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Eight Killed, Seven Wounded In Shooting At Dallas-Area Outlet Mall; Countdown To Default: U.S. To Breach Debt Ceiling As Soon As June 1; GOP Demands Spending Cuts In Exchange For Debt Ceiling Hike; Trump Defends Access Hollywood Comments In Video Deposition; Administration Braces For Surge Of Migrants At The Border. Aired 11a- 12p ET

Aired May 07, 2023 - 11:00   ET



ABBY PHILLIP, CNN HOST: Welcome to INSIDE POLITICS SUNDAY, I'm Abby Phillip. And we begin this morning as we do too often in this country. Another mass shooting, this time, at an outlet mall in Allen, Texas, just outside of Dallas.

Eight people were killed, seven were injured. The gunman himself was shot and killed by a police officer who was at the mall on an unrelated call and heard those gunshots. A witness who helped perform CPR on victims described the horrific scene.


STEVEN SPAINHOUER, WITNESSED ALLEN, TEXAS SHOOTING: I never imagined in 100 years I would be thrust into the position of being the first, first responder on the site to take care of people.

The first girl I walked up to was crouched down, covering her head in the bushes. So I felt for a pulse pulled her head to the side and she had no face. No one can see what they saw today and not be affected by it. It's not a situation that I would wish upon anybody, J.D. [ph]. It's just unfathomable to see the carnage.


PHILLIP: The morning after we are waiting for more information from authorities. But here is more from the mayor of Allen, Texas last night.


KEN FULK, MAYOROF ALLEN TEXAS: Allen is a proud and safe city which makes today's senseless act of violence even more shocking.

However, I want to commend our police and fire departments for their quick response. Their thorough training not to hesitate to move toward the threat likely saved more lives today than what we could imagine.

(END VIDEO CLIP) PHILLIP: And just moments ago, President Biden ordered flags to be lowered to half-staff in honor of last night's victims. And here with me now to discuss this tragedy is CNN senior law enforcement analyst, Charles Ramsey.

Chief Ramsey this morning, it's 11:00 A.M. Eastern Time after an incident like this, a mass casualty incident in a very public place like a mall, we still haven't gotten a whole lot of information from law enforcement officials about exactly what happened here, about who the suspect was, about what could the motive possibly have been. What do you make of that?

CHARLES RAMSEY, FORMER WASHINGTON, D.C. POLICE CHIEF: Well, I can't explain that. I would -- I thought actually the press conference they had late last night, we would have gotten more information. And we actually got confirming the type of weapon that was used, although we have a photograph, but that still should be confirmed how that individual came to possess that particular weapon. Did he buy it outright? Was it private sale? Was it straw purchase? What are the circumstances? And certainly knowing more about the individual himself.

You know, you may not find a motive, sometimes you don't find a motive, but we should know more about him, you know, name, age, background, everything like that. And none of that has been given thus far, and that's unusual.

PHILLIP: Yes, it is a little perplexing. I wonder though you mentioned that that photograph that we just showed our viewers, the gunman appeared to have been wearing black, clad in body armor with multiple magazines of ammunition strapped to his chest, and what appears to be some kind of long gun. What does that tell you about what transpired yesterday?

RAMSEY: Well, he was going to do far more damage than he ultimately did. Had that officer not been there strictly by chance to be able to take him out that quickly, there's no telling what the death toll would have been. I mean, an assault weapon is obviously very deadly. He had several, several clips of ammunition, reload, keep shooting. It would have been far worse than it is now. And it's pretty bad now. But it would have been even worse had he -- had he not been killed.

PHILLIP: Yes. And just to follow up on that, because you mentioned it, the police officer was at the mall at the time of the shooting. So in terms of a response time, that was pretty much instantaneous, and yet, we're still talking this morning about eight dead and seven others injured. What's your response to that?

RAMSEY: Well, you know, most mass shootings, whenever you have situation like what we just saw last night and others where assault weapons were used in particular, you know, just a couple of minutes, you have multiple, multiple dead and wounded. It just does not take long at all.

These weapons are devastating. It's easy to reload, it's easy to fire. It just does not take long at all. And that's why no matter how fast and responsive police really are, you're always behind because you don't get the first 911 call until after the first shot is fired. That officer couldn't react until after you heard the first shot. And so you're already behind the curve when you take action, and in the meantime, people are dying.


