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Inside Politics

Trump Talks January 6, Abortion In Wide-Ranging Interview; Trump: I'll Make Everyone Happy On Abortion Restrictions; Tim Scott: I'm Dating A "Lovely Christian Girl"; McCarthy Orders Biden Impeachment Inquiry Despite No Evidence; Biden Faces New Challenge With UAW Strike; McCarthy Dares Hard-Liners To Try To Remove Him From Office. Aired 11a-12pm ET

Aired September 17, 2023 - 11:00   ET



BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN HOST: Good morning. Buenos dias, and welcome to INSIDE POLITICS SUNDAY. I'm Boris Sanchez.

Moments ago, a rare interview with Donald Trump outside his MAGA media bubble. Among other things, he was pressed by NBC's Kristen Welker on his false election claims and the ongoing legal cases against him.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My instincts are a big part of it. That's been the thing that's gotten me to where I am, my instincts, but I also listen to people. There are many lawyers, I could give you many books. There are books that are written on how the election was rigged.

KRISTEN WELKER, NBC NEWS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Just to be clear, were you listening to your lawyer's advice? Or were you listening to your own instincts?

TRUMP: I was listening to different people. And when I edit it all up, the election was rigged.

WELKER: Were you calling the shots though, Mr. President, ultimately?

TRUMP: As to whether or not, I believed it was rigged, oh, sure. I --


TRUMP: It was my decision.


SANCHEZ: Trump was also asked whether he loses sleep over the possibility of going to prison. Listen.


WELKER: You are facing four indictments, 91 felony -- TRUMP: If you would say it properly, I'm facing four Biden

indictments. He told the Justice Department to indict him or Merrick Garland said let's indict him.

WELKER: Let me ask you this, Mr. president.

TRUMP: They indicted their political opponent.

WELKER: I just want to hear from you on this. I want to know what's in your head. When you go to bed at night, do you worry about going to jail?

TRUMP: No, I don't really. I don't even think about it. I'm built a little differently, I guess.

These are political. These are banana republic indictments. These are third-world indictments.


SANCHEZ: The former president also made some news on abortion, refusing to take a stand on whether or not there should be a federal ban. Let's listen.


TRUMP: People are starting to think of 15 weeks. That seems to be a number that people are talking about right now.

WELKER: Would you sign that?

TRUMP: I would -- I would sit down with both sides and I'd negotiate something. And we'll end up with peace in that issue. For the first time in 52 years, I'm not going to say I would or I wouldn't.


SANCHEZ: Let's dig deeper now with New York Times senior political correspondent and CNN political analyst, Maggie Haberman.

Maggie, good morning. First, let's start with the fact that Donald Trump is doing this interview. Why is he sitting down with me the press?

MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think a couple of reasons. Number one, his advisers are aware that he needs to try to have opportunities where he can inject himself into mainstream media that existing in his -- in his carefully cultivated and curated ecosystem this far is not going to get him far in a general election. And at the moment, he remains the front runner by a wide mile.

And I think what he said to Kristen is correct. I think he thought that she was fair in the debate. And that's why he agreed to do it. You know, I don't think it's much more than that. He's been very frustrated that he has not been able to get on mainstream media more since the January 6, 2021 attack. SANCHEZ: And, Maggie, we heard him talking about how he says he's built differently that he doesn't worry about going to prison. It struck me though that well after that question was asked in the interview, unprompted, he brings it up again, the question of whether it stresses him that he has these four major cases looming against him.

What are you hearing from people privately around him about the way he talks about that potential problem?

HABERMAN: He doesn't openly say, Boris, I'm afraid, but he talks about it with an enormous amount of anxiety to a number of people. And I think somebody who truly was not worried about this, and not worried about the prospect of being criminally sentenced, would not talk about it, the way that he does to a number of people, would not be as angry about it as he is in private would not seem as stressed out about it.

And, you know, anyone would be stressed out under indictment. Part of his whole thing, publicly, is trying to act as if nothing bothers him and how he's very different than everyone else. It was among the things he said that was not especially believable in the interview.

SANCHEZ: I also wanted to get your thoughts on his threat, quote, retribution, if he's reelected against his political opponents. He was asked specifically what he means by that. Let's listen.


TRUMP: When I talk about retribution, I'm talking about fairness. We have to treat people fairly. These people on January 6, they went -- some of them never even went into the building. And they have been given sentences of, you know, many years --

WELKER: Are you going to pardon those people who have been convicted, Mr. President?

