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Inside Politics

Hunter Biden Child Support Battle In AR Shines Spotlight On Family Finances; 2nd U.S.-Led Convoy Evacuates Americans From Sudan; President Biden Makes Remarks On First Republic Deal; Schumer: House Debt Limit Bill "Dead On Arrival"; Some Dems Urge Biden To Meet With McCarthy On Debt Limit; Sen. Cardin Says He'll Retire Next Year; McCarthy Stresses U.S.-Israeli Bond In Knesset Address. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired May 01, 2023 - 12:30   ET



KARA SCANNELL, CNN REPORTER: She saw him at a party and it was two days after she met him and spoke to him that she retained a lawyer and that he recommended the lawyer for her. And that all leading up to this lawsuit. You know, part of the defense here is that this is politically motivated. Conway, of force, is a big critic, former President Trump. John?

JOHN KING, CNN HOST: He is, indeed. Kara Scannell live for us outside the courthouse. Appreciate that important update.

Now to another important court case, very different case. Hunter Biden's Finance is taking center stage in a small Arkansas courtroom today. The President's son appearing before a judge is part of a child custody support battle -- the support battle, excuse me.

The years old paternity dispute began back in 2019, but escalated last week after the mother of one of Hunter Biden's children ask the Arkansas judge to hold Hunter Biden in contempt for failing, she says, to turn over finance documents. Today, the judge ordering Hunter Biden to answer more questions about his investments and his art sales under oath in a June deposition, a trial right now on the books for July.

And now, to the race to escape war torn Sudan. Another 100 Americans are safe in Saudi Arabia after evacuating over the weekend. The United States government launching two convoys to evacuate private citizens and escorting them to U.S. Navy ship in Port Sudan. The New York Times reporting that armed American drones flew overhead and guarded those buses as they made the 525-mile journey to the Red Sea.

Many evacuee say they are relieved to be safe, but are heartbroken to leave loved ones behind.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All my family is there, my mom, my dad (foreign language).


KING: Let's check in with CNN's Kylie Atwood at the State Department for the latest. Kylie, I guess one big question is how many Americans left?

KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: That's a really good question, John, and it's one that we really just don't have a definitive answer to at this point. As you said, there were two U.S. organized convoys that headed from Khartoum to Port Sudan over the weekend. And on those convoys were American citizens, also locally employed staff. Those are Sudanese folks who have worked at the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum and then, citizens from allied countries.

And the U.S. government, this is the first time that they had actually organized convoys for U.S. citizens actually, after quite a bit of pressure from those Americans saying that the U.S. government wasn't doing enough, because previously they had been referencing them to convoys that were led by allied nations or flights out of the countries by U.S. allies and their partners.

Also, over the weekend, we saw that there was a U.S. Navy vessel that was at Port Sudan. And this morning, we're hearing from our colleagues at CNN International who spoke with the U.S. official on the ground in Jeddah, that there were about a hundred Americans that were on that Navy vessel that went from Port Sudan over to Jeddah, bringing those Americans obviously to safety.

As you said, the remaining question is how many Americans still want to leave Sudan. And according to the State Department, they have facilitated about a thousand Americans to get out of the country that's working, you know, with their allies and partners. And they say there are less than 5,000 who have reached out for some kind of support from the U.S. government.

Not all of those Americans want to leave. So we'll be watching to see how that demand continues to mount or continues to lessen over the course of the next few days and weeks. But, of course, we know there was that 72-hour ceasefire that was agreed to on Sunday that could make conditions a little better. But still fighting continues. John?

KING: Fighting continues complicating everything.

Kylie Atwood for us at the State Department. Keep us posted. Appreciate that update.

