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Inside Politics

Soon: Biden To Establish Monuments To Emmett Till; UPS, Teamsters Strike Deal To Avert Strike; New CNN Reporting Sheds Light On Special Counsel Evidence; Christie: Trump "Never Looked Me In The Eye" & Admitted He Lost; Special Counsel Gets Docs From Giuliani- Associate Kerik; McCarthy Floats Biden Impeachment Inquiry; GOP Rep: Impeaching Biden "May Rally The Left"; Biden, Harris Honor Emmett Till, His Mother; Biden Establishes New Natl Monument Honoring Emmett Till. Aired 12-12:30p ET

Aired July 25, 2023 - 12:00   ET



DANA BASH, CNN HOST: Today on "Inside Politics", the grand jury and the former president, two CNN stories expand what we know about the special counsel's evidence and Jack Smith's attempt to answer a question everybody wants answered. What was Donald Trump thinking?

Plus, down the impeachment rabbit hole. Kevin McCarthy says, he's following the facts and that he'll pursue impeachment proceedings against President Biden, if that's what it takes to get to the truth. And they had to see what I had seen, the tragedy and the pictures that shook a nation. Today, President Biden unveils his plan to make sure America never forgets what happens to -- what happened to Emmett Till.

I'm Dana Bash. Let's go behind the headlines at Inside Politics.

Up first, her pain powered a movement. Today Mamie Till and the son stolen from her, Emmett, are enshrined as national markers of America's possibility, both how this country is capable of evil and how Americans can bend the arc of history back towards justice.

We start our coverage at the White House with CNN's Arlette Saenz. Arlette, what do we expect this hour?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Dana, any moment now President Biden is expected to sign a proclamation establishing a new national monument that will honor Emmett Till and his mother. An effort from the president to try to shine a spotlight on some of the most painful moments in American history.

The president has long talked about the need to ensure that these moments are not erased from history. And it comes as just in 1955, Emmett Till was just 14 years old when he was brutally murdered after being accused of whistling at a white woman.

The president will be establishing three locations for this monument including, two in Mississippi, and one in Chicago, Illinois. That includes the Chicago church, where Emmett Till's funeral was held. Emmett Till's mother insisted on holding an open casket funeral in order to ensure that the brutality of that incident, the brutality of racism against her son was not hidden from public view.

Now, it's worth noting, President Biden at this event will also be hosting some members of Emmett Till's family, including Reverend Wheeler Parker. He will serve as the introduction to President Biden and Reverend Parker was the younger cousin of Emmett Till. He is now in his 80s. And he was actually the last living survivor that witnessed Till's abduction.

So, it will be rather a powerful moment, held here at the White House with Emmett Till's family, as President Biden signs this proclamation establishing this national monument. But this all comes at a very important time when you've really seeing the White House and the president, trying to become more vocal in this debate over how these painful moments in U.S. history are taught to students in schools.

Of course, you had Vice President Kamala Harris, traveled down to Florida, just last week to talk about the guidelines that have been placed regarding slavery. But in just a short while, the president will be trying to honor Emmett Till and his family, trying to ensure that these moments are not erased from American history.

BASH: Arlette, we will go to the White House live as soon as that event happens. Thank you so much. And now to breaking news, an 11th hour deal stops what could have been a national crisis. UPS and the Teamsters strike an agreement to avoid a strike.

I want to get straight to CNN's Vanessa Yurkevich. Vanessa, how did this deal come together? And what does it look like?

VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS & POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Dana, just moments ago, we received word from the UPS, Teamsters that they had reached a deal with UPS. Remember, they just got back to the negotiating today -- table today after not meeting for several weeks.

I want to walk you through some of this deal. We're just getting this information in real time. Full time and part time workers are going to be paid $2.75 more per hour starting this year, that $7.50 more per hour over five years. And a lot of this has been over the part time pay. That was a key point that the union said that they were not willing to negotiate on.