TRUMP: Well, I'm going to look at it. When I certainly might, if I think it's appropriate. No, it's a very, very sad thing and it's -- they're dividing the country so badly and it's very dangerous.



SANCHEZ: Back to his days in the White House, he often tried to get his Department of Justice to go after his political opponents. Should we take things seriously, especially if he's reelected?

HABERMAN: I think that former president Trump has been quite clear. And despite him saying to Kristen, no, no, I don't do that in terms of seeking retribution against his enemies. To your point, he did try to do that when he was president.

I think that people should not assume that that would not continue. And he has been quite clear that he is looking for payback. His allies and advisers have been quite clear that he is looking for payback. I would take him seriously given that he's openly talking about eroding Justice Department independence and that norm and appointing a special prosecutor against the Bidens on day one.

SANCHEZ: Trump also talked about his age. It is a constant attack from the right against President Joe Biden, but Trump himself is almost in his '80s. Let's listen to some of that exchange.


WELKER: What do you say to people who say it is time for a new generation of leaders?

TRUMP: Well, it's always time for a new generation. But, you know, some of the greatest world leaders have been in their '80s. I'm not anywhere very near 80, by the way.

WELKER: You will be in your 80s, if you're reelected. Does that concern you at all?

TRUMP: Well, I will be toward the end.

WELKER: Mm-hmm.

TRUMP: No, because my father lived much longer than that. My mother lived much longer than that. So genetically, that's a good thing.


SANCHEZ: He's only three years younger than Joe Biden. And, yet, there is this public perception. Let's look at this poll from CBS News. Are you -- is a candidate's health, or rather, which candidate is physically healthy enough to serve as president? Voters overwhelmingly saying that only Donald Trump is by a pretty sizable margin.

There's a stubborn perception that Biden is older than Trump in ways beyond years, Maggie. How much do you think that impacts voters? And how is Trump exploiting that potential?

HABERMAN: I think we're going to find out how much it impacts voters, especially if the contest ends up being these two against each other. I think it was James Carville who said -- who said recently in public that, you know, this is -- this is not an immediate construct. This is something voters are talking about and it -- and it comes up in conversation.

You're going to see the Republicans continue to try to exploit that. Again, it is -- it is because it is something that exists in voter's minds. I think that the White House has limited ways of dealing with that.

But you are correct that the former -- the former president is not a whole lot younger. And when people reach a certain age, questions about deteriorating health are going to continue. You know, there were issues about former president Trump's health when he was in office. There was a bit of a question around his heart disease and so forth. But he does not strike the same note for voters. That is true, at least so far.

SANCHEZ: Yes. He's also had a few senior moments, including just a few days ago.

Let's also talk about foreign affairs. Trump was asked in this interview about the war in Ukraine, his relationship with Vladimir Putin. He talked about potentially getting Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Putin in a room and coming up with a deal.

How do you think American foreign policy might be altered if Trump is reelected?

HABERMAN: Well, again, I don't think we're seeing some radical change from Trump's first -- Trump's term, the one term he had an office. You know, he was constantly praising authoritarians. He wanted to have a decent public relationship with Putin.

You know, he did not exactly view the post-World War Two international order as vital to the U.S. I think you will see more of that going forward. And I think that is part of what people are concerned about.

The Republican Party has shifted dramatically in terms of whether -- where it thinks that the U.S. should be on Ukraine. And I think you are going to see that as a factor in the coming months. But what that looks like in a general election is an open question.

SANCHEZ: It also struck me that as Kristen Welker was presenting him with some of the terrible things the Kremlin has done in Ukraine, war crimes, essentially, Trump seem to sort of just diminish it. No?

HABERMAN: Well, I think his line, I don't remember if it was in the campaign in 2016, or once he was in the White House, but he was asked about, you know, behavior of other foreign leaders. And his line was essentially, you think we are so innocent?

I think that you're going to see him continue to talk about that. You know, he has -- he has treated -- this is something of an equivalence between Ukraine and Russia in terms of conduct. I don't think that's going to change.

SANCHEZ: Maggie Haberman, always great to see you. Thanks so much for the time.

HABERMAN: Thanks for having me.

SANCHEZ: Of course. Let's go to CNN legal analyst, Elliot Williams, now for a legal perspective on what's happening with the former president. So, Elliot, Donald Trump blamed other forces for his indictments.

He did also take some degree of credit ownership for what's happening. Let's play that soundbite now.


[11:10:03] WELKER: Were you listening to your lawyer's advice or were you listening to your own instincts?

TRUMP: I was listening to different people. And when I added it all up, the election was rigged.