I want to take you now live to the White House. The President of the United States, this is a small business event, but he's talking about the First Republic deal over the weekend. Let's listen.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: -- and ensure that all depositors are protected and that taxpayers are not on the hook. These actions are going to make sure that the banking system is safe and sound, and that includes protecting small businesses across the country who need to make payroll for workers and their small businesses. And so, let me be very clear: While depositors are being protected, shareholders are losing their investments. And, critically, taxpayers are not the ones that are on the hook, as I said earlier.


But going forward, I've called on Congress to give regulators the tools to hold bank executives accountable. And I've called on regulators to strengthen regulations and supervision of large and regional banks.

And, folks, we have to make sure that we're not back in this position again, and I think we're well on our way to be able to make that assurance. And as I said to my introducer, Jill, a moment ago, she's really impressive, isn't she?


And the guy sitting next to her, if you disagree with me, it's her husband, and you're in deep trouble. Welcome, man. Speaking of small business, you got your own small business. And I want to thank you.


Look, folks, we -- we've got a lot to do. And the most immediate thing we can do is ensure the continued reliance of our economy and the financial system. The most important thing we have to do in that regard is to make sure the threat by the Speaker of the House to default on the national debt is off the table.

For over 200 years, America has never, ever, ever failed to pay its debt. To put in the capital -- in colloquial terms, America is not a deadbeat nation. We have never, ever failed to meet the debt. Now, as a result, we're one of the most respected nations in the world. We pay our bills, and we should do so without reckless hostage-taking from some of the MAGA Republicans in Congress.

And, folks, now for the reason we're here. We're all here today because I want to thank Jill and all of you -- and Jill was last year's winner, as you all know for her introduction and for the hope --

KING: President of the United States in the Rose Garden at the White House. Two big issues the President talking about there before he gets to a discussion about small businesses. Number one at the top, the President defending, offering reassuring tones about the decision over the weekend.

Federal bank regulators to seize First Republic Bank and then sell it to JPMorgan. The President says more needs to be done in the bank regulations sector, but he's confident that this was the right thing to do here.

And then lastly, just before we broke out there, criticizing again, the President criticizing the House Republican Debt Relief Plan. We'll have more on that conversation after a quick break. This debt relief standoff Republicans say it is well past time for the President to negotiate, but Senate Democrats get the next word, and they want to first dissect that House Republican plan. They say it would force painful spending cuts.



KING: Senate Democrats today are promising to take a very close look at the House Republican debt ceiling plan, but do not, for a second, take that as progress toward a deal. The Senate majority of the Chuck Schumer writing a dear colleagues' letter this morning saying this, quote, "This bill was hastily drafted and forced through the house at break next speed." That letter went on to say, "Beginning this week, our committees will begin to hold hearings to expose the true impact of this reckless legislation on everyday Americans."

Our reporters still at the table with us. So the idea is, when do they start to negotiate or will they negotiate? That tells you first the Senate Republicans think we can have some political gain here. Let's take a bludgeon to this.

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Look, this is theatrics what the Senate Majority Leader is suggesting. They're not trying to advance a bill that could avoid the dead ceiling. They want to go after Republican plan because they believe that going after what the Republicans proposed, it's politically advantageous, even though the Republican plan has no chance of becoming law.

Really, there are a few different options here. One is actually have a negotiation here, one that is something that the White House says they're not going to do because they believe that debt ceiling should be increased without any condition. Today in Israel, Speaker McCarthy made clear, there'll be no debt ceiling increase with -- that would be simply a clean increase.

There must be some condition. So one side has to cave. The question will be, whether Democrats will break ranks from the White House pressure Biden to come to the negotiating table. Perhaps, we need to get a little bit closer to that deadline, which could be in June, July before things get really, really serious because right now it's still theatrics and posturing.

KING: All right, so among those Democrats, Joe Manchin said he should negotiate today. Joe Manchin, West Virginia, hasn't declared his candidacy on the ballot in 2024. Incredibly tough state. Jon Tester in Montana, someone else to keep an eye on a Democrat in a big Trump win state. You know, what are they going to do?