In this agreement, part time workers will make a minimum of $21 an hour starting pay, that could go up to $23 an hour, and over five years a 48 percent average total wage increase. And for full timers, they could see up to $49 an hour and this is historic. What the union is saying, they're calling is a historic agreement.


We also know that they've been able to add air conditioning into new vehicles, and retrofitting current UPS vehicles with fans and also, they will be keeping all of their same benefits and that has been very important. Two members of the UPS, we're actually here at a local union right now.

And I've been asking people as they've been reading through this deal then how they're feeling. They say, so far, so good. They liked what they see. They want to read the fine print. But of course, now that they've reached a deal, this must go to a vote, the members must vote to ratify this deal.

And they could face some opposition from some of the members who may not be happy with the wage increases. But according to the union, historic. We did reach out to UPS for comments, still waiting to hear what they have to say. But a big moment for UPS and the Teamsters coming to a deal today, avoiding what could have been a crippling strike starting as soon as next Tuesday. Dana?

BASH: Absolutely. Looks like, according to your reporting, really good news for not just the union workers, but also for the United States economy. Nevermind, politically for President Biden. Thank you so much for that very quick reporting and digesting and that deal and getting it to us as quickly as you did. Vanessa, appreciate it.

And turning to a question holding our politics hostage. Will a federal grand jury indict the former president of the United States? It's unclear if or when they will vote on whether to charge Donald Trump with crimes connected to the alleged plot to steal the 2020 election.

CNN's Katelyn Polantz is outside the federal courthouse here in Washington. Katelyn, as we wait, there are two very important pieces of news breaking here at CNN last night and then today. Can you walk us through it?

KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Yes, Dana. We are learning essentially avenues that the special counsel's office is pursuing and getting information about that really weren't the focus of that massive story that the House Select Committee had laid out that over a series of different events on the Hill, where they had explained what happened on January 6, and the 2020 election.

And the stories that we're hearing now that the special counsel was looking into one -- on one side, they're looking into a briefing that Donald Trump received as president in February 2020. This really wasn't something that was a focus of that House investigation.

But it was a briefing that there has been testimony given to the special counsel's investigators about how Donald Trump received word that the election was going to be secure. And he should be comfortable with that. And he was very receptive to that information so much so.

He wanted a press conference to tell the American public that the election would be secure. Of course, his tune changed a little bit after that, not even a month or so, after that February 2020 briefing. And then the other story is that the special counsel's investigation is getting information that no one else has been able to get, including the House investigators.

That information is coming in the form of many, many records, hundreds of records held by Bernie Kerik, a close associate of Rudy Giuliani, who was working on those efforts to describe election fraud that was just not founded at that time. But to try and say that to the American public. They were doing all kinds of work, communicating, having memos, and that information has now been turned over to the special counsel.

But Dana, the question right now, today, and in the coming days is how does this affect? That indication to Donald Trump that he's already been given, that he's already been told that he's likely to be indicted. The grand jury is often in on Tuesdays, but we have not seen them in today. There is no prosecutors over here at the courthouse. And so, it's just not clear exactly how this will all factor and come together.

BASH: Very interesting and brand-new reporting. Thank you so much, Katelyn. Here with me to talk more about that CNN's Paula Reid, CNN's Evan Perez, and CNN's Laura Coates. Very, very busy day. Let's start with the first thing that Katelyn was talking about, which is the notion that the former president, when he was president, said that he was really comfortable with the election system.

I want to read part of it. In their questions to at least one of those former officials, we're talking about former Trump officials, investigators were interested in how Trump reacted to information from his advisers that U.S. election systems were secure, and whether Trump was well informed on the topic, one of the sources said.

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I mean, one of the sources told, our Sean Lyngaas that really, you know, they were homing in on this idea. It appeared from the questioning on what the presidents -- the former presidents, you know, state of mind was on this big question, right?