WELKER: Were you calling the shots though, Mr. President, ultimately?

TRYMP: As to whether or not I believed it was rigged, sure.


TRUMP: It was my decision.


SANCHEZ: Elliot, you and I have talked about previously how it seems like the Trump camp has tried to push some responsibility over things like the fake electors, what happened on January 6, onto his attorneys at the time people like Sidney Powell and John Eastman.

Do you hear anything there from Trump that could be seen as useful for a prosecution and ultimately could shifting blame to his attorneys be a good defense?

ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I don't see a ton in that statement, that's that useful the prosecutors, of course, largely because there's very little doubt at this point as to Donald Trump's centrality to the charges that the Justice Department is bringing.

So for instance, in the Mar-a-Lago indictment, he's referred to multiple times as the boss by people around him. It is clear that his conduct, at least as alleged, is at the center of it. So, you know, so nearly owning it doesn't change a great deal.

Now, if the President were to formally try to make what's called an advice of counsel defense, saying that, no, I was relying on the words that my attorneys told me, therefore, I didn't break the law. Maybe that would help.

The problem is that for him to do that, he'd have to open up every single conversation he had with his attorneys on all of these issues, which would be disastrous for defendants. So, really, this doesn't change the status quo that much in terms of convicting him or not.

SANCHEZ: I also want to get your thoughts on the special counsel requesting this gag order from president Trump. It was a filing that was made Friday night, and Trump actually spoke about it at an event in Washington, D.C. Let's listen.


TRUMP: We had this prosecutor deranged, Jack Smith. Has anyone ever heard of him? I wonder -- I wonder what his name used to be Jack Smith, sounds so nice, doesn't it? He's a deranged individual. And he wants to take away my First Amendment rights. And they want to see if they can silence me. So the media, the fake news will ask me a question. I'm sorry, I won't be able to answer that. How do you think we do in that election? So we're going to have a little bit of a fun with that, I think.


SANCHEZ: Well, Elliot, there's a distinction between your First Amendment rights and then, you know, witness tampering or intimidation.

WILLIAMS: Boris, that's not a candidate for office speaking freely. That is the defendant taunting the criminal justice system and baiting a judge into holding him in contempt. Left out of all of this discussion we had this morning is that this morning on MEET THE PRESS, he called Jack Smith a deranged lunatic.

Again, now look, you're entitled to have all of the views you want about judges, prosecutors, defense attorney, and that's fine. That's what makes us Americans. But once someone starts targeting individual court personnel to a point that gets them threatened, as was laid out in the prosecution's case that impedes his ability to get a fair trial.

The judge needs to issue an order, a very narrow one, a narrowly tailored one, but prescribing what the former president can and can't say publicly. That is not appropriate conduct for an individual who is about to be put on trial.

And set aside the risk of harm or danger to anybody else, it's actually getting away of the courts ability to do its job fairly, and it hurts him and hurts other defendants. The court has to step in at this point.

SANCHEZ: Elliot Williams, thanks so much for sharing part of your Sunday with us.

WILLIAMS: Thanks, Boris.

SANCHEZ: Of course.

Still to come on INSIDE POLITICS SUNDAY, Donald Trump's surprising answer on how he would handle abortion rights as president.



SANCHEZ: So Donald Trump says he was and will be again the most pro- life president in history. Abortion, though, is an issue he is very careful around. In fact, Listen to this exchange with NBC this morning.


TRUMP: -- going to come together. WELKER: Would you sign federal legislation that would ban abortion at 15 weeks?

TRUMP: No, no. Let me just tell you what I do. I'm going to come together with all groups. And we're going to have something that's acceptable.

WELKER: Mr. President, I want to give voters who are going to be weighing in on this election.


WELKER: A very clear sense of --

TRUMP: I think they'll -- I think they're all going to like me. I think both sides are going to like me.

Both sides will come together. And for the first time in 52 years, you'll have an issue that we can put behind us.

WELKER: At the federal level?

TRUMP: It could be state or it could be federal. I don't frankly care.


SANCHEZ: That is a sharp contrast from two of his rivals, Mike Pence and Tim Scott, who are calling for Congress to pass a 15-week federal ban.


MIKE PENCE, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Why would we leave unborn babies in California and Illinois and New York to the devices of liberal state legislatures and liberal governors? We need to stand for the unborn all across America.

SEN. TIM SCOTT (R-SC): I'm a big believer in Jeremiah 15 that says, while you were in -- before you in your mother's womb, I knew you. I chose you.


