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Inside Politics

Dow Rises After UBS Agrees To Buy Credit Suisse; Fed Mulls Another Rate Hike Despite Banking Turmoil; Trump Seizes On Potential Indictment To Fuel 2024 Campaign; DeSantis Rails Against "Political Agenda" Of Prosecutors; House GOP Chairs Ask For Testimony, Doc From Manhattan DA; American Hostage Freed After 6 Years In West Africa; U.N. Climate Report: Planet Is Ticking Time Bomb; Biden, "Ted Lasso" Cast Team Up To Promote Mental Health. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired March 20, 2023 - 12:30   ET



MATT EGAN, CNN BUSINESS REPORTER: And a U.S. official telling CNN's Phil Mattingly and I that deposits at the small and midsized regional banks that they have stabilized, that those massive deposit outflows, they've either eased or stopped or even reversed altogether. And that is really important.

I think at the end of the day, why this really matters to real people is less than about whether or not your money is safe in the bank. We know the FDIC insures up to $250,000. It's really about what this does to the economy, because the longer the bank crisis lasts, the more expensive it's going to be to borrow, right?

Mortgages, car loans, credit cards, small business loans, all of them are going to be harder to get and more expensive. And John, the concern is that the longer that lasts, the greater the risk that this ends up causing the recession that everyone's been so worried about.

JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Which is why we'll watch throughout the week, a, the banking stocks, b, the Fed's decision, and more. Matt Egan, appreciate you're kicking us off.

Let's get some more insights now from Bloomberg Peggy Collins. So it's an extraordinary step. The Swiss government steps in, essentially sells UBS want to ne help you take over our Credit Suisse. Done like that, they think they've put out a fire. The question is, did they put it out the right way? The Wall Street Journal editorial board saying, "In the biggest insult to the market, regulators will allow this deal to proceed without a vote of either bank's shareholders."

These are publicly traded companies, but the government came in and said, bam, you're married now. Is there long term ramifications of that or is it use of -- is it the necessary use of power in this case?

PEGGY COLLINS, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, BLOOMBERG: Well, I think there will be precedents that are set. They did change some of the rules. You know, they, in some ways, put shareholders, equity stock shareholders, ahead of bondholders, which is not the traditional way that these situations go.

But I think it was clear that they felt like they could not let a global bank like Credit Suisse go down. It's connected to so many other markets, including in the U.S. and that's why we also saw Treasury and Fed officials come out very quickly last night and say that they welcomed the deal as well with -- as well as a lot of other central banks around the world.

KING: And so your team at Bloomberg has done this, a lot of others looking at it. Jane Smiley, who's a frequent guest on the program of the New York Times over the weekend tweeting out, "The Fed saw the big risk at SVB more than a year before its collapse. It put it under supervisor review. It put it under review risk management. It banned it from growing through acquisition. It didn't work. Now the question is why?"

It's a big question, as you're still in the middle of this developing crisis, or call it what you will. And Elizabeth Warren says Jerome Powell is to blame.


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), BAKING COMMITTEE: He's failing in both jobs, both as the oversight --


WARREN: -- and manager of these big banks, which is his job, and also what he's doing with inflation. I don't think he should be chairman of the Federal Reserve.


KING: The Senator blames the chairman to the question, it didn't work why? Do we know the answer?

COLLINS: I think that's still unfolding, John. As you said, we've been reporting and others around what happened with the regulators out in San Francisco in particular. Also, were there some changes that went down in 2018 that deregulated things almost too much and led to less regulation around small and mid-sized banks that could have led to this.

And then the question of FDIC insurance, where do we go from here? So I think we're only at the beginning of potential policy changes here.

KING: And one other big policy decision comes midweek, which is the Fed's interest rate decision. Again, if you're looking at the inflation fight, you would expect them to raise rates again. If you're looking at trying to say calm things down, you might say they'll take a time out. Do we know the answer there?

COLLINS: We don't yet, but Powell is in a tough spot, not only in terms of questions about regulation, but also in terms of what he does from here. So our reporting is showing that the market is basically either pricing in likely a pause in terms of interest rate rises, or potentially a quarter point basis point hike.