So Bernie Sanders trying over the weekend to offer the solution. The Republicans say we want to negotiate all at once. The President says, debt ceiling clean, but if you want to talk about budget cuts after, first, raise the debt limit, then we can talk about the budget. Bernie Sanders says, why don't we give it a try?

Combine the two. Everybody say they're doing it the way they want. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: Well, I think we can start negotiating tomorrow, but you cannot be holding the American people or the world's economy hostage. What the Republicans have got to say is, absolutely, we are going to make sure that we pay our debts. Let's sit down and negotiate a budget.


KING: The question is, that's -- if everybody stays in their current position, that's the only way to do it. If Biden says he won't negotiate the debt limit, Speaker McCarthy cannot do it, quote unquote, separately. So it'd have to be done on two pieces of paper, but done at the same time. Right?

ISAAC DOVERE, CNN SENIOR REPORTER: Yes. I mean, but then you have to agree to do the thing that's getting around the agreement, that's an agreement in itself, right? And like, hey, it's no big deal if they don't figure it out, it's a big deal just --

KING: No wonder that people out there think this town is nuts.

DOVERE: Yes. But it does seem like, you know, we can get lost in the Washington speak of this back and forth. Like, who's going to cave? Who's going to -- where the standoff is. This is, you know, just the full faith and credit of the United States. It's up in the air here and like, would have potentially disastrous effects for the U.S. economy and for the global economy.

We can't lose sight of that. That's what we're talking about here. Now the problem is that this becomes, who's going to be the one responsible? Is Joe Biden the one responsible because he says, I won't negotiate and won't get to that place? Or the Republicans the one responsible because they're -- they keep pushing to have these things and say they won't pass the increase without them?

KING: And that's the -- dance is the wrong word because you're right, it's seriously, you keep trying to use because it's Washington. You keep trying to use the, oh, you know, it's just show, it's just theatrics.


But you're right about the consequences. And we should be clear all the time about that. Even volatility in the financial markets as you get closer to the cliff, can damage the U.S. economy, can damage your 401(k) at home, can, you know, lead to things so you have the banking issues on top of it and the global economy.

But that's what we just heard the President before he went to the break at the small business event, before he got to small business, he wanted to criticize McCarthy and the MAGA Republicans. This is all about positioning to try to convince the people watching at home. If we get there, who's to blame? FRANCESCA CHAMBERS, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, USA TODAY: Yes. And you certainly don't want to be launching your 2024 presidential campaign and then having a debt default land at your front door regardless of who's fault it is or isn't. And now what you hear Democrats saying is, OK, we're willing to negotiate some cuts. Now they're targeting wasteful spending.

You heard Bernie Sanders say that over the weekend too. Interestingly, he wanted to go after what he called wasteful spending in the Pentagon. That is not what's on the White House's list. What they would like to do is they would like to go after laborer law violations is something that they listed.

They think you can spend less money on prisons. They think you could get money out of negotiating with drug prices, some Medicare, Medicaid stuff. They also want to go after what they called special interests. They are saying that you can look at subsidies for oil and gas companies as well. Now are those going to fly with Republicans? Probably not, but that's an opening position.

RAJU: Yes.

KING: And so part of the challenge in divided government like it or not, the House Republican's going to have to get something and the President's going to have to get something along with the Senate, Democrat. The Democrats and the Republicans are each going to have to get something, is what you think.

But right now it's about whose fault is it that they're not like this. Sitting at a table hashing it out. Kevin McCarthy's Deputy Steve Scalise says it's the President's fault.


REP. STEVE SCALISE (R), MAJORITY LEADER: President Biden is clearly trying to run out the clock and create a debt crisis, that's irresponsible. Republicans at least said if the President's going to sit this one out, we're not. We're going to lead. We passed a bill to address the problem.

It's time now for the President to get in this game, get off the sidelines, and let's start negotiating and figuring this out. Not in June when we get to the midnight hour, but today.