SANCHEZ: Let's talk about all of this and more with CNN's Kristen Holmes, Rhonda Colvin of The Washington Post, and Margaret Talev of Axios. Thank you all for being with us.

Kristen, this idea that Donald Trump is going to bring all sides together and be happy with some kind of solution to the question of the abortion issue, far-fetched to say the least.

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I mean, Donald Trump, this is what he does when he doesn't want to answer a question as he dances around it and says he's going to get everybody to agree, and it's going to be beautiful and great. And the war in Ukraine won in 24 hours without any actual plan. So that's essentially what he's doing here. And we know that Donald Trump does not want to run on abortion. That he does not think it is a winning issue. And it's hard for him because he is technically the architect of the modern-day movement that we see the overturning of Roe v Wade because of the fact that he appointed these conservative justices.

So as you see here, he dances around the issue. At one point he has said that he believes it should be in the hands of the state. He is kind have started to recall that a little bit. Now, he's saying he doesn't really care what he does.


I have heard from sources who say that he has acknowledged behind closed doors that, ultimately, he may have to take an actual stance on this with a number of weeks. But that is something he is going to avoid at all costs.

SANCHEZ: Yes. It's not something that he wants to get specific on. But historically, Donald Trump has been, on both sides of this issue, it was actually in 1999 on MEET THE PRESS, coincidentally, that for the first time, he laid out his vision on the issue of abortion, saying that he was pro-choice, but now, obviously a different point of view.

RHONDA COLVIN, WASHINGTON POST CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: That's right. And you hear him a lot on the campaign trail talk about how he put the justices on the Supreme Court, who decided Dobbs, and he's been touting that as part of his whole identity that he is against abortion.

But as we see here, he is trying to figure out which way to go right now. And we're seeing all the candidates do that right now, where you're seeing Nikki Haley lean into, saying that she doesn't support a federal ban, because she doesn't think the Senate has the votes to pass it.

So you're all seeing them respond on the question of abortion. I think they're saying that it's very important to the electorate right now. They saw what happened in the midterm elections when the House did not get as many Republican seats as they thought they would. I think they're all gauging that this is going to be a very, very galvanizing issue.

SANCHEZ: Yes. Margaret, you were going to say something.

MARGARET TALEV, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I was going to say, but he's not advocating a -- an absolutist position. I mean, if there's consistency in what Donald Trump's doing, it's -- what he's telling the base of his party is this is a political loser.

And that what you want is something that you can get consensus on. And what he's saying is that there's wide American consensus on protecting abortion rights, at least in the first trimester. We know that that's true from every poll. It gets a little wobbly or in the second trimester, and much wobbly are in the third trimester. So he's advocating, taking a political approach in the presidential election to abortion politics. He is the only Republican in the GOP contest who can get away with that messaging to his base.

SANCHEZ: It may not be a winner in the national general election. However, in a place like Iowa, and we have a poll of evangelical voters, their key to winning Republican caucuses.

Other candidates, obviously, talk a lot about their faith, as you see there. Some 64 percent of voters in Iowa describe themselves as born again or evangelical Christians. A lot of candidates talk about themselves as a spiritual.

You heard Tim Scott, they're quoting the Bible. But, ultimately, they're still siding with Trump. He leads overwhelmingly now.

COLVIN: Yes. This is really an interesting thing to watch. Because as you point, there is an overwhelming part of the electorate in Iowa who identify as evangelicals, and also Trump to point out back in July, he also missed another evangelical event that some of the candidates went to.

Right now, I think everyone's trying to figure out which way Iowa is going on this question, because there are folks in Iowa who are not quite pleased with the indictments that does not agree with their values. And so you're going to see, I think, over the next few months, which candidate is able to really present a message to evangelicals, because you do need them in order to build that momentum in Iowa.

HOLMES: It was interesting. So on Friday, Donald Trump spoke here in D.C. at a Christian women's dinner. And I was listening to his speech, and to the women that were speaking before him, even before he took the stage, there were five or six prayers throughout the audience. This was a very religious group.

One woman stood up there, the head of the group, and she said, you know, people ask me, how you can support Donald Trump given everything? And I say, when I'm looking for a leader, I'm not looking for a preacher or a husband, I'm looking for a fight or something along those lines.

It was interesting, because that's kind of the sentiment you hear from these evangelicals. Even in Iowa, the people who still support him, many of them are still willing to overlook this. Others, though, as you mentioned, having a lot of problems with that.

SANCHEZ: They may not agree with him, but polling indicates they believe he's most effective on this issue, at least CNN poll, right?

