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Republicans Start Speaker Search After McCarthy Ousted; Rep. Jim Jordan Says He's Running For Speaker; No. 2 House Republican Scalise Expected To Seek Speakership; Vote For New House Speaker Expected Next Wednesday; Biden Aims For "Business As Usual" Tone Amid House GOP Chaos; McCarthy Blames Democrats For Damaging Institutions; Acting Speaker Ejects Pelosi, Hoyer from special Capitol Offices; Trump Will Leave NYC Trial During Lunch Break, Fly Back To Florida. Aired 12-12:30p ET

Aired October 04, 2023 - 12:00   ET



DANA BASH, CNN HOST: Today on Inside Politics, winning was easy, governing is harder. Hardliners get the outcome they want. Kevin McCarthy is no longer the House speaker, but they forgot to figure out what happens now.

Plus, the race is on. Jim Jordan says, he's running for speaker. Others are already doing temperature checks with members. I'll talk to two Republican Congressmen and ask who they would back. That'll be in minutes. And a warning. Donald Trump is instructed by a judge to stay silent and say nothing about that judges' staff after the former president post and then delete an attack on a judicial clerk.

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

Up first, speaker for higher. The Republican rebels may have succeeded in kicking Kevin McCarthy to the curb. A very real question now is who can lead an unruly chaotic Republican conference, that puts its money where its motion to vacate is.

This morning, a little Washington humor at the former speaker's expense. You can apply now on the job site daybook for Kevin McCarthy's old job. The title and salary are pretty good, but it's fair to say whoever gets the gig is walking into a toxic workplace.

These are eight of your potential co-workers, the insurgents who history will record as helping engineer McCarthy's ouster and siding with Democrats to do so. McCarthy is now the third shortest serving speaker to ever hold the gavel. And now former speaker delivered a late-night invective, aimed squarely at those rebels. McCarthy says it's their turn to feel the heat.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): One thing I do know, this country is too great for small visions of those eight. Well, you know, one of the things when I was running for speaker, I said I couldn't get involved in primaries. But I told the conference, I'm a free agent now. I think I'm pretty good at electing people.


BASH: We'll talk more in a bit about those eight rebels. But first we want to go to Capitol Hill where CNN's Manu Raju is standing by. And Manu, I know you're getting some new information about one of the candidates for Speaker Jim Jordan. What is he saying?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I just caught up with him as he's meeting with the Texas delegation, which is the largest state delegation within the House GOP. Talking about his pitch to become speaker, trying to say that he wants to unite the republican conference but in a very significant comment that he just made to me.

I asked him about, if he speaker, would he move forward with the new aid package for Ukraine. And he said, "I am against that." That is further than Kevin McCarthy went as speaker of the House. Even though McCarthy put the brakes on moving forward and aid package, he suggested he can move forward with one if it was tied to the issue of border security.

But the next speaker will have a huge say in the agenda and as well as key issues like moving forward on aid to Ukraine. Now he did say that perhaps if the Senate were to send something over, they would consider it at that point, but he said Ukraine is not a priority for the American people.

One of the many things that he is saying behind closed doors as he tries to get the support to become speaker. Now he's going to take some time for the House Republicans to hash out who they want to become speaker. There are other candidates as well.

Steve Scalise, the number two Republican right now plans to run for speaker. He also is meeting with his Texas delegation. And I also caught up with Kevin Hern, who's a member -- who's a chairman of that largest Republican group with a conservative group, within the larger House GOP conference. He is open to the idea of running for speaker as well as caught up to both Jordan and Hern earlier, and they both made their pitch about why they think they could be the next speaker.


RAJU: What he said the moderates were concerned about, you know, politics or conservative politics?

REP. JIM JORDAN, (R-OH): I think we're conservative center right party. I think I'm the guy who can help unite that. I think my politics are entirely consistent with where conservatives and Republicans are across the country.

I think what I'm listening from people is they want a different face. They want somebody to put policies over personalities. And then look and see what we can do about, you know, listening a lot and see how we're going to move forward.

(END VIDEO CLIP) [12:05:00]

RAJU: Now, Kevin Hern there did not say that he was definitely running for speaker. He said he's simply listening to his members. He may run for other leadership positions as well. But make no mistake about it this historic vote yesterday to oust Kevin McCarthy. He is completely scrambled the House GOP leadership.