PHILLIP: All right. Chief Charles Ramsey, thank you very much as always for joining us on all of that.

And let's discuss this and all and a whole lot more with CNN's Jeremy Diamond. Seung Min Kim with the Associated Press. Tamar Keith of NPR. And Ramesh Ponnuru of the National Review.

And as we've just been discussing, I mean, this is not an uncommon thing on any given day in this country for us to be sitting around a table and having to react to a mass shooting. Just to refresh folks on the numbers here. Since 2016, what we're talking about is an almost doubling of the number of mass shootings in America. This week, it is at a mall. Last week, it was a man with an AR-15, shooting five of his neighbors in a small Texas town.

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And, you know, I was at the White House last night as this was happening. And one of the things I couldn't stop to think about was the kind of routine nature of this, right?

From my perspective covering the White House, it's OK. Has the president been briefed yet? Is there a statement yet, you know. And you go through the same motions over and over again, and from a variety of perspectives.

I think in terms of the politics of this, and in terms of what can actually be done, clearly, we know the dynamics in Congress still have not changed. House Republicans are not going to allow anything in terms of gun control reform, to go through. President Biden, meanwhile, every time after one of these mass shootings, we've yet to actually get a statement from him. But typically, he quickly calls for an assault weapons ban, high capacity magazine ban, et cetera.

But we've heard President Biden say recently, he believes he has exhausted all of his executive action options. And yet at the same time, I think there is a strategic calculus that's been made. We don't hear him pounding this issue day in and day out. There is a calculus that's been made that it is so, you know, that there are no options in Congress. And perhaps, it's not worth the president using all of his political capital on something like this.

TAMARA KEITH, NPR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I do think that the White House sees this as a place where they can make headway with the American public, where the president and his message could potentially resonate with the public, because people are afraid, because going to the mall should not be a dangerous act, and, you know, shouldn't be a risky thing to do.

And I see this moving in the direction of the same messaging that the president has about a freedom agenda where he talks about, you know, freedom to go to the mall, freedom to go to the movies, sort of making that part of the reelection pitch.

And clearly, though, legislation isn't moving anywhere in Congress. And so it is on the state level. It is -- it's not an assault weapons ban, but it's talking about red flag laws and things like that. But a state like Texas, there's not going to be a lot of headway for gun safety.

PHILLIP: Yes. I mean, Texas has been moving pretty aggressively to loosen gun laws. I want you to just listen to the governor, Greg Abbott, talking this morning, actually, about this tragedy.


GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R-TX): We need to recognize a reality. What we've seen across the United States over the past year or two, and that is an increased number of shootings in both red states and blue states. People want a quick solution. The long-term solution here is to address the mental health issue.


PHILLIP: So there's no question. I mean, a lot of these people have mental health problems, but there are a lot of places in the world where there are mental health problems, where there are not shootings like this. But what's your reaction just generally to what he had to say?

RAMESH PONNURU, NATIONAL REVIEW EDITOR: Well, I think it's an example of what Jeremy was describing as the routinization of our politics on this issue. It's the same familiar argument that's been in this rut for a long time.

Obviously, it is not the case that you -- by doing something about mental health, can't do something about guns. Obviously, it's not the case that you can't attack the intersection of these things. If you can better identify people who pose threats and who should particularly not have access to guns.

I think one reason the White House is not moving more aggressively on this is though that they also understand that the public, even though it supports various gun control measures, doesn't have great confidence that any of them are actually going to make a difference with the kinds of violence we're seeing.

PHILLIP: It's such an interesting point because there is -- there's actually a huge divide between where the public is and how much that matters to elected officials, particularly on the right. And because of that, I think the public has become kind of numb to all of this. They -- I think it seems like there's a settling in of this feeling that nothing is going to change.

SEUNG MIN KIM, ASSOCIATED PRESS WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Right, right. And I think that in terms of political activity and public engagement, you're seeing it so much more in the state capitals. You have to recall after Nashville all the -- all the activity that we saw, not just with the three lawmakers who, you know, who two of them were eventually barred from this Tennessee legislature but just the activity from children, from their parents, from, you know, from school teachers who went to the state capitol to protest in favor of stronger gun restrictions.


