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McCarthy Rallies GOP Support In Heated Race For Speaker; New CNN Reporting: Jan 6 Cmte Members In "Active Discussion" Over Final Report; Cyber Monday Spending Expected To Top $11B. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired November 28, 2022 - 12:30   ET



MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: But they don't deny this, John, it's going to be close. And it's going to be a scramble from here until January 3rd.

JOHN KING, CNN HOST: It's remarkable. It is remarkable. The math problem he has at the moment. Manu Raju live on the Hill, appreciate it. Let's bring the conversation back into the room. You know, you're just watching that, you know, you say, oh, well, Matt Gaetz is part of the opposition. And you think, well, that's not a problem, then you think, well, it is a problem. Actually, it is a problem. And what does that mean? Because Forgive me, our grandchildren, their children are not going to be learning about great legislators in American history. Matt Gaetz is not going to come up.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, nevermind legislators, he's also not a master whip counter or vote counter. I mean, that's just that's not what he does or who he is. But when you are Kevin McCarthy scrambling for every single vote you can get in your caucus. What Matt Gaetz says matters because it could have influence on other people of his ilk, there aren't a lot of people who are like Matt Gaetz. But if there are enough, it will make a difference. I think the focus that Kevin McCarthy has right now is clearly on, as we just heard Manu report, just at the very least trying to convince some of the skeptics to give him a chance that he won't be like speakers in the past who, from the perspective of those who are on the more extreme or not in a senior position aren't listened to, it's much easier to rule that way. If you're a house speaker, to be more, to be more to roll with a heavier fist, but it's not going to get all the votes.

MITCHELL: And I think what Matt Gaetz represents is people who are adept at causing a little bit of chaos. And then the question becomes, are they willing to stretch it out through January 3rd, you know, there's still making to be done on the next 36 days. But could they say, you know, we're going to make sure it has to go to more than one ballot, even if Kevin McCarthy ends up becoming speaker, they can drag it out. if it doesn't take more than maybe a half dozen people to stay committed to causing chaos, that's the question.

KING: Which makes the next couple of weeks really interesting because they're back for a lame duck session where Nancy Pelosi is still the speaker, the Democrats are on the House, but you're trying to get stuff done from the government. Do you just do a short term spending bill? Do you do a big omnibus fraud of next year? Do you raise the debt limit now or does that have to go to until the Republicans are kept? Where is Kevin McCarthy's leash in these negotiations? Where does he have to, you know, do things maybe he might not have done six months ago, now that he cannot afford to lose more than three or four votes for speaker.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: It's a fascinating point. And that's why this is a real conundrum. Because we know that his first priority, I would assume is to become Speaker of the House, his priority is not necessarily to help Speaker Pelosi on her way out or to necessarily keep the government funded. So it is just a thorny path that he has. But the reason Matt Gaetz about what you're saying earlier is important because of his single vote, it doesn't matter if he brings anyone else over, he literally needs every single person. At the end of the day, you have to assume that he's likely to become speaker, but largely because there's no center of gravity around any one other person, but as we've seen in years past, and we've said this before in here, at this point, Dennis Hastert would have never assumed that he was going to be the speaker of the House.

It happened very quickly. I believe, on a Saturday afternoon, Bob Livingston was going to be the speaker. This is ancient history, obviously. But things can happen very, very quickly.

KING: Right, the volatility of it makes it even more unpredictable. And it's less predictable. Now, things are a lot less flexible now than they were even in those days for Danny Hastert. So one of the -- you mentioned the speaker in the past, you know, sometimes the speaker rules with an iron fist. Sometimes the speaker gives people more leeway. James Comer was one of the allies. You heard there, listen to him, he would be the chairman of the House Oversight Committee. And he says when Republicans take charge, his committee is going to be busy.


REP. JAMES COMER (R-KY): We're going to investigate between 40 and 50 different things, we want to try to determine what happened with the fraudulent unemployment insurance funds, a fraudulent PPP loan funds, some of this money that's being spent for state and local governments in the COVID stimulus monies. So these are things that are going to be priorities for us as a committee, waste, fraud, abuse and mismanagement.


KING: Interesting, in that he did not mention Hunter Biden. I don't know whether that was just a slip or whether it was deliberate given the politics of the moment. And I guess the bigger question is legitimate oversight of government spending is absolutely necessary and essential in this town. Is that what the Republicans will do? Or will it be just a pinata everything that Biden was for and they're against? MITCHELL: Yes, I think what he mentioned those two things aren't necessarily objectionable by most people. We know there was a lot of PPP fraud. Are there some local governments that maybe misspent their COVID dollars? I can -- I know of an example in Georgia that's already public, people have gone to jail for it. So that in and of itself, oversight, like you said, it's not problematic but if voters perceive Republicans such as doing oversight that is attacking President Biden that is meant to undermine his administration there's a possibility they take it too far and they start losing the confidence of voters in ways that could affect them in 2024.