A number of members looking to get into different spots within the leadership. And it's not just a game of musical chairs. This is so significant because it determines the party's agenda, their strategy, their tactics, and ultimately determines the policy that affects the lives of people here in the United States and around the world.

So, these key decisions will be made, Dana, by next week as the House Republicans expect next week to nominate their candidate for speaker and then that person has to be elected to be the speaker of the House, in the full House. And that is going to be no easy task, because any four or five Republicans could defect and scuttle the plans for a Republican speaker, which is why these conversations are happening now for these potential candidates to get some support.

BASH: Great reporting, as always. Manu, I know you're outside that meeting of the Texas delegation where those potential possible speaker candidates are. So, get back to us if you get any new information. And here with me to share their reporting, CNN's Kasie Hunt, Seung Min Kim of the Associated Press, CNN's Eva McKend and CNN's Jeff Zeleny. I feel like we never left the studio. It was different. Yes, exactly. We all just saw each other.

Let's just start with that reporting from Manu. Jim Jordan is obviously being very aggressive, suddenly about trying to get the votes to be speaker. And the fact that we're going to talk a little bit more in the next segment about Ukraine and what they're saying over at the White House. But the fact that he believes that this is a good campaign platform, if you will, to say, I'm against Ukraine funding. What does that tell us?

KASIE HUNT, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: I mean, I think it tells you everything. I think it also tells you where Jim Jordan obviously is positioning himself, can be obvious place for Jim Jordan to position himself. But, you know, I was just talking with another Congressman Kelly Armstrong, who was actually a strong supporter of Kevin McCarthy, who had reservations about Ukraine funding.

I mean, I think this has really become something that's coming from, I would say, I mean, Jeff, I think you're out on the trail more than I am talking to what I would call a MAGA base. But I think these members really -- there are some serious bottom-up pressure on them right now that they are picking up.

And so, I think Jordan is kind of reflecting that and kind of a broader -- in kind of a broader sense. And, you know, in terms of his bid for speaker, but have you ever seen Jim Jordan do anything in a manner that was not aggressive, right? BASH: OK, fair. I just, nope. I also, I'm just remembering the days of standing in the hallway with you guys back when he was making John Viener's life a living, you know what, and he was flame thrower. And imagining him in the position where his life would be made, you know, what, and not the flame thrower, but the flame target, if you will, is it's hard to say but, you know, it's going forward.

And as we talk more about that. Jeff, I want to bring you in an answer to Kasie's question. He's not the only one running for a speaker. Patrick McHenry is the current sort of temporary speaker, if you will. Steve Scalise is the number two, who is also considering running. Tom Emmer is the whip who is also considering running. Jim Jordan is running, and then Kevin Hern.

You just heard the, Manu talked about him. He's a conservative. He is the leader of what's known as the Republican Study Committee, which used to be Freedom Caucus, like the most conservative House Republicans.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: You know, it's not, but it's still big. I mean it's still the biggest sort of blot. So, look, I mean, those are the names we know now. My sense is from speaker's race is gone by that there can be surprises. I mean, Dennis Hastert did not think that he would become speaker after a Congressman Livingston had to step aside. So that's a bit of history.

But as we go forward here, there's a bit of time. Clearly what happened last night, there was a bit surprising was to have a timeout, if you will, and let the steam sort of escape from the Capitol. But during that time, some people are stepping into the vacuum here. And the letter that Jim Jordan sent to his members, he's getting right to it.

So, we'll see if others jump in there or not. But I think the questions are here, Ukraine absolutely is going to be a one of the issues, but also a procedurally. There are some moderates who want the rules to change and the motion to vacate to change, obviously, some hardliners do not want that to change. What that is, of course, is that the one person can throw out the speakership.

So, I think in addition to issues, there are going to be some procedural questions, as well. But this is also a popularity contest in some respects. So, how these members have treated their rank and file is very, very key. Tom Emmer, that's why I think that he and Patrick McHenry and Steve Scalise.


First and foremost, Steve Scalise has so much goodwill from kind of a broad spectrum. His health is a concern as he recovers from cancer. So those are some of the issues here. And is Donald Trump going to win? He's been utterly silent, essentially silent. My guess is he will not say that for sure.

(CROSSTALK) BASH: Let's talk about the retribution, potential retribution for those eight. And let's listen to what Kevin McCarthy said, among many other things, about those eight who voted to kick them out.