But I think it's hard to -- you know, we've talked several times, even just in this block about how legislation seems so impossible right now. And Republicans will tell you, anytime you tell us to outright ban a class of guns, even if it's something like an assault weapons ban, which, you know, is not a common source of self-defense for the average citizen, Republicans will never be able to get on board with outright banning a certain type of weapon.

And when you feel -- when the Congress has gone, as far as you can, in terms of regulating who should get these kinds of guns, and not, which they did last year with the gun safety legislation that was signed into law, there's not a lot of options, at least with this congressional configuration that they can do with this.

PHILLIP: You know, I mean, in Texas, the Uvalde families are still trying to get them to raise the age to be able to buy a long gun in the country from 18 to 21. They can't even do that. So, you know, we're not even talking about banning a class of weapons, we're talking about just making it difficult for teenagers to get guns that kill a lot of people.

But standby, everyone. Coming up next, as the U.S. barrels toward default, President Biden is set to meet with Kevin McCarthy. So, will Biden agree to negotiate? We'll talk about it, next.



PHILLIP: In just two days, President Biden will meet at the White House with the four top congressional leaders as the clock ticks toward a potential default, which could come as soon as June 1st. And that is when the Treasury says, they will run out of money to pay the United States' bills unless Congress raises the debt ceiling as its done dozens of times before.

President Biden says, he'll tell Republican leaders that they need to do that again without any preconditions.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm going to reiterate to congressional leaders that they should do what every other Congress has done, that is past the debt limit, avoid default. And as I've said all along, we can debate where to cut, how much to spend, how to finally move the tax system where everybody been to pay their fair share, or continue the route they're on, but under -- not under the threat of default. (END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIP: Republicans, though, say that they will never agree to raise the debt ceiling without Democrats also agreeing to major spending cuts.


REP. JODEY ARRINGTON (R-TX): We've lifted the debt ceiling, and our proposal will pay our bills and protect the good faith and credit of the United States. But we're not going to give any politician, including the President, a blank check to continue to bankrupt the country.


PHILLIP: So in other words, the two sides are exactly where they've been, neither side is interested in negotiating. So what is the point?

KIM: The point of this particular meeting on Tuesday is to just kind of start that posturing that maybe frankly, start the posturing that we always see at the beginning of these congressional negotiations, because it is the first time that Biden and the speaker and then the other congressional leaders are meeting to talk specifically about this current crisis that we're seeing.

But, you know, going into it, the White House has emphasized over and over that when it comes to these negotiations on lifting a debt limit that they will not negotiate. And Kevin McCarthy and the House Republicans are still where they are and saying, you need to get some sort of spending changes and spending cuts -- four Republicans to agree to a debt limit.

So coming out of the meeting, I'm sure the leaders will go to the mics, you know, at the White House or on Capitol Hill say the exact same thing that they were saying before -- saying previously and headed to the meeting. And I do feel like it'll be some time before actual work is done to stave off that June 1st deadline.

PHILLIP: I mean, what does that really look like? I mean, if this is just the peacocking part of it all, then when -- at what point are we going to really be talking about actual talks?

DIAMOND: Are you saying that because we're like only three weeks away from it?

PHILLIP: I may or may not be saying that, because I'm looking at the calendar and it says May 7th.

DIAMOND: The clock is ticking. And if you're looking for signs of optimism, you're instead getting signs that both sides are hardening their positions. I mean, just yesterday, we saw 43 Senate Republicans, essentially circling the wagons around Kevin McCarthy, making very clear to a White House that often hopes, well, maybe Mitch McConnell will help us out that he is not going to and that the majority of the Senate Republican caucus is not going to be their off-ramp for this crisis.

I think where the White House stands heading into this meeting, they would like to see this go on two tracks; they would like to address the debt ceiling, and they would like to try and set up some kind of a formal process to do budget negotiations, talk about the potential for spending cuts. They're trying to find a win-win situation here, but I don't know if that's going to be possible.