But they are in a tough spot, right? We're in a banking crisis right now, as you've seen. They've done a lot of action. You could pause and say, hey, we need to make sure nothing else breaks in the economy. But if you do pause, does that potentially indicate to people that there's something else underneath that you see that we don't yet?

KING: Uncertainty. As we begin the week, we'll call on you throughout it as we try to answer some of these questions. Peggy Collins, thank you.

Up next for us, Donald Trump trying right now to turn legal woe into a political game.



KING: Donald Trump is aggressively, aggressively might be an understatement, pushing to turn a legal showdown with the Manhattan district attorney into a boost for his 2024 presidential campaign. Former president says he expects to be arrested tomorrow. And fundraising emails were churning out over the weekend like this one, urging supporters to, quote, defend the greatest political movement in history.

Trump's son Don Jr. making clear that Trump allies are keeping score as they demand Republicans publicly stand with Trump. Look at this tweet from Donald Trump Jr. "Pay attention to which Republicans spoke out against this corrupt BS immediately, and who sat on their hands and waited to see which way the wind was blowing.

With me in studio to share their reporting and their insights. Seung Min Kim of the Associated Press, Nicholas Wu of Politico and Tia Mitchell of the Atlanta Journal Constitution. So pretty clear, President Trump believes he can benefit from this, at least in the immediate.

Gin up support, grievance, they're out to get me. Don Jr. says watch everybody as they step forward. Well, this morning, the governor of Florida, a potential 2024 rival, did speak out. Listen.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R), FLORIDA: I don't know what goes into paying hush money to a porn star to secure silence over some type of alleged affair. I just -- I can't speak to that. Ordinary Americans and all these different jurisdictions that they get victimized every day because of the reckless political agenda that these Soros DAs bring to their job.



KING: The last part was echoing Trump's argument, George Soros gave financial contributions. But the first part, that's a DeSantis dig at Trump, is it not, at his character suggesting to voters, remember, porn star, hush money.

SEUNG MIN KIM, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I mean, that is the classic. You can take a dig while try to say what you need to say to appeal to the broader base. And I was just -- it's kind of pretty deft if you have to respond because you saw the pressure actually build from Trump allies starting yesterday for DeSantis specifically to respond because you saw a bunch of leadership on Capitol Hill as well as other 24 candidates talk about this, you know, what the DA may or may not do.

But Trump allies are really singling out DeSantis and that's how DeSantis responded. So in kind of one little long sentence, you can -- not only distinguish yourself, but also align yourself with a base that wants support for Trump, even if they may not be voting for Trump themselves.

KING: But it does put the other 2024 prospects, whether they're declared or undeclared, in an odd spot in the sense that all those prospects hope that character questions or winning questions, can he win? Can he be competitive? Questions about Donald Trump help hurt him and help them. And yet, like Mike Pence, who is critical of Donald Trump on January 6, in this case, says, don't do it, Mr. Prosecutor.


MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I just feel like it's just -- not what the American people want to see. The American people are anxious about the future. And here we go again, back into another politically charged prosecution directed at the former President of the United States.


KING: This would be the first prosecution of Donald Trump. He's referring to congressional investigations and the like and the impeachments. I guess you could call that a prosecution. But this would be history. No American president, sitting or former, has been charged criminally.

NICHOLAS WU, CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER, POLITICO: It really is. We're going into uncharted territory here. And in many ways, it provides an opportunity for other Republican candidates to distinguish themselves from Trump. As Seung Min was saying that we saw DeSantis kind of tacitly make that comparison there in a way that we haven't seen from the rest of the field.

Nikki Haley, for example, has been, you know, making the case for herself affirmatively, but not in a way that, you know, really draws a bright line with Trump that might be necessary to come out in a primary.

KING: We have seen Donald Trump use this to his advantage in the past. The grievances, they're out to get me. It's a witch hunt in this case, they say, because the DA Alvin Bragg took contributions from George Soros. This is all about the globalists and George Soros. If you're somebody who's not a fan of Trump, like the governor of New Hampshire, and you're trying to find a lane. At this moment in time, you're thinking, damn it, this helps him.