MCCARTHY: They don't get to say they're conservative because they're angry and they're chaotic. That's not the party I belong to. The party of Reagan was if you believed in your principles that you could govern in a conservative way. They are not conservatives and they do not have the right to have the title.


EVA MCKEND, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: I don't think that this attack really lands on them. You know, these, I think folks that voted to oust McCarthy, they have a lot more power than they once did. This is not the Republican Party of years past. Congresswoman Mace, Congressman Gaetz, they can fundraise off of this without issue. They can rely on small dollar donors.

So, the threats from the establishment really ring hollow. And we're talking about the next speaker, Dana, but who's to say we're not going to be in this position several weeks from now. I mean, none of the candidates that have been floated so far can do a whole lot more anything different than what speaker McCarthy did?

BASH: You know, the question, a very good question is, why are they waiting a week to do this? And part of the answer might lie in some of the comments that we're hearing from these Republicans. Very, very raw, very angry. Chip Roy, Republican of Texas, is one of those. He was on a radio show with Steve Deace, out of Iowa. You got to listen to this.


REP. CHIP ROY (R-TX): You want to come at me and call me a rhino, you can kiss my ass. You go around talking your big game and you thump in your chests on Twitter. Yes, come in my office and have a debate mother. I'm not going to a nunnery because (Audio beep) there were people who were buried over in Normandy, who deserve us to stand up for what they fought for.

So that's what I'm going to do. And all of you (Audio beep) there, who are out there saying what you're saying out on social media, you stick it. I'm going to go down to the floor and do my job. And I'm going to stand up for the people who fought for this country.


SEUNG MIN KIM, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Lot of emotions right now in the House Republican Conference. But I will also point out that a lot of this, you know, some of the rationale for oust seeing McCarthy a speaker, obviously stemmed from the whole fight over the budget deal, keeping the government open. And theoretically, House Republicans wanted to spend the next, you know, 40 some odd days working on actual appropriation bills, doing the work of the people, try to get the government funded, even if those bills were kind of DOA in the Senate.

And now all that oxygen is going to be consumed by trying to figure out who the next speaker of the House is, which is why I was actually kind of surprised that they weren't just going to kind of stay in town for the next, you know, three days or so to try to figure this out before next Wednesday. But that is the path that they are doing right now.

And I'm also surprised that we don't see and speaking of retribution, why we haven't yet seen and expulsion resolution for Matt Gaetz yet, but maybe we'll see that soon.

BASH: Yes, exactly. To this retribution going on all over the place. We have a lot more to talk about, particularly on this because the interim House speaker is already taking heat for his first order of business, which was targeting to top Democrats. Also next, how does President Biden play this chaos on Capitol Hill. We're going to go to the White House and get some reporting on that.




BASH: Now we're going to go down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House where they're trying to remain above all the turmoil on the other side of the government on Capitol Hill. They are of course expressing concern about how the speaker vacancy could affect major priorities like Ukraine funding. Kayla Tausche is live at the White House with the latest. What are you hearing from your sources in that building behind you, Kayla?

KAYLA TAUSCHE, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Dana, the president's reelection campaign and the Democratic National Committee highlighting the chaos on social media calling the GOP a three-ring circus and posting any number of memes about House Republicans. But the president in his official capacity is not exactly taking a victory lap. Aides are trying to project an image of calm and business as usual for Biden.

And yesterday the White House released a statement immediately after or in the short aftermath after the House voted to oust McCarthy a speaker that said this. President Biden has demonstrated that he is always eager to work with both parties in Congress in good faith on behalf of the American people. Because the urgent challenges facing our nation will not wait, he hopes the House will quickly elect a speaker, urging Congress to get back to the business of governing especially with the clock ticking on funding the government in the next month and a half or so.

To that end, President Biden is going to be giving a speech today on student loans and forgiveness plans. And the administration is still working behind the scenes to try to shore up support for Ukraine aid. Yesterday, John Kirby, the spokesman for the National Security Council said that the administration is confident that the vast majority of Republicans do support that aid that being House leadership and the chairs of the relevant national security committees, but he would not say how the administration viewed the potential speaker race and would not even address the speaker in the past tense yesterday. Dana?

BASH: So interesting. Thank you so much for that Kayla, and back here on the panel. There's no question we talked at the beginning of the last segment about the fight for the next speaker. Ukraine being a big issue that there's no question that there is concern at the White House about what's going to happen, nevermind in Kyiv about what's going to happen.


