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AZ Election Officials Inundated With Conspiracies From Public, Maricopa Co Certifies Results, Cochise Co Doesn't; Source: Iran Threatens Families If Players Fail To "Behave"; Supreme Court Hears Texas' Challenge To Biden Immigration And Deportation Policies. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired November 29, 2022 - 12:30   ET



JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Arizona is again proving itself to be ground zero for election denial and conspiracies rural Cochise County now being sued by the state because it refused to certify its election results by the deadline. The state's largest county, Maricopa, did meet yesterday's deadline but the meeting to certify the results, listen here, marked by anger, lies, and conspiracy.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I came here today to get an up close and personal look at the seven traitors to the United States Constitution.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is vote trafficking at its finest. I've seen the criminal element. You are vote traffickers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These men are born sinners lying from their earliest words. They're poisonous, deadly snakes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dominion machine, you guys know they're dangerous, you know, they're corrupt.


KING: Our reporters back around the table with us. That is the legacy of Donald Trump's continued lie about 2020 and continued testing of it. I will yield the floor in just a second. Those are citizens who have every right to show up at a hearing and speak their mind.

However, nothing that you heard there is factual and it's just important to remind anybody who might tend to want to believe it, Republicans and Democrats and Independents are in the room when they're counting votes the entire time. If there was any evidence of any shenanigans, it would be before a judge right now there is none.

CARL HULSE, CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORK TIMES: And you wonder why people don't want to go into public service, right, because that's the reward you get. You know, I think this is the future, unfortunately. This has really gotten deep, and I think it's going to get worse before it gets better. There's a certain huge segment of the public now who just will not believe in any election result that doesn't go their way. And it's going to take some work to counter that.

KASIE HUNT, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Here's one thing I will say though, I think it is encouraging that we saw across the board, including in Arizona but also in other states that many people who focused on election denial as the main central part of their platform did not win their elections.

There were Republicans who did win statewide elections, Brian Kemp, Brad Raffensperger, a Secretary of State in Georgia who were honest about their state's election results who had policy differences with the Democrats and who went on to win their elections and I think that it's important that we know and that we focus on the Americans.

And, yes, there are swing voters, there are people in the middle, there are people who are sick and tired of, you know, obviously, there are a lot of people out there who still believe this nonsense. But it goes to the importance of leadership, and our leaders telling the truth about this stuff, and also for all of us to lift up those people who actually saw what really happened.


KING: Right. It's a critical point and most Republican candidates, even those who might have had a history of either directly or tangentially supporting election lives, most of them concede it, which was a big significant development, this midterm election.

Arizona, I call Arizona ground zero because not only was it so prominent in 2020, with the candidate for governor Kari Lake, the candidate for Secretary of State Mark Finchem, both of whom lost have still yet to concede, and they continue to support this peddling, which gets to the risk, the risk that we saw on January 6th at the United States Capitol. This is Jeh Johnson, the former homeland security secretary say the risk here is that politicians lie, people believe them. And then some people take it to an extreme.


JEH JOHNSON, FORMER HOMELAND SECURITY, OBAMA ADMINISTRATION: The Arizona is the focal point right now. And people really do listen to their leaders. People really do listen to those with the microphone, those with the public voice. And those who tap into suspicion, conspiracy theories, grievance, are playing with fire and do among the deranged within us who live within us, make violence inevitable in my view.


KING: That's the risky part. And again, for those who say, oh, that'll never happen. We have the living, breathing example of January 6th right here in this town at the United States Capitol. Again, there's a difference between citizens who may believe things are just not true speaking out of hearing, they have every right to do that, even though it is just factually not correct. But Secretary Johnson is correct that you if you talk to the current people at Homeland Security, that's what they worry about, people who get do who have extreme views, who get ginned up and essentially welcomed off the fringe.