KING: Yes. To Isaac's point, those who follow the economy watch this town and say, really?

RAJU: Yes.

KING: You know, how close are Thelma and Louise going to get to the cliff before you get to the table? Beacon Policy Advisors in a memo, "This has caused some heartburn among policy makers, but not enough to move the negotiating needle in a meaningful way. There needs to be a bigger market response in a more definitive X-date to get negotiations going in full."

So the -- we have to have shakiness in the markets to get Washington to take it, like, let's put pride aside and sit down and talk?

DOVERE: Yes. This was a point that Barack Obama made as president a bunch of times, that he would say, and question whether you believe he's right, that the economy in his administration would've been in better shape, if not for all of the fiscal crisis. The fiscal cliff, the debt ceiling negotiations is those were always hurting the economy along the way.

Maybe he's right. Maybe he's wrong. I, --I didn't even take an economics class in college but I'm not the expert on that. But the other thing about it is these cuts that are being talked about are like, if you're going in to buy a car and negotiating over like the floor mats, it's not what would really change the fiscal health. It would be major cuts in social security or those sorts of things that would actually do that.

RAJU: Yes, but there -- and the reality is for the McCarthy word to cut a deal, there are folks, many folks within this conference that want this final deal to look at, like what they passed in the House, but it's not going to look like that what's passed in the House, if there's a deal. Those are all the dynamics that are going to be uphold (ph).

KING: Right. So every -- at the moment, everybody's working on the leverage part, but we got -- we'll go through this. It's May 1st, right? We're going to go through this for the entire month.

Up next, the House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, as we noted, he's in Israel, made a big speech today, and he made it clear where he stands on the war in Ukraine. Plus, another lawsuit in that ongoing feud between the Governor of Florida Ron DeSantis and Disney.



KING: Topping our political radar today, Senator Ben Cardin, a longtime fixture of Maryland politics, says he will not seek reelection next year. 79-year-old Democrat has served three terms in the Senate. Before that, he represented a Baltimore area House district for nearly 20 years. In his half century political career, Cardin has never lost an election.

Today, a state of emergency and a warning from the southern border. Hundreds and hundreds camped from the streets, waiting for a chance to enter the United States. El Paso's mayor says he is ready for May 12th. That's when Title 42, a pandemic error measure that lets the government expel migrants comes off the books. But May 13th, the mayor says a different story.


MAYOR OSCAR LEESER (D), EL PASO, TEXAS: Our biggest concern is after talking to some of the asylum seekers that have come in that, they're under the impression that, after May 12th, they will have asylum into our country. And we're trying to explain to them that that's not true. Our border's not open today. Our borders will not be open on May 12th.


KING: A board appointed by Governor Ron DeSantis to oversee Disney special taxing district voted today to sue the entertainment empire in a Florida state court. The board's chair said there was, quote, no choice but to respond that after Disney filed its own suit just last week.

This is the latest in a 14-month feud. It began after Disney went on the record, opposing a Republican-backed state law, restricting lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity in Florida schools.

The House speaker Kevin McCarthy in Israel today, he became the second speaker to address the Israeli parliament, the Knesset. He stressed the importance and the strength of the U.S.-Israeli relationship. And later, he pushed back on a Russian reporter's question that Ukraine somehow losing support from Speaker McCarthy and the Republican Party.



REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY, HOUSE SPEAKER: I vote for aid for Ukraine. I support aid for Ukraine. I do not support what your country has done to Ukraine. I do not support your killing of the children either. And I think for one standpoint, you should pull out and I don't think it's right. And we will continue to support because the rest of the world sees it just as it is.


KING: Lighter note here, prior to his speeches today, McCarthy's Israeli counterpart serenading the House Speaker with an homage to his home state.




KING: Well, The Eagles is always good.

Thanks for joining in INSIDE POLITICS today. We'll see you tomorrow.

"CNN NEWS CENTRAL" starts after a break.