KING: It'd be fascinating if we go forward.

Up next, some important new CNN reporting, we're getting a clearer picture now of what will be included in the January 6th Committee's final report and how much of a focus there will be on Donald Trump.


KING: The January 6th Select Committee is now rushing to produce its final report and there are debates among staff members and among congressional members about several topics including how much of the written document should focus on Donald Trump. The former president was of course the primary focus of the Committee's public hearings but its work also includes things like financing for the January 6th events, coordination among groups that attended the pre attack rally, and whether capital and other law enforcement agencies ignored clues about potential violence. As the report is put together and debated, multiple sources now telling CNN some staffers have voiced concerns about how their work would factor into the committee's presentation plans dating back to earlier this summer, when the panel opted to focus its series of public hearings solely on Trump and his culpability in the attack. One key Committee Member, the Congressman Adam Schiff of California, telling CNN this yesterday.



REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA), JANUARY 6TH COMMITTEE: I would like to see a report be as broad and inclusive as possible. We are discussing as a committee among the members, what belongs in the body of the report? What belongs in the appendices of the report? What is beyond the scope of our investigation? And we'll reach those decisions, you know, in a collaborative manner.


KING: That was in a conversation with you yesterday morning. Remarkably diplomatic tone for a guy who's not afraid of doing political combat when he sees it as it is interest, very diplomatic, largely in response to this. I just showed the headline of this Washington Post story. January 6th panel staffers angry at Cheney for focusing so much of report on Trump goes on to say that there are some staff members who are disillusioned they think Liz Cheney's trying to use this for her political future. Schiff trying to dial it back, big time. Is it that this, you know, is a big project, there are Democrats and Republicans involved? There are ambitious lawyers and ambitious staff members, is this normal? We're going to get sharp elbows and the end, we'll be friends again, or is it a problem?

BASH: Well, none of this is normal. I mean, the fact that they're having this debate, but I think because the Committee itself is not normal in that what you usually see are actual different sides based on where they stand ideologically, in this case, Kevin McCarthy chose not to put up his own members, you do have two Republicans, Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney, but they were appointed by the Democratic Speaker.

And the fact that you have Democrats, largely Democrats, wanting to make the point to "The Washington Post," that there is too much of a focus on Donald Trump is like, where are we in the world? But it is because there clearly is a larger goal among a lot of these lawyers who were hired to make sure that a lot of the boxes are checked. And one of the questions that really wasn't explored at all in the public hearings, is why there were intelligence failures, why would they were law enforcement failures, why they didn't have the national guard there. Those are really important unanswered questions. And that's why a lot of staff members clearly want to get that into the report. Adam Schiff said he wants to get them on the report

ZELENY: And for the history of this Committee, which is what a lot of the staffers and the lawyers and others, you know, have been working on for more than a year is to be a lesson going forward. So they believe that, you know, a focus on the former president only will not be, you know, a historical reckoning or recounting of this, but it is fascinating, like just the inner conversation. But, you know, on any report like this, there's always a back and forth, there's always. But usually it's just with Republicans and Democrats. So it's just kind of an unusual alignment there.

But the question here is members, obviously that story in "The Washington Post," excellent reporting, what do members say about this, and the individual members are going to have the final say? And is Liz Cheney going to get any pushback, she has been remarkably in control of this Committee, but she's the vice chair. So there's still time to have this as shaped and just, it's being a shape in the newspaper.

KING: And our team gets at the complexity of it, because there are the intelligence of law enforcement questions, then do you want to chronicle, who came, who came for the rally? And then who decided to go on further to the Capitol? And then who made the fateful step beyond that to go in? Do you include anything on the prosecutions and the investigations, the money that, you know, the Trump allies, the outer circle, so there's a lot to do. Our team really breaks it down? Well, the green team, for example, was asked for tracking money. Some of the other teams such as the red, blue and gold teams examined everything from the motivation of participants, whether there was coordination between groups, and whether Trump uses executive authority to pressure lawmakers, former Vice President Mike Pence and the Justice Department, according to sources familiar with the Committee's work.

So it is a lot of comparisons have been made tonight on the 9/11 Commission report. It is an incredibly complicated event. It was not one day. And I guess this competition is, you know, you want to be a chapter not an appendix, I guess, in the final report if you did so much work.

MITCHELL: Right. And as Jeff said, because this is a document that's going to go down in history, and it's going to be studied by students and historians and academics and politicians for years to come, so I do think, you know, I think even Liz Cheney would probably say she wants it to be comprehensive but it's the balance, it's how much is Trump, how deep do we go with all these directions they could take it. And all this material that they've gathered, I think there is clearly that struggle, because what's public so far is so Trump heavy. And again, even though all the members were appointed by the Democratic Speaker, there still are those partisan factions. These folks weren't used to working with Liz Cheney. She still is kind of a conservative that perhaps some of the Democratic staff, you know, didn't have a lot of rapport or trust with. And I think some of that might be feeding into some of the discords left.