PONNURU: That's right. That would be a situation where the Republicans can say, look, we got something in return for raising the debt ceiling. And the White House could say no, no, no, we just did a budget negotiation. And this completely, coincidentally, also raise debt ceiling at the same time. That is one scenario from getting out of this.

The other scenario, I think, would be actually hitting the debt limit or coming very, very close, having some kind of market jitters or market meltdown that causes people to settle.

PHILLIP: And right. Just to be like crystal clear about what that would mean, hitting the debt ceiling for a moment or even for longer. Moody's says it would cause the loss of 7 million jobs, 20% drop in stocks. We're talking about Social Security payments. Paychecks for government employees, higher mortgage payments, businesses that need to borrow, money would be affected. I mean, this would not be an inconsequential thing when we are -- we're really -- I mean walking a tightrope in -- on this economy right now.

KEITH: Right. And to be clear, this is not a government shutdown we're talking about which is the thing that happens almost every year. This is a more serious high stakes situation where the credit rating of the United States could get dinged and could make borrowing more expensive for everyone, including the United States which could make the debt even worse. So this is incredibly high stakes.


Usually, the way Congress and the White House, no matter the White House, no matter what Congress finds their way out of these things, is to find some sort of face saving solution. And some sort of forcing mechanism to allow them to say, well, I had to do it.

And it's not clear yet, as Ramesh said, it's not clear what the face saving solution is. And it may involve going up to the clip.

PHILLIP: Yes. One of the interesting factors here, though, obviously, is always the people behind all of this drama. In this case, it's President Biden and Kevin McCarthy. And when you listen -- I mean, well, first of all, let's just listen to what President Biden said about McCarthy this week.


BIDEN: I think he's an honest man. I think he's in a position now he had to make a deal that was pretty, you know, 15 votes, 15 votes that were he just about sold away everything that he at the far, far right. The MAGA Republicans really have put him in a position where in order to stay speaker, he has to agree -- he's agreed to things that may be believed but are just extreme.


PHILLIP: So McConnell has said, leave me out of it. McConnell and Biden do have a relationship that goes back far. What's the relationship with him and McCarthy?

KIM: I mean, it's certainly not the relationship between Biden and McConnell. These are two men -- Biden and the speaker, these are two men who have been in politics for a long time, but haven't had too much direct interaction.

Obviously, President Biden is a creature of the Senate. Kevin McCarthy rose to the ranks in the House. But the thing that to remember, too, is that they -- those two men are veterans of the really last nasty debt limit fight that we had in 2011. And I think both sides took away different lessons learned from that, for the Democrats, considering the near catastrophe that we saw that summer, you know, I guess, 12 years ago now.

There -- there's thinking that, you know, we can't negotiate. Look what happened the last time we got up to the break. That is our lesson learned. We are not going to do that again.

But the lesson -- the takeaway that House Republicans had is, well, back then, it was -- there was a democratic White House, democratic Senate, a House controlled by Republicans. They negotiated back then. Why isn't the president negotiating now? So that's --

PHILLIP: Well, the answer to your question is in this poll from the Washington Post-ABC News. Who would you blame for default among independents? Thirty-seven percent say, Republicans. Twenty-nine percent say, Biden. Twenty-four say, everybody else, both of them, right.

So in other words, I think the White House set looks at that. And I think in their gut, they feel like that's the truth of the matter as to why they are not coming to negotiate.

PONNURU: Yes. I think that's a miscalculation, because the question you'd want to ask is, if the economy is in poor shape, who do you blame, the Republicans or the president? And typically, people give the president credit and blame for the state of the economy.

I think they're miscalculating also about McCarthy, because they did not expect him to be able to unify the Republican conference in the House around a budget proposal as relatively quickly as he did. That has strengthened his position and they're still acting as though he is -- it's about a month and a half ago.

PHILLIP: I want to take a moment just because this new -- same ABC News-Washington Post poll, some new numbers this morning, really eye opening for this president and for the White House. An approval rating at historic lows, 36 percent for President Biden, 56 percent disapproving.

And then on the question of his mental acuity, they really asked voters Biden versus Trump, 54 percent say Trump has what it takes mentally to serve as president. And only 32 percent say Biden does.

I mean, the White House wants to put this issue away -- I mean, the president's campaign, but they're not going to be able to with numbers like this.