GOV. CHRIS SUNUNU (R), NEW HAMPSHIRE: There's a lot of unknowns, I can tell you. I think it's building a lot of sympathy for the former president. I think the fact that I was with coffee this morning with some folks and there's -- none of them were big Trump supporters, but they all said, you know, they felt like he was being attacked.

This has nothing to do with January 6. There's folks out there that still think this has something to do with January 6.


KING: The question is, can he sustain it? There's no question. Again, whatever your views of Donald Trump at home, he is very good at this, at turning on the grievance machine. They're out to get me, rally the troops around you.

So even if you have doubts about Trump over this, that or the other thing, it's like you have to stand with Trump right now. If you're trying to find a path, an anti-Trump path, you see Sununu, people have sympathy.

TIA MITCHELL, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION: Right. And the question is, can he sustain it? The other question is, what is his ceiling? Because, yes, there are Republican voters that are standing with Trump no matter what, and they're ready to rally behind him. And we know that could be a plurality, for example, needed to win a primary.

But is that enough to sustain him in a general election? Is that enough to really sustain him with a wider electorate? Is the big question. And I think that's one that we see the Republicans not thinking about as much, because they're thinking in the parameters of a primary.

KING: One test of that number one, in one of his posts, he said, if it happens, if he gets charged, and that's still an if in his supportership protest. The other one is with their fundraising emails. I counted five or six just this over the weekend. How much money does he raise? Is there success?

A lot of that money ends up going to legal fees, I think. But we'll see. We'll continue the conversation next. The Trump effect on House Republicans. A retreat designed as a policy conference, instead overshadowed now as Trump allies vow to investigate the Manhattan prosecutor who is investigating Trump.


[12:49:12] KING: House Republicans are at what is supposed to be a policy retreat right now in Florida, but yet again under a Trump cloud. The event was meant to deliver focus on delivering on their policy promises. Now, though, more and more Republicans at that meeting, responding to the former president's claims that he believes he's about to be indicted.

This morning, Jim Jordan, who is the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, going on conservative TV to say he's asking the Manhattan district attorney to testify behind closed doors to his committee. That after Kevin McCarthy, the House Speaker, vowed Republicans would go on offense for Trump.

Our great reporters are back at the table. And so let's listen to Jim Jordan. Again, Donald Trump says he expects to be indicted and arrested this week. We don't know if that's going to happen. We're waiting. But already, Jim Jordan says to the Manhattan district Attorney, I want to talk to you behind closed doors for an interview.



REP. JIM JORDAN (R), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: President Trump announced he was going to run for president again, and suddenly, here they go. Now they're coming after him for some alleged bookkeeping error? You've got to be kidding me. So we want to know what kind of federal involvement may have may have taken place.


KING: It's the last part. Jordan's the master at this. What -- this is a New York Manhattan local prosecutor. We want to know what kind of federal involvement may have taken place. Is there any evidence of federal involvement here?

KIM: Well, that was my initial question when I saw the letter, because obviously, Congress generally has jurisdiction over federal issues, federal matters. But this Manhattan DA is a state official. It's a local official.

So, you know, Jordan's kind of putting out this wink wink, nudge nudge thing out in the ether. But broadly speaking, it's just -- it's really remarkable how House Republicans are really using the levers of government that they have to, you know, defend Trump as the president may or may not face this indictment this week.

And I think that perhaps Speaker McCarthy feels he has no other choice. We saw how reliant he is on that Trump flank to keep his speakership. But it really is a new level, what is going on here/

KING: And that's what makes it so interesting. If you're Jim Jordan, you got a very reliably Republican district. So this is safe for you, right? Standing up for Donald Trump is actually good for you back home. Kevin McCarthy, as you note, is dependent on that right flank that made him speaker, including Marjorie Taylor Greene. We'll get to her in a minute. But interestingly, Kevin McCarthy says, we want to investigate the investigator. We will use our power to look into what's happening here. But he did make one distinction from Trump. Trump, in one of his posts over the weekend, said he wanted his supporters to protest. Kevin McCarthy says, please don't.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: I don't think people should protest this. No. And I think President Trump, if you talk to him, he doesn't believe that either. We want calmness out there. Nobody for violence or harm to anything else.


