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Inside Politics

DeSantis Delivers State Of The State, 2024 Preview; Biden Admin Considers Detaining Migrant Families; Tucker Carlson Downplays Jan. 6 Riot With New Footage; Two Survivors Of Mexico Kidnapping Back In U.S. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired March 07, 2023 - 12:30   ET



NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: And you see that he is positioning himself as a cultural warrior that actually has implemented a lot of these big-ticket items that a lot of conservatives want to see get done, whether it's banning drag queens and/or drag queen shows, or looking at the rights of transgender kids and restricting those rights.

He says in almost every speech, Florida is where woke goes to die. And you see that agenda list there are really making good on that claim he wants to make about for them.

JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Which begs the question, again, I said the most far right or far left that's probably not fair but, I mean, of a serious, credible candidate.


KING: Somebody who right now if you look at the polling, he's right up there with Trump. Trump as a lead to Santos right there. If you look at most of the polls there, everyone else is way far behind them. Kevin Madden, veteran Republican strategist poses this question, essentially, is he going so far Trumpy?

I don't even know if right left apply anymore. But is he going so far to that the MAGA base of the party that he can -- can he win a general election. Kevin says this way, it's legitimate concern that's going to have to be dealt with at some point.

Right now is focused on cultural issues doesn't really play as cleanly in areas of the country that really matter in a general election, which other suburban areas around the United States. He's clearly has considerable appeal with the base. Is he overdoing it?

JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS, CONGRESSIONAL EDITOR, THE NEW YORK TIMES: I mean, I think it remains to be seen, but I think what we know about the Republican Party right now, what we've seen in the last several years is that you cannot emerge victorious from a primary unless you appeal to that base of the party.

And, you know, I think he really is trying to fill a vacuum here, right, because Donald Trump has declared his candidacy and he's been talking for many, many weeks about what his vision is. But Ron DeSantis is in a position to do some of these things. We hear -- we see some of those same legislation being introduced on Capitol Hill by House Republicans, right?

They want to -- they've just introduced a parental Bill of Rights. They've talked about restricting abortion further, they want to talk about wanting to expand Second Amendment rights, but they are in a position where they can't accomplish any of that. And the Republican Party is very hungry for someone to say, not only am I talking about this stuff, but I'm doing this stuff and that's what DeSantis is offering.

KING: And it's not only a test ideologically, it's a test of whether old school rules apply in the sense that my first campaign was covering Governor Michael Dukakis of Massachusetts, written off nationally was the nominee for president Alost (ph). George W. Bush, the governor -- sitting governor at the time.

There's a great advantage to being a sitting governor, especially in DeSantis' case with a very friendly legislature back home, that you can react as you go. You can do things as the story and the politics developed or the primary season, you can do things at home that help.

CATHERINE LUCEY, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: That's right, and your -- you use your state then as your argument, this is the lab testing out all these policies. This is where you show that you were able to do this and, yes, a lot of governors have done that. They say, here's what I did in Texas, here's what I did in Florida.

But I do think it does become a general election problem potentially should he become the nominee of Donald Trump lost in 2020. And a key reason was these swing suburban areas. And a lot of women voters who want to hear about the economy.


LUCEY: They are concerned about other issues. And you're not hearing a lot about that right now.

KING: But that was the beginning of what I think is a fascinating test for the Republican Party. Continue the conversation as we go.

Up next, team Biden considers another Trump like immigration change. On the table, detaining migrant families who enter the United States illegally.



KING: President Biden now considering reinstating a version of an immigration practice used during both the Obama and the Trump administrations. A policy candidate Biden -- President Biden once called an affront to human dignity. Two administration sources telling CNN the Biden White House is discussing detaining migrant families who illegally cross into the United States.

CNN's Priscilla Alvarez joins our conversation to share this new reporting. The President of the past has said bad idea. Why is it on the table now?

PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Not just that, he ended the practice but they're considering it again. Now this is coming against the backdrop of that May date when that COVID era border restriction known as Title 42 ends, and that has allowed authorities to turn certain migrants right back into Mexico.

With that coming to a close, it means more people coming in potentially and the administration is deeply concerned about that. Now, of course, it's under consideration. A Homeland Security spokesperson tells me it's no decisions have been made. But it's a pivot all the same.

And it really paints a picture of an administration concerned about what's to come in the summer on -- around the corner of a presidential election and having to drop a vision that they had outlined at the beginning of the administration, because of those concerns. And it's one advocates are deeply upset about saying that this is inhumane and that Biden essentially disappointed and led them astray.

KING: Advocates don't like it, progressives in the Democratic Party won't like it, it will be another thing progressives are not happy about the D.C. crime bill being another version and yet.

HENDERSON: Yes, in yet politics, right? I mean, if you think about the big weaknesses that Biden has, if and when he decides to run for president, one is crime, and we saw some of the effects of that in recent campaigns and then the border issue as well. And so that's why you see him acting in this way. He's trying to, you know, write these issues that are going to be a problem for him going forward.