DIAMOND: Yes. And I think it's interesting, because this is an issue that President Biden has been confronting for some time now. And that the White House has tried to address, and yet, these numbers aren't moving. They are moving in the president's direction, certainly.

And so as President Biden's famous response is, watch me, and as has been noted to him, most recently, the American people have been watching you and this is still what they're saying.

PHILLIP: Well, he also tried out a new argument in an interview this week. Just take a listen to what he had to say about this question as well.


BIDEN: It required a hell of a lot of wisdom. I know more than the vast majority of people are more experienced than anybody has ever run for the office. And I think I've proven myself to be honorable as well as also effective.


PHILLIP: OK. So that's different. I mean, what do you make of it?

KEITH: I think that for this president and his campaign, it all comes down to this saying that he says a lot which is, don't compare me to the Almighty, compare me to the alternative. And Biden and his team are betting on the idea that as a Democrat, as someone who stands for what he stands for, he will just naturally be in a better position than Trump if he's the nominee or a Republican who they will paint as Trump light.


Whether that works, whether that's a whole lot of hubris, I guess we'll find out. But these numbers and conversations I've had with voters certainly indicate that there's a -- there's a lack of enthusiasm. There is a concern about President Biden's age. But depending on who he's compared to, they might vote for a ham sandwich.

PHILLIP: Yes. I mean, well, look, you're talking about between Trump and Biden, two elderly candidates here. And actually in this ABC News- Washington Post poll, it looks like a majority of Americans also think that Trump should be indicted. So I think that there are a lot of X- factors here for the electorate to chew over.

But coming up next for us, Trump on the -- on trial. New testimony from the former president in this civil lawsuit that is accusing him of rape. You'll want to hear his defense of what he said on that famous Access Hollywood tape.



PHILLIP: Tomorrow, closing arguments begin in the civil rape trial against Donald Trump. Writer E. Jean Carroll alleges that Trump raped her in a department store dressing room in 1996. Trump, for his part denies the allegation. But one piece of evidence shown to the jury is the now famous Access Hollywood tape.


DONALD TRUMP, (R) FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: You know, I'm automatically attracted to beautiful. I just start kissing them. It's like a magnet. Just kiss. I don't even wait. And when you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.

BUSH: Whatever you want.

TRUMP: Grab them by the (bleep). You can do anything.


PHILLIP: And now we know how Trump responded to this tape, the Access Hollywood tape, in his own words and newly revealed deposition tapes that are also being considered by the jury.

TRUMP: There's historically that's true with stars.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's true with stars, that they can grab women by (bleep)?

TRUMP: Well, that's what -- if you look over the last million years, I guess that's been largely true. Not always but largely true, unfortunately, or fortunately.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And you consider yourself to be a star?

TRUMP: I think you can say that. Yeah.


PHILLIP: I mean, that is just, it's wild.

KEITH: Yes. I guess it wasn't locker room talk after all because now, in a sworn deposition, he's saying, well, you know, people do that. It's -- the question I have is, will it make a difference? Not to the jury, but to the American people? Or is this already baked in?

PHILLIP: Yeah, I mean, that is always the question with Trump. But I mean, this actually is kind of new information. I mean, Trump is basically saying, yeah, well, that's just the way it is. I don't know. I mean, I think that if you're trying to mount a campaign, whether you are Joe Biden, or Ron DeSantis, you've got a lot to work with.

PONNURU: I think that we haven't quite -- we don't -- we think we've priced these things in but we don't know that.


PONNURU: And we don't know, in particular, what it will what the jury verdict will yield in terms of public opinion, because so far, we've been talking about things that are a little bit more complicated, a little bit more removed from people's experience, then then a sexual assault. And I don't -- I can't believe that deposition did Trump any favors with the jury.

PHILLIP: Yeah, I mean, we were also talking about how, you know, in these depositions, he basically mistakes E. Jean Carroll for his ex- wife, Marla Maples. I mean, that also is a pretty strong kind of evidence that even his argument, which was that he was not attracted to E. Jean Carroll, may not hold water. I mean, we'll find out but it casts a lot of doubt on it.

