

They also very much believed that Republicans are going to overreach. And that in overreaching that the American public is going to see Republicans not focusing on inflation and the economy and issues that matter to them, but instead focusing on these investigations, many of which they just said are born out of personal or tribal grievance.

KING: So, help me with the context. I don't know if we know the answer. I've been doing this a long time and they're always tribes within the tribes, right? Nancy Pelosi faced the challenge from Tim Ryan, right, who then ran for Senate. One of his calling cards was I voted against Nancy Pelosi. For speaker, Paul Ryan face challenges. John Boehner face challenge.

KUCINICH: Mike Pence challenge---

KING: Mike Pence challenge, so as Andy Biggs. Andy Biggs, Congressman from Arizona challenges Kevin McCarthy. Is it different this time? Or is it just that Andy Biggs wants to establish a brand, you know, as a rabble rouser, as someone who's not establishment, which is understandable to a degree, or is this different?

KUCINICH: I mean, I think just as the numbers game, it seems, and I think, Andy Biggs has stated this. That they want it to be clear that they are important, and that Kevin McCarthy needs to cater to their needs as he would to other factions within the conference.

MITCHELL: And I think, again, it's very interesting, what that means. You know, they keep saying they want to negotiate with him. What is the end result? You know, do we see more House Freedom Caucus members in these very influential committees that are able to, you know, really make waves in ways that it's going to be problematic for the White House. What is the end result? What does the next Congress look like with a more empowered House Freedom Caucus? KING: We will learn a lot more about that, assuming Kevin McCarthy gets nominated today and then has to get the final math between now and January. That's when the deals - that's when those deals will happen. Up next. Donald Trump makes a big announcement tonight. Yes, he's running for president again. Despite midterm results that prove his brand is more than toxic in many battleground states.




KING: Donald Trump is running for president again. Despite mounting evidence, the country and his party would prefer to move on. The former president plans and announcement tonight at Mar-a-Lago and he has authorized his aides to confirm yes, he will declare his candidacy for the 2024 Republican nomination.

Now we are just one week removed from the 2022 midterms. Trump and his brand took a pounding in key races coast to coast. Yet, he somehow sees this as the right moment to start the next campaign. Let's find out why. CNN's Kristen Holmes live for us in West Palm Beach. What is the rationale behind now?

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's a good question, John. We talked about the right moment. Many of his aides and advisors believe that this certainly was not the right moment. They said that he didn't have the momentum after those lackluster midterm results and they were urging him to wait until at least after the Georgia runoff, saying that if Herschel Walker loses, Trump would be blamed. And indicating that if he jumped in, Warnock's fundraising numbers, Democratic opponent Raphael Warnock would go up immediately.

However, that being said, Donald Trump, we are told by aides is all in that he is going to announce this third presidential run. And he is entering this period on the defensive. It's not just the midterm results. We've also heard from another of a number of Republicans in the last several days, who have said it's time to move on from Donald Trump. We know that he is in the middle of several federal investigations.

But when you talk to those around Donald Trump, they say that he is pointing to 2015 and 2016 time where he says he was largely written off by other Republicans, by the mainstream media, and yet was able to take the White House in 2016.

Now one thing to point out here is that I've talked to a number of allies across the country who are concerned that Trump doesn't have that same magnetism, he had in 2015, 2016 that carried him to the White House, particularly given his focus on election denialism, which largely fizzled during Tuesday's midterms. So, that's one thing to note here.

The other thing I want to point out.