KING: It is a -- and that is a key distinction born of memories of January 6, no matter how much House Republicans want to whitewash it. And the idea that if it gets violent or protest, that might hurt the party.

WU: I mean, that exactly is born out of the memory of January 6. We saw what happened there as Trump helped fan the flames, and many of his allies did. And here we have Republicans saying, you know, pump the brakes a little bit.

We have, you know, 18 or so House Republicans who are in districts won by Biden, right, where that kind of rhetoric, that kind of fiery rhetoric doesn't necessarily play as well as voters there. And so, you know, this is the kind of tricky line Republicans are going to have to walk on this.

KING: And Marjorie Taylor Greene, again, key to Kevin McCarthy's speakership. She was asked over the weekend, you know, people were saying, you know, Trump didn't say peaceful protest. He said protest. And she said, of course, he meant that.

"Americans have the right to assemble and the right to protest. Trump doesn't have to say peaceful for him to mean peaceful. Of course he means peaceful." She's not opposed to protests.

MITCHELL: No, she's not. And I mean, for Marjorie Taylor Greene, she's one of the staunchest Trump allies in the House, and she's going to -- she's defending him and defending the right to protest and defending his calls to protest.

I just find it so interesting that House members that wink Seung Min was talking about, because it's that wink of, you know, looking into the weaponization of the federal government, but in the process weaponizing the federal government to defend former President Trump.

People like Marjorie Taylor Greene are all for that, but also all for Trump's calls for whatever happens in the streets, of course, but giving themselves plausible deniability should anything become violent.

KING: Now, if the House Republicans proceed with this, they sent the letters to Alvin Bragg. We'll see how the case plays out. We'll see how the Congress plays out. Hakeem Jeffries, the Democratic leader says Democrats will participate and push back as aggressively as possible.

But listen here. This is Mark Kelly, Democratic senator from Arizona, just reelected. So he's got a six-year term. Not a lot to worry about in the short term. He says this is dangerous for the Manhattan prosecutor.


SEN. MARK KELLY (D), ARIZONA: I would hope that if they brought charges, that they have a strong case, because this is, as you said, it's unprecedented. And, you know, there are certainly, you know, risks involved here. But again, nobody in our nation is or should be above the law.


KING: Very careful there. Nobody's above the law, very clear about that. But a guy -- a Democrat from a purple state, again, even though he's got six years, where he has to go back for the voters, essentially saying, please be careful here.

KIM: Right. And it'd be interesting for him to elaborate on what risks mean. Like, there certainly could be political risks for Democrats here. Perhaps not, because, again, this is unprecedented. It is the indictment of a former president.

You know, it comes at a time when Republicans were already turning from the party, but, obviously, you know, just physical risks as well. And hopefully, you know, things remain calm, and that remains the case.

KING: Right. And the key to that --

KIM: Yes.

KING: -- is we wait. We wait the news. Again, Donald Trump saying he expects to be indicted and arrested tomorrow. We do not know that. We will watch the investigation play out in Manhattan.

Up next for us, freedom. An American held hostage, well get this, six years in Africa, soon be heading back home.



KING: Topping our Political radar today, an American citizen held hostage for six years in West Africa has been freed. Jeffrey Woodke is kidnapped and held in Nigeria while working there as an American aid worker.

Humanity is on thin ice, and that ice melting fast. That warning, courtesy of the United Nations Secretary General, made in tandem with a brand new United Nations report labeling the planet a ticking time bomb. The document says every nation needs to bump up their net zero climate goals by a decade to avert irreversible climate consequences.

And a special visit to the White House today. Jason Sudeikis and the cast of "Ted Lasso" will meet with President Biden and the First Lady to discuss the importance of mental health.

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