KING: And so, as you jump in, I just want to show, this is Southern border encounters, a graphic and this number on another network, you see it quite a bit except for the part of the right. It is suddenly coming down.


So if you're the Biden administration, this is a collision between, you've been grappling for more than two years to try to come up with an effective policy. And now you're heading into a year where this is an incredibly powerful political issue.

HIRSCHFELD DAVIS: Right. It's not just politics, it's also the practicalities on the ground. And I think that's what is driving us. As Priscilla said, Title 42 is slated to come to an end. And what this administration internally is talking about is they know very well, as anyone who has followed on these immigration flows knows that they're very responsive to public messaging from the government.

They know that if the message is OK, we're lifting this restriction and more people are going to come in, and they're already more people coming in, then the system can really support. I mean, we've seen this on multiple levels.

So the question for them is, how are they going to respond to that even though the flow maybe, you know, slightly declining right now, they know that in the spring, in the summer, there's always an uptick, and it's going to be a much bigger uptick than we've had in the past, given the end of the --

KING: And so it's an incredibly difficult issue. It has been for decades. The Democratic President knows very little prospect of getting anything done with the Republican House. Still, they have to make this decision, or they're considering this decision. If they do this, how does the President of the United States square it with the President of the United States?


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: All the policies are underway, we're not helping at all, did not slow up the amount of immigration. I make no apologies for any programs that did not exist, before Trump became president, that have an incredibly negative impact on the law, international law, as well as on human dignity. And so I make no apologies for that.


KING: How do you square that especially the part about human dignity, which he promised would guide his immigration policy?

LUCEY: This is a hard one to square. He campaigned saying that he would end a number of these Trump immigration policies. Some of them they have maintained or extended. Obviously, now there's at least a conversation about whether they go back to this. They are saying, you know, if they were to, you know, renew some kind of detention policy, it will be done, you know, under the legal rules in terms of number of days.

But there's a lot of things they'd have to do in terms of figuring out how this would work. For a budget standpoint, where are they find the facilities to house people, and they'll be a lot of scrutiny as there always is, with anything that involves children.

KING: This got -- this came up in the Obama administration as well. Trump got a lot of heat for it. Do they have a plan to make it less than affront to human dignity as the President's own words?

ALVAREZ: Well, sources say that the time that they'd be in there would be less so they wouldn't be there for extended periods of time. But look, it comes down to political realities and on the ground realities. They're trying to square both. It's a very hard thing to do when a system can't handle it as it is laid out today. And that means making tough calls.

KING: That's great reporting. Appreciate your sharing with us.

Up next for us, Tucker Carlson and his repulsive January 6 whitewash. The Fox host tries to rewrite history. And among those furious are the family of a deceased Capitol police officer.



KING: Come January 6 facts to weigh alongside Tucker Carlson's new January 6 fantasy. The Justice Department says 1,000 people are facing federal or local charges. Nearly 1/3 of them are charged with assaulting, resisting or impeding officers or Capitol employees that day. 140 police officers were assaulted when the pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol that day.

Your eyes did not lie when you saw the windows smashed and the barriers breached. Your ears did not deceive you. "Hang Mike Pence and "Find Nancy" were among the outrageous we all heard chanted during the assault. But Tucker Carlson now is lying and deceiving his own loyal viewers.

Speaker McCarthy, you remember, gave the Fox host exclusive access to thousands of hours of footage.


TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: We're going to get instant with footage that shows you what was actually happening inside the Capitol. The footage does not show an insurrection or a riot in progress. Instead, it shows police escorting protesters to the building.


KING: Now, remember the man you just saw there helped Donald Trump lie that the 2020 election was stolen. He now wants you to believe the anger and the violence we all saw that day was the exception.


CARLSON: The crowd was enormous. A small percentage of them were hooligans, they committed vandalism. You've seen their pictures again and again. But the overwhelming majority weren't. They were peaceful. They were orderly and meek. These were not insurrectionists. They were sightseers.


KING: CNN's Sara Murray joins our conversation. Sara, you have spent hours and hours and hours covering the January 6 committee hearings, covering a lot of these cases, making their way through the courts. You know that what he's just said there is fantasy.

Before you jump in, I just want to say he -- they have trained people to say don't believe people like us. How about Republican senators?


SEN. JOHN THUNE (R), SOUTH DAKOTA: There were a lot of people in the Capitol at the time, who I think were scared for their lives. So you can, you know, however you want to describe it, but it was a -- it was an attack on the Capitol.

SEN. KEVIN CRAMER (R), NORTH DAKOTA: I think that breaking through glass windows and doors to get into the United States Capitol against the orders of police is a crime.

SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY (R), IOWA: The point is what happened that day shouldn't have happened.


KING: Three quite conservative members of the United States Senate essentially saying not true. Why?


SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, because it's not true. Because Tucker Carlson is trying to whitewash, you know, what happened on January 6 he sort of went through. He cherry picked the moments in this video where, you know, they were not showing the violence that was unfolding.