SEUNG MIN KIM, ASSOCIATED PRESS WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: It really does, especially when you had the attorneys asking afterwards will, wouldn't confirm that your three wives were -- are your type. But I think stepping back a little bit and talking about the politics is obviously there's a legal jury and the jury of public opinion, and the court of public opinion. It is striking, as you point out why his opponents have not seized on any of his legal troubles.

Not necessarily this, but anything that's going on in the courts up in New York or down in Georgia, or in the federal, or his federal cases involving the classified documents. And I would suspect that that could change. But when you have, of all the Republican candidates, when the only one who's kind of even making a fuss about this is the former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, it really shows you how just afraid Republicans are to touch anything that is remotely critical of Trump, and you're running for president against Trump because you think you're the better alternative.

Well, here's a trove of information that you can use to make that point. And they are so afraid to touch it right now. And you wonder when and if that's ever going to change?

PHILLIP: I mean, maybe I mean, it seems pretty clear Trump is probably teflon among Republican voters, but that really starts to get chipped away at when you're talking about a general election. But to someone's point, the debates will be upon us very soon, and Trump is now floating that maybe he will be at some of them. Maybe he won't be. Here's Chris Christie saying why he thinks that's happening.


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, (R) NEW JERSEY: If he really cares about the country, then he's going to get up there, and he shouldn't be afraid. I'm sorry to see that Donald Trump feels like if he gets on the stage he's at risk of losing his lead. But obviously he's afraid, he's afraid to get on the stage against people who are serious. This is a guy who seems like he's afraid. And if he's afraid he has no business being president.



PHILLIP: I'm of two minds on this, right? I think we're in the primaries, we've seen Trump really kind of destroy his opponents on the debate stage using unconventional tactics. But at the same time, I mean, this is someone who is older than he was, then he has more baggage than he did, then. We also know what to expect now. Not both as the viewers but also as his opponents now.

DIAMOND: Yeah. And I think the key point is that he actually has a record that can be picked apart. The question is, will the Republican candidates facing him be willing to do that, and that is to Seung Min's great point there, which is that as we have this conversation about how much of this behavior, how much of this stuff is already priced in with the Republican electorate, you know, what we're relying on right now is the last, you know, six, seven years of a Republican Party that has walked in lockstep with him, and that has been unwilling to actually challenge him or hold him accountable for his behavior.

If there is a Republican candidate or multiple Republican candidates actually willing to say, hey, hold up, you Republican primary vote or take a look at this through my lens as a fellow Republican, maybe something changes. But again, there are no signs right now that there is a Republican candidate with the amount of gravitas and pull on the Republican primary base, who is actually willing to do that.

PHILLIP: What do you make of Trump's decision to do a town hall with CNN on Wednesday? Has it -- as his advisors have put it to multiple outlets, they want to show that they can branch out, do you buy it?

PONNURU: Well, I think that that is clever spin. I think though it will be overshadowed by the question of whether he participates in a debate. And I think that the Christie taunt, you know,

KEITH: Exactly what it as.

PONNURU: Yeah, yeah. This is designed to enrage Trump probably will enrage him, and maybe get him to actually show up. Because I think the other part of that is that strategically it is in Trump's interest not to participate, not just because he'd be attacked, but because if he's not there, the other candidates have the incentive to attack Governor DeSantis.

PHILLIP: And on DeSantis I mean, it remains a question when he's -- when is he going to get in? And will he take on Trump? I actually want to play this is DeSantis super PAC ad. Watch it very closely. Let's put it that way.


GOVERNOR RON DESANTIS, (R) FLORIDA: I don't care what corporate media outlets say. I don't care what Hollywood says. I don't care what big corporations say. Decline is a choice and freedom is worth fighting for. We will stand firm in the faith. We will be courageous.


PHILLIP: Did you catch it? The Trump bumper sticker has been replaced by a DeSantis bumper sticker. It's still so subtle. They still don't want to go there.

MIN KIM: Yeah, they can't do they direct criticisms of Trump they can't put images of the former president. They have to do the very subtle bumper sticker mode. And that's what kind of -- that's what Governor DeSantis's strategy has generally been. You did see him kind of take a jab at the former president when it came to his legal issues. But it's been nothing. And I think whether that changes if and when he is a formal candidate in the race sometime later this month, the Florida legislative session is over, we'll determine so much the early trajectory of the race.