Part of what they have to get over in the short-term isn't just getting a new speaker, it's the discord that is going on and it's brutal and it's personal. One of the things that we heard from Kevin McCarthy is kind of an allegation or story that he told about a conversation he had with Nancy Pelosi, when he was trying to become speaker back in January, where he seemed to suggest that she said she'd have his back. Listen to this.


MCCARTHY: Nancy Pelosi came to me she was speaker at the time on the way out. I told her, I was having issues with getting enough votes. She said, what's the problem? I said, they want this one, one person can really out. She said, just give it to him. Always back you up. I made the same offer to Boehner and same thing to Paul because I believe in the institution. I think today was a political decision by the Democrats. And I think the things they have done in the past hurt the institution.


MCKEND: This criticism is so curious to me because it's not as if they already had a relationship where it would have made sense for that kind of argument or that kind of exchange to happen. But this, I mean, this is one of the most baffling narratives, I think, to come out from the right, right now that this somehow is all Democrats fault.

Speaker McCarthy didn't even approach Democrats in the final hour and try to make a deal. It was abundantly clear to everyone, following what was going on in Capitol Hill, that he was losing his right flank weeks ago. And that would have been the opportunity to work with Democrats.

ZELENY: It's certainly interesting. I mean, but even if they did have that conversation, boy, a lot has happened since they had that conversation. And that is speaker McCarthy at the time sort of going against the deal he made with President Biden. It's opening an impeachment inquiry, on and on. So, look, he was trying throughout the news conference last night to project optimism and be happy warrior, but he was deeply angry and wounded. And his relationship with Nancy Pelosi is accept -- I mean, essentially non-existent.

But I think the bigger picture here is if this next year and two months is supposed to be a referendum or a choice for the White House and for Republicans and Democrats. What all this is doing is sort of help in the president and the White House make the argument that this is not a governing body. This is not a governing party.

BASH: And yes, I want to talk big picture. But I just want to say, I did reach out to Pelosi's office about the allegation that McCarthy said that they -- that she said she would have his back. And the response was Pelosi has always made clear to McCarthy and to everyone that she values respecting the dignity and integrity of the House.

Nine months later, it's clear that no one on either side of the Republican civil war respects the institution. When it comes to that another thing that happened just barely 90 minutes after the McCarthy was kicked out of the speaker's chair. The Pelosi office got an email from the temporary speaker, Patrick McHenry's office.

This is at 6:11 pm last night, going to reassign h-132 for speaker office use. Please vacate the space tomorrow, which is we're kicking you out of your office in the Capitol. And they're doing the same to Steny Hoyer, I should say.

HUNT: Right. And it's just -- so people understand these offices are highly coveted. They make life as a member of Congress much, much easier if any of one has ever had to manage office space in an office building, you know, how fraught this is and how just kind of nasty, this is going to come across.

Now they say, of course, this is the first time we will have had two former speakers in serving in the Congress at the same time and this office space purportedly for McCarthy himself. But I think it really goes to show you just the level of personal animosity. And I guess, from, yes, between -- I mean, honestly, I think probably between McCarthy and Pelosi.

You know, McHenry is an interesting figure and all this. And I think we're still kind of getting to the bottom of exactly where this request came from. But, you know, I have to say, Jeff, listening to Kevin McCarthy there, say, oh, Nancy Pelosi promised me this. Like, I'm really surprised that Kevin McCarthy took Nancy Pelosi at her word there.

BASH: Well, there was a lot that just came tumbling out tonight (Ph), which was very interesting. All right, everybody stand by because we're going to go up to New York where Donald Trump is back in court today. But with new rules on what he can say and cannot say about his ongoing fraud trial. Will he follow those rules? That's next.




BASH: Former President Donald Trump is back in court today, but now under a gag order. The judge in his civil fraud trial put the order in place yesterday after the former president attacked one of the judge's clerks on social media. And now Donald Trump is leaving court early today.

CNN's Brynn Gingras joins me now from outside that courthouse in New York. Brynn, what's the latest?

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Dana. Colleague telling -- our colleague -- source telling our colleague, Alayna Treene that the former president's plans are to leave at the lunch break of court today. So, in about half an hour or so, head straight to the airport and down to Mar-a-Lago where he's expected to stay until a campaign stop over the weekend.

Now listen, he has been in court all morning and he's been visibly agitated at the reminders from the judge that this is not a jury trial after things that have been -- -