I do want to get to the question of South Carolina Senator, Tim Scott. He's never been married. But this is the first question that he got last night in Iowa. Let's listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So other than your mama, is there any special lady in your life?

SCOTT: Yes. So if you haven't read about her yet, I don't -- I sure why not. It's one of the more asked questions recently. I do. I'm dating a lovely Christian girl.

I'm so thankful to know a risen savior that's helped guide my way. And I'm so thankful that he's allowed my life to intersect at the right time with the right person.


SANCHEZ: As he noted, it's been something that's in the press lately. The question of who this girlfriend is. Is she real? Did she go to another school? Is she not real? Margaret, do voters care?

TALEV: Yes. Some might. Yes. I mean, look, in the -- in the Republican base where family values are such a big issue, the reason that this is getting so much coverage is because it is a question that keeps coming up. And I think the lovely Christian woman, I hope it's a woman. It will have to be, I think, presented at some point if this -- if this campaign reaches critical mass.


But right now, this is a one man race, it's Donald Trump. And everybody else added up together, including Tim Scott, does not add up to Trump's numbers in the contest.

But, yes, I think if Tim Scott were to emerge as either the nominee of the GOP or as the vice presidential half of the ticket of the nominee, this would have to go from a conversation that's couched in privacy to, you know, to an introduction to the contrary.

SANCHEZ: Sure. Sure. Rhonda, do you agree that this is something critical or not going to be critical but important to voters?

COLVIN: It might be. And if you read the article that Tim Scott is referring to, as written by one of my Post colleagues and it was a deep dive into looking at, does this matter to voters right now?

You have others who have run on sex scandals, yet, he's running as a single man or dating a nice Christian woman or lady or girl, but whatever he says.

SANCHEZ: Preferably of age.

COLVIN: Of age, yes. So it is something that I think you might hear in places like Iowa, maybe New Hampshire, or some of these early states. But it is an interesting question right now, can a candidate run without having the family image?

SANCHEZ: still plenty more to discuss, so please stand by. Because next, the Freedom Caucus is checking impeachment inquiry off their bucket list. And the White House is preparing for a fight. Stay with us.



SANCHEZ: Hardline Republicans -- hardline Republicans in the House are savoring a sweet, long-awaited victory.


REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE, (R) GEORGIA: I'm excited we have an impeachment inquiry and I want this to take a long time. I really do. I see two goals in this. The first goal is investigating Joe Biden's crimes and the crimes of his family. The second goal is to cast a wide net into every department and agency to find all the people that covered this up.


SANCHEZ: Covered what up exactly? Who knows at this point? While some of Hunter Biden's business dealings may have been in question, there is still nothing. No evidence presented so far by Republicans directly tying the president to any illicit activity.

Still, the pro-Trump base is thrilled. So how about swing voters? Here's part of a focus group from last week. These are Pennsylvanians who voted for Trump in 2016 and then Biden in 2020.


BETH: I thought when I saw the clip on the news was, "Oh, goodness sake." That's what was in my head.

MATT: I just view it as retaliation. I think what's probably going to happen for a long time coming is that if one party is not holding office, that they're going to be attacking the president.

JONATHAN: Just, why? Again, for all the reasons. There's no evidence and it just feels like it's so out of left field. It's distracting.


SANCHEZ: Margaret, your thoughts on hearing those voters?

TALEV: Yeah, so this is the Axios engages monthly swing voter focus group panel. We were in Pennsylvania this past month, and these are swing voters who are defined as people who voted for Donald Trump in 2016 and then voted for Joe Biden in 2020.

So with that caveat, they've already been moving away from Donald Trump. But what they're saying is they just think it's politics, like transparently political, a waste of time, not what Congress should be focused on, not an appropriate use of impeachment powers or investigatory powers at this point.

There's a million ways to slice the polls. There are a lot of Americans, swing voters in polls who say stuff like, yeah, we think Hunter Biden probably did something illegal and Joe Biden probably did something to help his son. But the leap from there to impeachment inquiry is a gulf. And that swing voter focus group shows it, and there are a lot of Republicans who don't care because it's red meat to the base.

The problem, politically. Forget about like for democracy and the government, future of America and stuff. The problem politically is that for Republicans in swing districts or in statewide races that are swing, that's problematic for them. And that is why there is real division between the Senate Republicans and the House Republicans and inside the House Republican caucus itself.