KEITH: Well, in many Republican voters are protective of Trump. They don't like Trump being attacked, whether -- you know, even the people who say like, you know, I wish he would tweet less or, you know, whatever the line of today is, you know, I wish he was more disciplined. They still don't like him being attacked by others, and they react in a defensive posture.

DIAMOND: So reflexive for them to --

KEITH: Yes, it's very reflexive.

DIAMOND: They have to do it.

KEITH: Yeah.

PONNURU: To attack Trump is to side with the Democrats.

KEITH: Exactly.

PONNURU: That's the unforgivable sin.


PONNURU: But look, there is no path to the nomination. That does not involve Trump directly. I mean, DeSantis directly attacking Trump. I mean, he can't just rely on these kind of veiled bank shot kind of criticisms. Maybe a year or two ago, you might have hoped Trump will fade away on his own. Obviously, that hasn't happened.

PHILLIP: Yeah, there's the, are you willing to do the attacks on Trump? And then there's also the effectiveness question that we haven't even gotten to yet. But coming up next for us, a crisis at the border. It is coming as a pandemic era immigration policy is set to expire. Is the Biden administration ready?


[11:43:37] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She says that she and her children are going to be sleeping here on the street. And I promised this little boy that I would ask him a question. So I'm going to ask him the question.

What is your dream in the United States? And he said that he loves pancakes. He loves pizza and he hopes to get an education in the United States.


PHILLIP: It's just heartbreaking that mother and her two young children from Venezuela are among the thousands of migrants at the southern border as a pandemic era policy that allows the U.S. to quickly turn away, most asylum seekers will officially expire this Thursday.

Border Patrol agents say they could now see as many as 10,000 border crossings each day or double the average in March. And on Friday, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas visited the Rio Grande Valley and delivered this message.


ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: The border is not open, it has not been open and it will not be open subsequent to May 11. I think that there is no question that this is going to be extremely challenging. I do not want to understate the severity of the challenge that we expect to encounter.


PHILLIP: Priscilla Alvarez is joining the panel now. And Priscilla, this has obviously been an issue that the White House has been dealing with basically since they came into office but Title 42 is ending now. Are they really prepared?


PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN REPORTER: Well, White House officials have been keenly aware that this moment was coming. This is a pandemic era policy put in place in March of 2020. So for some time, it was going to end. They knew it was going to and they've been setting those preparations and motions, they say, since the beginning, but the reality on the ground is a hard challenge for them, because we're already seeing those numbers take up, that 5000 you mentioned, I've been talking to officials, they say it's at 7000 a day now. And it's just expected to get larger.

So the preparations that they're doing are short term and long term. The short term, its capacity building, its transportation, it's making sure that they have agents in place to do the processing and arrests. And then in the long term, it's how do you stop people from traversing all the way up setting up regional processing centers, so they can apply to come to the U.S. or working with authorities in the Darien Gap where many are coming through to try to stop that flow. But the reality that you heard there from Homeland Security Secretary

is that it's going to be difficult. We haven't seen numbers like this before. And while the protocol here is going back to decades old protocols, it's at a moment of unprecedented mass emigration in the western hemisphere. So how do you use an outdated system for what is now a 21st century problem, and one that they're going to have to contend with at a severe level in a few days.

KEITH: And in terms of the messaging, all of these people are getting a message from human smugglers and others saying, this deadline is coming, you're going to be able to go just hang on, it's coming. And you have the Homeland Security Secretary out there saying, oh, no, the borders not open.

You haven't really seen the President out there standing up and saying don't come. And I think that this could end up this, this is going to create a visual. This visual is already happening, it's going to be more. And the challenge for the White House, you know, sure, Republicans are going to say that they're doing a terrible job no matter what, and Democrats are going to be mostly forgiving. But does this become a competence issue?

Does this become a thing where the American public says, oh, can they handle this? Does it become like Afghanistan was? Where that withdrawal did not go? Well, maybe they were right on the policy, ultimately, in terms of polling where it ended up, but it created a black eye for the administration in terms of competence.