And we've seen this in other interviews that other witnesses have had, where they're homing in on the idea that, did Trump really believe, you know, these fraud claims? He seemed willing and wanted the FBI to go out and say, how good of a job they were doing to secure the election in this meeting.


And then just a few weeks later, he's out there politically undermining the security of the election system, of course by November when he doesn't like the election results. He decides to start listening to some of non-expert's people who were telling him that there was fraud based on things from Venezuela and, you know, Chinese hackers and Italian satellites, things that obviously had no basis in fact.

BASH: You're exactly right. And so, you talked about February, and you just mentioned the fact that he changed his tune. Let's play a soundbite from the former president, April of 2020, when he was changing that tune.


DONALD TRUMP, 45TH U.S. PRESIDENT: Mail ballots, they're cheap, OK. People cheat. Mail ballots are very dangerous thing for this country because they're cheaters. They go and collect them. They're fraudulent in many cases. The mail ballots are corrupt, in my opinion.


BASH: So as a former federal prosecutor, the question is, how did he get from point A in February, according to this amazing reporting, wanting to tout how great the election system is to deciding politically he was going to do what we just heard about two months later that event?

LAURA COATES, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Well, of course, the path from point A to point B is paved with power grabs along the way. When it comes down to how you think about this legally, it's all going to come down to the charges that might come.

And here's why. It's about the jury instructions. Is it a knowing standard? Is it about intentional? Is it about willfulness? Is it about actual knowledge? Is it whether his belief was reasonable or subjective? All this comes into play. Like he has got a commonsense argument, or you've got to believe this was the case or was your head in the sand. But what can the prosecutors prove?

And some ways you do that is through contextual clues, like you're talking about the thin piece you just played. What he knew at this moment in time in the public eye versus other times. Was there somebody to corroborate that he actually was aware of this as a strategy? Or was it so unreasonable for anyone to believe what he says he believed as to account for a criminal intent pinner to be actually met? That's the key.

BASH: It's all about intent. One of his opponents for president right now used to be a close friend of his Chris Christie, also a former federal prosecutor. He talked this morning on CNN about conversations that he had with then President Trump.


CHRIS CHRISTIE, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He never acknowledged to be after the fact that he lost, but he certainly expressed to me during the campaign and during preparations for the debates, that he was very concerned about losing. I have no doubt in my mind to copy that it is hard. Donald Trump knows he lost to Joe Biden.


PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: We've heard mixed things, right? Many people have been asked, what did you hear from the former president about his belief of the outcome of the election? And we've heard again, just mixed results. Some people have said that, yes, he acknowledged that he lost to me. Other people have said, he never acknowledged that. So right now, it's just completely conflicting accounts of what he was telling people during that time.

BASH: Paula, I want to turn to the other thing that Katelyn was reporting, which comes from you and your excellent sources. And this is about the special counsel getting documents from a Giuliani associate Bernie Kerik.

And your reporting is, the documents turned over by Kerik also include a 105-page report from after the 2020 election compiled by the Trump campaign and Giuliani to contain the campaign's unfounded allegations of fraud, including witness statements and false allegation over votes and illegal votes.

REID: And Dana, and late last night, we obtained many of these documents. The special counsel has received. A team of us, late last night, went through them. And it's really hard to make sense of exactly what we're looking at. There are witness statements, there is what they describe as research. It appears that there's no evidence of this fraud.

But after the election, Giuliani was tasked, putting together a team and looking for any evidence of fraud, which is why the special counsel is interested in this evidence. But there was nothing that we saw from the documents that we have that would be relevant, it appears to a prosecution of former President Trump.

To some people have asked, well wait a second, do they need to wait before they go through thousands of pages to do the indictment? It does not appear that that is the case. But I will note that Bernie Kerik is scheduled to sit down with the special counsel about two weeks from now.