It was not showing rioters who were attacking police, it was not showing the moments that Brian Sicknick, who we know lost his life the next day, was being tear gassed and then trying to recover from being attacked by rioters. He chose not to play those moments. He chose to play some of these moments of relative calm.

I think that's why we're seeing, you know, this pushback from Republican senators. That's why we saw outrage today from the head of U.S. Capitol Police. That's why we are seeing, you know, very reasonable outrage from the Sicknick family after what Tucker Carlson tried to do last night.

KING: And if you watch Tucker Carlson again, he tried to help Donald Trump convinced the country the election was stolen when it was not. He dabbles in conspiracy quite a bit. Last night, he was talking about the QAnon Shaman who was charged -- we'll get to the charges in just a minute. Tucker Carlson says he was just a feature guest.


CARLSON: The Capitol police never stopped Jacob Chansley. They helped him. They acted as his tour guides. We counted at least nine officers who are within touching distance of unarmed Jacob Chansley. Not one of them even tried to slow him down. Chansley understood that Capitol Police were his allies.


KING: That is Tucker Carlson's take. Capitol Police have testified, many of them said they were just grossly outnumbered and they were not going to pick and choose who they're going to have confrontations with. But there's also other video of the shaman, Mr. Chansley, going through the Capitol.

You see him there as part of the initial breach. Then you see him later in the Senate chamber, where he's up on the dais as if he's a member of the United States Senate. He is serving a 41-month sentence. He was one of the first rioters in the building. He asked Trump for a pardon.

Tourists don't ask for pardons. I don't think. He was on the left a note on the Senate dais saying. "It's only a matter of time. Justice is coming." And he yelled as he went through the Capitol, "Mike Pence is an f-ing traitor." Just a tourist?

HIRSCHFELD DAVIS: Clearly not. And, I mean, what's striking to me actually, is that Tucker Carlson and his team had access -- exclusive access to these thousands and thousands of hours of tape and didn't actually find or at least they didn't show anything that really does change our understanding of what happened that day.

You see video of the QAnon Shaman and others sort of milling through the hallways, but we don't know what the key moments were before and after that. And until they released the video to the rest of the media, we won't know. Sources that we've talked to you at the times say that there isn't really a lot that the count -- that counters that narrative at all.

And as Tucker said on his own show, most of it is really not that revealing. What is quite revealing, though, is aside from the senators who's the video you played and the Republican side, the House Republicans are very much rallying around this. The House Republican Conference tweeted this video of Tucker Carlson's segment today saying must watch.

This is a rewriting history that is being embraced by the Republican Party.

KING: Right.

HIRSCHFELD DAVIS: Even if there are some senators within the party who are willing to say --

KING: Well, 130 something of those House Republicans even after the attack on the Capitol tried to block the certification of the Electoral College. So they want to rewrite whitewash, wipe away, minimize the history of that day.

You mentioned Officer Sicknick. I feel nervous doing this. I don't like to do this. I don't like to put families back through the pain. They have suffered every time they see this video. But here's Tucker Carlson's take on Officer Sicknick.


CARLSON: By all appearances Sicknick is healthy and vigorous. He's wearing a helmet, so it's hard to imagine he was killed by a head injury. Whatever happened to Brian Sicknick was very obviously not the result of violence he suffered at the entrance to the Capitol.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KING: Now we can show you some video of Officer Sicknick outside the Capitol where he was pepper sprayed or bear sprayed as they call it. When he was trying there to hold the line before the line collapsed. I guess he went inside and he may have cleaned up and he may have felt the sting out of his eyes but he died the next day.

The medical examiner says was of natural causes, that he suffered a couple of strokes. But he died the very next day. And his family says the Sicknick family is outraged. "The ongoing attack on our family by the unscrupulous and outright sleazy so-called news network of Fox News who will do the bidding of Trump or any of his sycophant followers. Every time the pain that day seems to have ebbed a bit, organizations like Fox rip our wounds wide open again and we are frankly sick of it."

HENDERSON: Yes, I mean, it's horrible for that family. It's horrible for the officers who had to live through that to see this and this attempt to erase what they had to go through, the pain, the fear, the trauma of having to hold off that mob. They were vastly outnumbered. That's why you see them sort of seeming to kind of have hands off with some of the folks who were there.

But listen, this is exactly what Kevin McCarthy wanted. He wants this kind of rewritten. He wants it downplayed and you see Donald Trump coming out saying because of Tucker Carlson's lies about this, everyone should be freed, who has been detained due to January 6.


KING: And again. to the Sicknick family and others, I don't lightly re-air that video, we just think it is necessary to put the whitewash that you're seeing into factual context. We'll be right back.


KING: Quick update now on the two surviving Americans who were kidnapped in Mexico. A source telling CNN the two victims are now back in the United States in the care of the FBI.

Thanks for your time today in INSIDE POLITICS. We'll see you tomorrow. Abby Phillip picks up our coverage right now.