YASMEEN ABUTALEB, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Absolutely. And I think, you know, Arizona, there was fear that the -- this sort of showing in Arizona would be much more widespread than it ended up being in the elections. President Biden gave this speech just a few days before the election, sort of imploring people to accept the results. So it's -- it didn't play out at the scale, some people feared.

But still, you know, Kari Lake, ultimately, she did not win her race, but it was narrow. So there are still a lot of people who believe sort of the election denying conspiracy theory mongering candidates, and a lot of these races, although these Republicans didn't necessarily prevail, it was by very small margin.

So I think the country still needs to contend with the fact that there are a lot of people who still believe this, who still don't trust election systems. And it's going to be an ongoing challenge. Then, of course, you have former President Trump launching another campaign and still spewing all of this. So this problem has not gone away by any means.

The midterms played out better than people feared. But I think there's still a lot of work the country has to do, and they're still very much the threat of violence and people listening to their leaders and really distressing and acting on what their leaders are telling them to do.

HULSE: And President Trump has been, you know, fueling this himself with comments about this. This is one of the reasons you're seeing this big push in the lame duck to fix the Electoral Count Act before the end of the year to prevent January 6th repeat. And they know that they can only pass it before Republicans take control of the House, that's going to be one of the big deal.

KING: And to your point, and I appreciate optimism needs to be brought into these conversations. No, it's -- I'm serious about that -- Maricopa County does this very well. They proved right in 2020. You mentioned Georgia, the state where the governor and the Secretary of State stood up to Donald Trump, both Republicans stood up to Donald Trump in 2020.

They did a good job counting their votes again here in 2022. And they have a Senate runoff. There'll be a week from today to settle the Senate race and this is what we want in the democracy, people voting. Whether these are Democrats or Republicans, we don't know the answer to this.

But look at this. 502,000 people have cast early ballots in the runoff since Saturday. More than 300,000 voted yesterday, a single day record for early voting in the state of Georgia. So yes, the good side of democracy is when people participate and a week from tonight -- a week from today we will count those votes. So we hope you join us right here when we do.

[12:39:06] Up next for us, a winner take all World Cup match today between the United States and Iran, a pregame debate more about politics than soccer.


KING: This afternoon, there's a big World Cup match within the United States against Iran. The winner advances, the loser goes home. So it is a big game. And a game caught up in some bigger global political debates. The Iranians, for example, are playing amid simply remarkable months long protests for equal rights across their homeland. In their first World Cup match, the Iranian teen stood silent as the Iranian national anthem played.

In their next match on November 25th, they did sing during the national anthem and a source tells CNN that in between those matches, the Iranian players were called into a meeting and warned behavior the regime back home viewed as out of line could bring severe repercussions on their families, members of the U.S. team expressing sympathy and solidarity with the off field pressures their opponents are facing.


WALKER ZIMMERMAN, DEFENDER, U.S. MEN'S NATIONAL SOCCER TEAM: We know that they're all emotional, they're going through things right now. They're human. And again, we empathize with that human emotion. So we completely feel for them.


KING: Let's get some unique perspective from the journalist Jason Rezaian who was imprisoned by the Iranian regime for 18 months. Jason grateful for your time, especially on this day. The Secretary of State, the United States Secretary Antony Blinken today saying he doesn't think there's any particular geopolitical aspects to this other than we have what should be a competitive game.

Let the game speak for itself Secretary Blinken says. You wrote a fascinating I call him I just want to show the headline from it in "The Washington Post," I'm Team USA but it's more important that Iran advances in the World Cup.


So you have a somewhat different agreement than -- different position than Tony Blinken explain why?

JASON REZAIAN, OPINION WRITER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, look, I mean, I think Secretary Blinken's position is appropriately diplomatic. But ultimately, you know, keeping the Iranian team in the spotlight, during this time when nationwide protests have been going on for months now will ensure that Iran continues to be talking about, we're doing it right now.