HOLMES: Well, I do want to note one thing here because Donald Trump's team was very concerned about that reaction in general. They were very angry when all the reports came out that he had been speaking to Marjorie Taylor Greene and to Elise Stefanik about the impeachment. They did not want it to seem like it was a revenge situation. They did not want voters to think that he was just going after them and directing them to do that.

And in fact, I spoke to Marjorie Taylor Greene on the phone after Kevin McCarthy announcement and -- made the announcement and after it had been clear that Trump's team was pushing back on this. And she was very clear to tell me this was not retaliation. He's not sitting there. He's not directing us to do anything. Even though she had just recently said that she had dinner with him and that he talked about engagement.


HOLMES: It was very clear. I mean, there was a lot of pushback from Trump's team. And it's interesting to hear these voices because that was what they were worried about.

SANCHEZ: And the fact is Trump himself has been out there saying, hey, they impeached me.

HOLMES: Right.

SANCHEZ: I'm going to impeach -- you know, I'm going to have my folks impeach you effectively.

Rhonda, let's take a step back and walk through what Republicans in the House are actually alleging was wrongdoing by Joe Biden.

COLVIN: Yeah, so what they surmise right now is, and what we've heard from Kevin McCarthy, is that they have enough whistleblower testimony from the Oversight Committee. They have documents. They have text messages that show that Joe Biden knew his family used their access to him in order to influence business deals. They call it influence peddling.

But they have no evidence of that. They say they want to open up this inquiry in order to find some evidence, strengthen the case of. The interesting thing to note about an inquiry is that constitutionally, it doesn't have a timeline. I know Marjorie Taylor Greene said she'd like it to go on for a while. But there is no timeline.

And the endgame doesn't necessarily have to be impeachment. So all of us on the Hill are now wondering, well, what's the next step? Where are we going to see? Are we going to see hearings? Are we going to see witnesses compelled to talk to Congress? We just don't know at this point because there is no evidence.


SANCHEZ: Let's listen to something Mike Penn said last night in Iowa from the Faith and Freedom Caucus about the impeachment inquiry.


MIKE PENCE, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't want to jump to conclusions about this, but I must tell you, where there's smoke, there's usually fire in Washington, D.C. And the American people -- the American people deserve the facts.


SANCHEZ: It seems like Republicans are trying to point to some of the smoke that's around Hunter Biden, who was indicted on federal gun charges earlier this week, or last week I should say, and the president, but back to Rhonda's point, there isn't a clear link.

TALEV: In the history of the country, there have been almost no impeachments of presidents, and this is obviously going in that direction. They've all been bunched together, you know, for the most part, around now. And this is -- there is certainly a political component to this effort, which is to say, almost that there should be some kind of parody.

Well, Democrats thought Trump did something wrong so they impeached him. So now Republicans think Joe Biden did something wrong so there's an inquiry into whether to impeach him. But there's completely different facts sets built around this.

Ultimately, it's a political tool, and these members have the right to do it, even if constitutional experts and historians all say, this is a very thin predicate, this isn't what the founders intended impeachment for. It's ultimately the voters who decide whether this is an appropriate use of taxpayer funds and an appropriate claim to pursue an investigation towards impeachment. And as long as base voters support their party in this inquiry, I don't see what's going to dissuade them from doing it.

SANCHEZ: Yeah, somebody whose profile has certainly been elevated by the issues surrounding Hunter Biden is Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz. He actually spoke to the next anchor of Inside Politics Sunday, Manu Raju about that last week.

Here is some of what he said after Hunter Biden was indicted.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hunter Biden just got indicted. Do you have any reaction to that on a false statement and gun charge?

REP. MATT GAETZ, (R) FLORIDA: Yeah, I'll be honest. I mean, getting Hunter Biden on the gun charge is like getting Jeffrey Dahmer on the littering.


SANCHEZ: So as Margaret alluded to before, red meat for the base, what happens, though, if they go through with this inquiry and they find nothing?

COLVIN: Yeah, there's a lot of political implications that could surround that if they find nothing. And right now they are in a corner because they've launched this inquiry. They've told America they have evidence that they want to follow. So it appears they're going to have to come up with something to please the base.

But I think one of the -- one stunning things that I saw this week was an op-ed in Washington Post by Ken Buck. He's representative out of Colorado. He's part of the Freedom Caucus that is a part of that hardline group. He wrote to his Republican colleagues that we've got to stop this because there is not a solution. smoke and gun yet we don't have any facts. And for him to say that as a part of the freedom caucus, that's pretty stunning. So I think that also shows that there are also divisions within the freedom caucus, within the Republican GOP caucus in the House.