ALVAREZ: They've already had those images, by the way. We shouldn't forget they had thousands of primarily Haitian migrants under a bridge at one point. So they know that politically, it's going to be vulnerability.

PHILLIP: This is really, I think, a central question. I mean, in addition to just the practical nature of do they have the tools ready for them to deal with the sheer number of people, there's the political element. I want to play this -- this is an El Paso official. He is the deputy director of one of these organizations that basically takes in a lot of these migrants in El Paso. Listen to what he had to say.


JOHN MARTIN, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, OPPORTUNITY CENTER FOR THE HOMELESS: I wanted to emphasize more so than anything else, at this point, this is a national issue. We in El Paso, along with many other communities along the southern border just happened to be at the front doorstep.


PHILLIP: They are dealing in El Paso with numbers 5, 10 times what they were just a few weeks ago. And historically, the polling shows Republicans care a lot about immigration 19% say it's the most important issue. That's the second most out of any but out of all the issues. Overall, that number is 9%. But the question is, does that change when you have cities like New York and Washington, D.C. and Chicago? I think this is the point that Greg Abbott was making. The rest of the country might start to feel the flow of just the sheer number.

DIAMOND: Yeah, and we've already seen that. We've seen some frustration from the New York City Mayor Eric Adams as it relates to the Biden administration and some of the -- what he says views as a lack of resources to help New York with the flow of migrants from the border. The mayor of Chicago also has had some concerns and frustration mostly directed at the governor of Texas.

But look, this administration knows that when these images -- when we see these kinds of images on the screen, and they are going to get a lot worse this week. They are very aware of that. They know that it's going to be a problem for them. And this issue of immigration suddenly becomes a lot more salient. When you actually see the pictures. I do think there's a fundamental irony, which is you hear Secretary Mayorkas talk about.

We've been preparing for the end of Title 42 for this long, and yet, we're still expecting to see a major surge and a major problem and this is going to really test us. That speaks to a fundamental issue here. Obviously, yes, historic flows of migration, but a fundamental issue about the immigration system, which falls on Democrats and Republicans in Congress.

PONNURU: Yeah. You know, and it's not just the -- there's the competence problem, which I think is a real potential vulnerability for this administration. But also, people are already primed to think of the Democrats as the party that soft on illegal immigration, the same way that voters are primed to think Republicans want to cut Social Security, and that's always going to be an effective tactic whether or not it's necessarily true.


This is something that is a potential real weak point for the Democrats and addressing it might sometimes require some of the steps that are going to alienate the left wing of the Democratic Party, which has already raised some complaints about things that this administration has done on immigration.

PHILLIP: Yeah, I mean, I guess to that exact point, a lot of progressives, liberals, whatever you want to call them are not thrilled with the Biden ministration because they think that they're just adopting Trump era policies which they are in many cases. So we'll see how this all unfolds. But coming up next for us, a British king gets crowded but an American president doesn't attend. Why not? Well, we'll tell you next.


PHILLIP: A lot of pomp and plenty of circumstances as King Charles was officially crowned in London yesterday. He becomes Britain's first new monarch in seven decades. Just over 2000 people attended the extravagant spectacle in Westminster Abbey including First Lady Jill Biden. [11:55:09]

So why didn't her husband President Biden attend? Well take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You did not go to England this weekend for the coronation?

BIDEN: No, I didn't. But I did speak to the king. He's a good acquaintance. And we've worked together on environmental issues.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did you told him?

BIDEN: Well, I told him, I couldn't be here because I have this going on. And let's, you know, who knows what's going to happen in the next --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, you're interviewing with me that's why you couldn't to coronation?


BIDEN: I was with you. But -- and we're going to be going to a NATO conference in Europe. And I told him I'd stop you there on the way there, on the way back to discuss what he really is passionate about the environment.


PHILLIP: All right, there it is, in his own words, but that's it for us here on Inside Politics Sunday. And don't forget to tune in on Wednesday night for CNN special town hall event. Donald Trump takes questions from Kaitlan Collins and New Hampshire Republican primary voters. That'll be Wednesday night at 8 p.m. Eastern Time.

And State of the Union with Jake Tapper is up next. Thank you again for sharing your Sunday morning with us. Have a great day.