And this is something we've been trying to reconcile in our reporting, right? It appears the Trump indictment is imminent. But we know there are multiple witnesses scheduled over the next few weeks. Could you indict? And then do those interviews, yes, it's just unclear what they're going to do.

PEREZ: Yes. It's fascinating, by the way that until now, the special counsel did not have this information, until just this weekend.

COATES: And to be clear, you can do what's called a superseding indictment. Even if you file an indictment, if more information becomes available that's pertinent to your actual charges, you can, but the grand jury is not to be used as a kind of trial preparation model. You're supposed to have what you need before your indictment, if things come up, if they engage in say obstruction or other behavior that can add to it.


BASH: Thank you for your reporting. Thank you for putting it in context. Great to see you all. And coming up, Kevin McCarthy is going further than he's gone before. Will he start impeachment proceedings against President Biden? That's next.


BASH: House Speaker Kevin McCarthy made his most explicit threat yet when it comes to impeaching President Biden.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY, (R-CA): We've only followed where the information has taken us. But Hannity, this is rising to the level of impeachment inquiry, which provides Congress the strongest power to get the rest of the knowledge and information needed. I believe we will follow this all the way to the end. And this is going to rise to an impeachment inquiry.


BASH: Speaker is accusing the president of using government and the government itself to benefit his family and is also under increasing pressure from his far-right flank to launch an impeachment inquiry. Let's get insights from CNN's Eva McKend, Leigh Ann Caldwell of The Washington Post, and POLITICO's Eli Stokols. Thank you so much for joining me.


The whole notion of the right really pushing him. It was on display just about an hour ago on Capitol Hill. I'm going to give you an example of what we heard from members of the Freedom Caucus.


REP. RALPH NORMAN, (R-SC): If there' not accountability now for the highest office, when is it going to be? So, he's right to do it. And I think he's going to continue. And I think at the end of the day, he will be impeached.


BASH: You walk those halls. You all do it. Let's start with you Leigh Ann.

LEIGH ANN CALDWELL, EARLY 202 CO-AUTHOR, THE WASHINGTON POST: Yes. So, the timing is also really telling, Kevin McCarthy continues to make these threats against President Biden. He did it earlier with Christopher Wray, holding him in contempt at times when he is getting a lot of pressure on unrelated issues from his far-right.

Now, it's about appropriations bills. They're trying to push him there. Last week, there was reporting that he, which Kevin McCarthy denied that he was going to expunge Trump's impeachment that he says, he's now not going to do.

And then back then when he talks about contempt for Christopher Wray, it was at a time when they didn't weren't happy with the debt ceiling bill. And so, there is a lot of concern among moderates, though that Kevin McCarthy keeps continuing to placate the far-right of his party.

BASH: What you say moderates?

CALDWELL: I don't know if we would put Wesley Hunt.

BASH: Well, but I'm saying like you're right. But I don't know if we would put Wesley Hunt in this category, per se. But he is somebody who is a bit reluctant. Listen to what he said?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. WESLEY HUNT, (R-TX) (voiceover): I am somebody, Jimmy, that feels like impeaching Biden actually may rally the left. And this is the worst president that we have seen in modern history. He has the lowest approval rating in modern history. Kamala Harris has the lowest approval rating for any vice president in the history of this country. And Dick Cheney shot somebody. That's how bad she is. So, I kind of don't want to give them any arrows to put in their quiver.


EVA MCKEND, CNN NATIONAL POLITICALS CORRESPONDENT: Well, he understands that there is some political risks to doing this. I will say about Kevin McCarthy's remarks. I mean, he's very deliberate in his language. He's not offering a timeline. There's nothing concrete. And it sounds like the White House has him right where they want him.

This is not an issue, flirting with impeaching the president, that is going to gain them additional voters. They only have a five seat House majority. So, he's all bark, no bite. He doesn't even have the votes in his conference to pull this off. And it's something that can be alienating, I'm sorry, dependents.