KING: And vice versa, because she is a very conservative Republican who, on the Committee has worked very well with the Democrats and everything she has said publicly about her work in the Committee has been quite complimentary of the entire process. But her spokesman quoted in that "Washington Post" piece, she won't sign on to any narrative that suggests Republicans are inherently racist or smears men and women in law enforcement, or suggest every American who believes God has blessed America is a white supremacist.

So that is a Democratic staffer, the spokesman who's clearly taking issues with that's a Republican staffer, excuse me, who's clearly taking issues with the Democrats. That's politics.

BASH: No, it's total politics. And it's also based on the fact that some of the griping in "The Washington Post" story from people working in the committee say that Liz Cheney is just looking at her own future potential run for president in 2024, or even beyond. What Tim Cheney will say is, none of this would even be a conversation. We wouldn't even be here if not for Donald Trump. January 6th wouldn't have happened. The election denials, all of that would not have happened had Donald Trump not conceded and in fact, spread conspiracy.

KING: We would also would not be here if she and Adam Kinzinger had not decided to join the Committee as well. The Democrats may have had this investigation, but it would have been easier T ball for Republicans to just say it's just Democrats. They gave a great credibility. And it did. It did amazing work. We will see what the final report tells us.

Up next, year holiday mood, Black Friday shattering sales record, Cyber Monday that's today, expected to be even bigger, but inflation does play a role in these historic numbers. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


KING: Today is Cyber Monday, you already knew that, your e-mail and your texts are blowing up with big sale offers. This is now projected to be the biggest online shopping day of the year and get this, of all time. And it's not just because prices are up because of inflation. New numbers show Black Friday sales also breaking records. Now there is a downside to all of this spending for many of you. And that's how Americans are paying for all this. Let's get to CNN's Matt Egan. He's live with us now with more details, Matt?

MATT EGAN, CNN BUSINESS REPORTER: Well, John, the holiday shopping season appears to be off to a pretty solid start. And in some ways, that's kind of surprising. I mean, it would be easy to bet against consumers right now, confidence is low, inflation is high. And people are worried about a potential recession. But history shows it's never a good idea to bet against the willingness of Americans to spend money, especially around the holidays. And so Adobe analytics is projecting that today alone on Cyber Monday, Americans are going to spend another $11.6 billion online, that would be up by a healthy 8 percent from last year.

And this would be on top of Black Friday, when online sales topped $9.1 billion. That was up 2 percent from a year ago. Now it's worth noting that these figures are not adjusted for inflation. But Adobe says online prices have actually been coming down. In other words, even if you adjust for inflation, this does appear to be real growth. And this is good news because consumer spending is the main driver of this economy once people stop spending, that's when all bets are off.

I think the bad news though, is how people are spending. Because industry experts they expect people to rely more on dipping into savings and credit cards. That is obviously a concern. I mean, it's never a good time to carry a credit card balance. But right now is arguably the worst time. Credit card rates are at record highs as the Fed scrambles to fight inflation by rapidly raising interest rates. And at the same time we have some store branded credit cards topping 30 percent APR.

So John, it is good news that people are continuing to spend and they feel confident enough but we do have to watch for signs that they maybe are stretching themselves a bit too thin.

KING: I'm glad you're here to help us keep an eye on that part of it. But they said all day long, all day long Cyber Monday. Matt Egan, grateful for the help, thank you so much.


Up next for us, the First Lady Jill Biden gives a nod to the Constitution with this year's big White House holiday theme.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: Topping our political radar today, the Biden administration now easing sanctions on Venezuela allowing Chevron to pump some oil there. This decision follows the progress Venezuela has made working with its opposition government. Administration official says the move geared toward helping solve the country's chronic economic and political crises and is not a reaction to global oil prices.

A new report from Arizona's Maricopa County says printer problems on Election Day did not stop any voters from legally casting ballots. That statement takes issue with claims by several Republican candidates that some Arizona voters were disenfranchised by a malfunction in voting machines. The report says no. It says Maricopa County machines were put legal secure and reliable.

Today, our first glimpse at the new White House holiday decorations, right here you see the Biden family stockings hanging in the State Dining Room. Plus, the official White House Christmas tree, get this, towers over 18 feet high. It is one of 77 Christmas trees on display at and around 1,600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

First Lady Jill Biden just talked about her choice of a holiday theme, we the people.



JILL BIDEN, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: When our country comes together, we are stronger. What we share is so much greater than the things that pull us apart. The soul of our nation is and has always been, we the people.


KING: Hope to see you tomorrow. Ana Cabrera picks up our coverage right now.