And you know, the people the world watching the World Cup, billions of eyes on this match, will be talking about and thinking about what's going on in these two, inside Iran at the moment, and, you know, yes, the competition is not about politics, or variably that creeps into it, whether it's the World Cup or the Olympics, the U.S. and Iran have only played each other once before, in the World Cup back in 1998. And that was a historic moment. And I think today will be an equally historic moment as well.

KING: As someone who knows firsthand the brutality of the regime. Does it surprise you at all that you had this, the players not singing the anthem in the first match, and then called into a meeting and told the regime back home is watching your family's will face repercussions if you do not behave essentially, is that surprise you at all? Or is that straight in character?

REZAIAN: Look, I mean, I think the fact that they took that what might appear to many of us in the free world as a subtle protest and took the opportunity not to sing the national anthem, that's speaks volumes to me and anybody else who knows how this regime operates. No surprise to me at all that their families, and they themselves have been intimidated, because this is the way that the Islamic Republic has treated people who stand up to their power, always.

And I think it's a wonderful thing that CNN was able to source that information report on it. And now that these players are 100 duress, one more reason why the free world, even if you're a fan of Team USA, should be pulling for these guys to do the best that they can.

KING: You write in your column, which again, I really urge people go online and find it about this remarkable moment in 1998. They had a World Cup match where the Iranian players presented flowers to their American opponents.

So trying to make the case that, you know, our regime might be viewed unfavorably, but we're good people were good sports, we're a wonderful culture. What should the American team in your view, what would be a gesture today from the American team to show these players we understand, we're with you?

REZAIAN: Well, even if it was just a whisper in the ear that we've got your back we support you, we're your friends, I think that that will go a long way. I don't expect there to be a grand gesture on the field ahead of the game.

But I think that in the spirit of good sportsmanship and competition, a clean game where everybody treats each other well and respectfully, is a win for everybody. But I hope that there are some moments between plays and maybe before after the game where they could share some sentiments about support for the efforts of the Iranian people.

KING: Fascinating afternoon ahead Jason Rezaian grateful for your time today. Hope you enjoy the game, sir.

REZAIAN: Thanks, John.

KING: Thank you.


Up next for us, the Supreme Court hears arguments in a major immigration case.


KING: Just moments ago the Supreme Court wrapping up arguments on a critical immigration case. The test in this case is the President's authority to prioritize deportation. The Biden administration wants to focus enforcement on those it deems a threat to national security or public safety.

But two conservative states Texas and Louisiana are suing over this administration strategy. Let's bring in our CNN legal analyst Joan Biskupic, who's just back literally just back from the court.

JOAN BISKUPIC, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I am so just back from this, John.

KING: Walk us through the stakes of the case and what you glean from the arguments.

BISKUPIC: The stakes are really obvious, first of all, just at first blush, because it has to do with the Biden administration trying to set priorities and who will be apprehended and removed. You know, there are, you know, some 11 million undocumented non-citizens in the country. And what the administration is saying is it has to have priorities for the most serious offenders, people who are risk to national security, people have committed serious crimes.

Texas has said there's no room for that kind of discretion in federal immigration law. And today, the Supreme Court in an argument that went close to two and a half hours really grappled with what to do. They were very suspicious, I would say with the administration's priorities here. But they came smack up against the practicalities, the U.S. Solicitor General said in her arguments to the court. There's no money to not have priorities, to not try to delineate who gets picked up, who is subject to removal and who's not.

We can't take care of everyone. So why can't we have through our own executive discretion and what the court has allowed in past cases to say these are our priorities and Texas which has come to the Supreme Court in so many ways to challenge Biden administration priorities, has said no, there are black letter rules in in the federal law that you have to abide by. And Texas got some sympathetic justices, but they also got lots of scrutiny about if the court rules for Texas, what happens, what will happen on the ground, John.


KING: One of the many fascinating decisions. Now we wait for the arguments --

BISKUPIC: Yes, yes.

KING: -- thanks for hustling in for us. And thank you for your time today in Inside Politics. Ana Cabrera picks up our coverage after a quick break.