SANCHEZ: Yeah, notably Buck is on the Judiciary Committee, which has been investigating Hunter Biden. And he says there's no evidence tying Hunter to his father. Kristen, quickly Donald Trump spoke during the interview with Kristen Welker about the United Auto Workers Strike, something that's been a challenge for President Biden. Is there a wedge there where Trump can use the strike to gain some of those voters? Because Unions are critical for President Biden?

HOLMES: I think that his team believes that there is. I think that they are looking for any kind of break that they can get in terms of a general electorate. And they do see what they have seen in 2016, which was when you look at states like Ohio, Rust Belt states, Wisconsin, that were traditionally Democratic. A lot of these states traditionally heavy in Unions went for Donald Trump for the first time.

And I do think that Trump's team believes that if they're going to see a break in, you know, general electorate, that that's one place that they can look.

SANCHEZ: Please stand by because we're going to talk more about Kevin McCarthy's big bet in just a few moments. Could his call for an impeachment inquiry end up costing him his job and potentially a Republican majority?


SANCHEZ: How Speaker Kevin McCarthy rolled the dice and now he might lose his House. Speaker wager that ordering an impeachment inquiry might be enough to calm the right-wing flank threatening to oust him from his job.

But instead, hardline Republicans are still threatening to remove him by using a parliamentary maneuver called a motion to vacate. His response behind closed doors, file the effing motion. Listen.


KEVIN MCCARTHY, HOUSE REPUBLICAN LEADER: Look, threats don't matter and sometimes people do those things because of personal things and that's all fine. I don't walk away from a battle. I knew changing Washington would not be easy. I knew people would fight or try to hold leverage for other things. I'm going to continue to just to focus on what's the right thing to do for the American people. And you know what? If it takes a fight, I'll have a fight.


SANCHEZ: Rhonda, you mentioned Congressman Ken Buck, a moment ago. He has tied this impeachment inquiry to the fight over government funding, saying that McCarthy needs a shiny object. Do you think McCarthy has a strategy here to keep the government open? Does he have a plan to keep his job?

COLVIN: It doesn't appear like a clear strategy today, although we have about seven legislative days left until the government shut down. You know, I'm not sure where Kevin McCarthy goes. I think it's going to be a really messy two weeks before the government shut down deadline.

I know the hardliners are also demanding things with the budget that he either will give into or not, but if he doesn't, then there could be a shutdown. So he's in a really difficult position right now. I'm not sure what will please the hardliners.


I think the motion to vacate has been such a leverage tool for them that that's more powerful than if they wanted to be speaker themselves. So I'm just not sure where we go from here at this point, but we'll see soon.

SANCHEZ: And we should point out they baked that motion to vacate into the agreement to get him elected speaker to begin with.

COLVIN: Exactly. Exactly. He had to agree to that in order to be Speaker.

SANCHEZ: Right. Let's play sound from McCarthy's foil. Here's Matt Gaetz of Florida.


GAETZ: That is that is an abject lie from a sad and pathetic man who lies to hold on to power. He lied to get power in January when he made this agreement and he's lying now about the basis for breach. And you know what? Eventually the lion has to come to an end and the votes are going to start on a motion to vacate.


SANCHEZ: Let's connect the dots. So Gaetz there is talking about McCarthy kind of alluding to what we heard in the soundbite that this is personal. Gaetz is denying that what's going on between he and McCarthy is something personal. So the question Rhonda brought up a moment ago, what do these hardliners actually want? Do we know?

TALEV: Well, I think it's fair to say that even if it didn't start personal, it's personal now.


TALEV: Yeah, I think they want to shut down even if it is brief and short lived because they want to be able to say that they are trying to force a change in culture and Washington around spending and things like that.

The -- it makes for good TV, but in reality what would happen next if Kevin McCarthy were toppled as speaker? Who would be the consensus candidate to replace Kevin McCarthy? My colleague Andrew Solander at Axios had some interesting reporting where he talked to a bunch of Democrats. They were like, oh no, we'd much rather keep Kevin McCarthy than delve off the cliff into another sort of era of uncertainty given all the stuff that Congress is trying to deal with and vote on.

So I just think McCarthy actually has more levers than Democrats than Matt Gaetz's acknowledging. But I think it's, look, shutdown is this tool that it's become, like, it was once like a crazy thing, like, oh my God, there's going to be a shutdown. And nobody even blinks anymore. It's like, OK, there's probably going to be a shutdown for five minutes, you know?

SANCHEZ: Kind of like to your point earlier, impeachment.

TALEV: Well, I think impeachment is still a rarer tool than shutdowns are.