BASH: Sorry to interrupt you. I want to go straight to the White House for the Emmett Till ceremony.

KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES: Members of Congress, the members of the Till family and my fellow Americans. Today we gather to remember our history. We gathered to remember an act of astonishing violence and hate. And to honor the courage of those who called upon our nation to look with open eyes at that horror and to act.

The story of Emmett Till. And the incredible bravery of Mamie Till- Mobley, helped fuel the movement for civil rights in America. And their stories continue to inspire our collective fight for justice. When I served in the United States Senate, I was so profoundly honored to sponsor the Emmett Till Anti-lynching Act, alongside Congressman Bobby Rush.

And it was an even greater honor to stand beside our President Joe Biden, as he signed the law that finally made lynching a federal crime. So many leaders here today, made that progress possible. Our history as a nation is born of tragedy and triumph, of struggle, and success. That is who we are.

And as people who love our country as patriots, we know that we must remember and teach our full history, even when it is painful, especially when it is painful. Today there are those in our nation who would prefer to erase or even rewrite the ugly parts of our past.

Those who attempt to teach that enslaved people benefited from slavery. Those who insult us in an attempt to gaslight us, who tried to divide our nation with unnecessary debates. Let us not be seduced into believing that somehow, we will be better, if we forget.

[12:25:00] We will be better if we remember. We will be stronger f we remember because we all hear know. It is only by understanding and learning from our past that we can continue to work together, to build a better future.

And so now it is my great honor to introduce a leader who has dedicated his life to preserving and protecting our history, Reverend Wheeler Parker Jr. just also shared with me that he and his wife will be celebrating this weekend their 56th anniversary of marriage. Reverend Wheeler are continuing here (Ph).

REV. WHEELER PARKER JR., PASTOR, ARGO TEMPLE CHURCH OF GOD IN CHRIST, SUMMIT, IL: In fact, we were married 56 years on Sunday. My wife say, when we get to heaven, I'm going to say Lord, not up here too. I've seen we have a whole lot of Amen to that. I'm truly humbled by this honor.

You see, I was born in Mississippi. I spent my early years as a sharecropper and was focused upon filling up a nine-foot sack, focus upon my quota, not making history, from the owl house to the White House. From a time when we live in fear to attend, when president and vice president gave us this great hope, kept their promise by delivering, this is what America means to me. Promises made, promises camp.

It has been quite a journey for me from the darkness to the light. When I sit with my family on the night of terror, when Emmett Till, our beloved boy was taken from us, taken to be tortured, and brutally murdered.

Back then, when I was overwhelmed with terror, and fear of soon death in the darkness of thousands midnights. In a pitch-black house and what some have called dark Fiero. Back then in the darkness, I could never imagine a moment like this, standing in the light of wisdom, grace and delivers.

There is something amazing you feel when you meet President Biden, like I did when he signed the Emmett Till anti-lynching law, anti- lynching bill into law. He welcomed me into this place of great power. I felt the power, his personal devotion, his devotion to justice, to equality, his commitment to keeping the promise of America.

This came from his heart, from his soul. God bless you, President Biden, for all you have done and will do to preserve our history. Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in recognizing President Joe Biden.

JOE BIDEN, 46TH U.S. PRESIDENT: Now I'm going to tell you to whisper to me. Thank you, Reverend Parker. Thank all of you for being here. I want to thank Kamala for her not only capacity to do what she does, but the fire with what she brings to the thing she cares a lot about.

To all the members of Congress, including representative Bennie Thompson, Senator Tammy Duckworth, Representative Danny Davis and Senator Dick Durbin, who is wishing a speedy recovery from COVID. He has just recovered from COVID right now. And who have long fought to honor the Till family, it's not new to any of them. To the Till family, it's an honor to be with you again. You know, when I was preparing these remarks, I quite frankly, and my colleagues understand this. I found myself trying to temper my anger as I was writing. I'm not joking.