TALEV: But the challenge again for the Republican Party is that, although it is satisfying to some elements of the party in some solidly-read districts, as a whole, when you ask Americans after the fact about a shutdown, who do you blame for the shutdown? Whose fault is it? It does take a hit to the Republican Party. It hurts Republicans overall, and again, that adds pressure on Republicans in those swing districts.

SANCHEZ: Yeah. HOLMES: Here's my question, and this is about, you're talking about what do they do if McCarthy leaves, right, who would replace him? But what do they do if McCarthy stays? Because at this point, is this going to be every single time that there's any kind of movement, any kind of bill, anything that these hardliners want? There's a motion to -- you know, they threaten a motion to vacate then the entire thing comes to a standstill.

At some point, we don't the rest of the Republican caucus get fed up with this as well that he's just giving in. He's putting forward this impeachment which, you know, many believe is in response to this motion to vacate. It's what do you do in the scenario? Because even with him there, he cannot be pleasing members of his own party. I mean, the majority of people not these smaller group of hardliners.

SANCHEZ: And it could potentially be a threat come 2024. Kristen, Rhonda, Margaret, great to have all of you. Thanks for being with us.

Next, our resident CNN Fact Checker Daniel Dale is going to be here to analyze Donald Trump's first network TV interview in years. We're back in just moments.



SANCHEZ: No surprise here, Donald Trump's interview this morning on NBC's Meet the Press with Kristen Welker included a long list of deceptions, half-truths, and outright lies. So here to break down a few of them is CNN fact-checker extraordinaire Daniel Dale.

Daniel, good morning. Let's start with the issue of abortion because Trump claimed that Democrats in some states have passed laws allowing babies to be killed after birth. What's the truth?

DANIEL DALE: That's completely false. He mentioned New York. New York has a 25 -- excuse me, a 24-week abortion limit with exceptions after that for fetal viability and for the life and health of the pregnant woman. There is no such thing as abortion after birth as others have said killing the baby after birth. That is infanticide, Boris. It is illegal in all 50 states governed by Democrats, governed by Republicans.

SANCHEZ: Yeah, he seemed to take something that former Virginia Governor Ralph Northam had said in an interview and twisted his words taking them out of context, right?

What about Trump's claim that Nancy Pelosi was in charge of security on January 6th and turned down an offer that he says he made to send some 10,000 troops to the Capitol?

DALE: It is comprehensively false. We've heard this from him before. First of all Nancy Pelosi, the House Speaker is not in charge of capital security. That's the responsibility of the Capitol Police Board. Second of all, she has been emphatic that she never received such an offer, never turned it down, never even heard it. Third of all, even if she somehow had or for some reason had, she would not have had the power to actually reject it because the National Guard, the D.C. guard is under the authority, under the command of the president himself, not the Speaker of the House.

And Fourth, we should point out that Trump's own then acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller has testified that Trump never actually made a formal order or directed anyone to offer 10,000 troops rather he merely floated this idea informally while talking in an informal phone conversation never directed Miller to actually send the troops to the Capitol.

SANCHEZ: From the big lies to the little ones Daniel Dale as always, thanks so much for keeping him honest.

DALE: Yeah, and of course I'll add, I should add that there was more than that in this interview, of course. He, Trump, repeated his lie that the election was rigged stolen, that there was ballot stuffing caught on tape. There absolutely was not. He claimed, again, without evidence that Joe Biden directed, ordered Attorney General Merrick Garland to indict him. Again, no evidence for that whatsoever.


He claimed that he heard that there were zero -- people on the terrorist watch list caught at the southern border or encountered at the southern border in 2019 under him. The number has exploded today.

In fact, there were more in 2019, to this point in the fiscal year, than there have been in this fiscal year. And Boris, he even exaggerated, I'd say, lied on issues where the truth would be helpful to him. For example, he claimed that price of bacon has increased by five times under Joe Biden. It's actually increased 11%. So yes, it's gone up, but nowhere near what he said.

SANCHEZ: Yeah, a lot of mistruths there. Daniel Dale, needed a little bit of extra time to cover all of them. We appreciate it.

DALE: Thanks.

SANCHEZ: Hey, that is it for Inside Politics Sunday. If you enjoyed it, tune in to CNN News Central 1:00 through 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Up next, State of the Union with Jake Tapper and Dana Bash. Jake's guests this week include former Vice President Mike Pence and Senator Bernie Sanders talking about the UAW strike. Thanks again for sharing your Sunday morning. Appreciate it.