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Inside Politics

Judge Issues Gag Order After Trump 's Social Media Posts; Republicans Start Speaker Search After McCarthy Ousted; Hunter Biden Weighs Fundraising as Legal Bills Top $10 Million. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired October 04, 2023 - 12:30   ET



BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: President's plans are to leave at the lunch break of court today. So in about half an hour or so, he will head straight to the airport and down to Mar-a-Lago where he is expected to stay until a campaign stop over the weekend. Now listen, he has been in court all morning and he has been visibly agitated at the reminders from the judge that this is not a jury trial after things that have been happening inside the courtroom. It's something that he has complained about outside the courtroom as well.

It is important to note as we discuss this that this case does not allow for a jury trial. Case law from what the state attorney general sued the Trump and Trump Org on doesn't allow for it. So, that is why this is a bench trial, that is why the outcome will be decided by the judge that is currently sitting there on the bench, the same judge that really angered -- was angered by the former president yesterday, as you told your viewers there. This is all from a Truth Social post that Donald Trump put on about -- a picture rather of his -- the court -- the judge's clerk with Senator Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. And in it, he without any evidence said that she was Schumer's girlfriend.

Again, this was a bridge too far for this judge who has been personally attacked by Trump himself as well and he issued this gag order saying no one is allowed to talk about or to put on social media anything about my staff. And he said there will be strict sanctions in place, although it is very unclear what that means. So Dana, as we look ahead and the former president leaving, to be determined when he returns, will it be the time where he is a witness on the stand. Again, that is something that he has expressed he is eager to do, Dana.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT AND ANCHOR OF 'INSIDE POLITICS': We'll see about that. I know you are probably in the same boat...


BASH: I am on the skepticism of (inaudible) actually be on the stand. We'll see. Brynn, thank you so much for that reporting. And I want to talk to a couple of legal experts about all this, former federal prosecutor Elliot Williams and criminal defense attorney Joey Jackson. Joey, I'm going to start with you up in New York. And it wasn't just a social media post from the former president. He also, in one of his long rants, standing in front of the cameras at that courthouse on Monday, talked about this unsubstantiated allegation about the judge's clerk. Let's listen.


DONALD TRUMP, (R) FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I hope my lawyers go in and I hope that they fight him very hard because this guy is getting away with murder. And his clerk should not be allowed to be in his ear on every single question. You take a look at what is happening with her. She hates Trump more than he does.


BASH: Again, there is no evidence to back up what he is saying and the judge is clearly upset which is why the judge imposed this gag order, Joey.

JOEY JACKSON, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yeah, it is problematic, Dana, for the following reason, right? What you say obviously has consequences and what you say when you are the former president of the United States, running for president and have a following like that has consequences as well. And so we're talking about threats and danger to the public, potentially, by people who hear these things and really internalize them, and perhaps opt do something about it.

And so, I think that the judge appropriately decided that don't say anything else because if you do, there will be more consequences of the variety of fines. And so, it remains to be seen, as you noted, whether or not Trump will abide by it, but fines are one thing and certainly having the ability to hold him in contempt in jail, I don't think that will happen, is another. But I wonder if the judge comes at a point and say, look, if you have a defendant like this in a case who is so flouting of judicial authority, so disrespectful of courtrooms and proceedings, then would that be a person to engage in fraud and not care about the general public and not care about anything that goes on in court? So that I think I'm going to be looking for.

BASH: Yeah, I mean Joey, in a very elegant way, Elliot, just basically suggested that this judge -- again we can underline, this is not a jury, this is a judge. So he is really angering the judge which will decide the fate of -- it is not a criminal trial, it is a civil trial, but the fate of his wallet.

ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST AND FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Yeah. He has an audience of one here, not an audience of 12.

BASH: Yeah.

WILLIAMS: And he has gotten under the skin of that one audience. What it appears to be happening here is the former president and his team know they have lost, or at least are likely to lose the rest of the trial. So now, they are just playing to the cameras. There could be no other possible explanation for that kind of behavior because simply, you know, there is like one rule in court -- don't get under the judge's skin (inaudible).

BASH: Well, that's may be more of a rule with the run-of-the-mill client...

WILLIAMS: No (inaudible).

BASH: ...not Donald Trump who is clearly very angry.

WILLIAMS: Absolutely. Absolutely.

BASH: Yeah.

WILLIAMS: But again, when the judge controls your fate either as a factual or legal matter, angering him personally by making unsubstantiated claims about his staff is simply not the way to proceed.

BASH: Joey, quick final word.

JACKSON: Yeah, I think that it is telling that the president may be departing this proceeding at least physically. Whether he tweeted about it and continues to flout the order remains to be seen. I think he will. But again, my open question is whether judge will say, OK, look, I'm going to adversely consider that against your client.


This is a fraud case. He directed traffic here. He doesn't respect me. He is not going to respect anybody else, including New Yorkers and his deceptive business practices.

BASH: Joey Jackson, Elliot Williams, thanks to you both. Coming up, we're going to speak to one of the eight Republicans who voted to oust Speaker Kevin McCarthy, Congressman Bob Good will join me in minutes. Plus, a congressman who speaks out against McCarthy's removal, Congressman David Joyce will also be here. Don't go anywhere.



BASH: The House of Representatives is now without a speaker, so who will succeed Kevin McCarthy? Joining me now to talk about that is Republican Congressman Dave Joyce who is a supporter of Kevin McCarthy. Thank you so much for joining me. It is very clearly raw when it comes to the emotions up there. How are you feeling today and what are your thoughts on what you witnessed and what you were a part of yesterday?

REP. DAVID JOYCE (R-OH): Well, Dana, it is always a pleasure to be with you. Obviously, you hit it right on the head as always, emotions are raw. And so I think that it was important that we did take the time out last night because I think it could have been physical after a while because the eight that defied the other 210 in the conference were walking around like they actually accomplished something and the rest of us were wondering where we're going from here.

And so feelings are raw and I've encouraged my members of the Republican Governance Group, look, take this time, listen to everybody, go home, be with your family, pet the dog, have a cookout. And when we get back here next Tuesday, let's regroup and take into consideration all the things we've heard and take actions then. Because I think people tend to be a little rash when their emotions are on edge.

BASH: Jim Jordan announced that he is running for speaker. Could you support him?

JOYCE: You know, I've heard a number of names. And like I said, I urge my group and I continue to urge everyone, including myself, to hold our powder, if you will, and wait until we get to the other side. And look at however many candidates emerge and then talk about the issues then. But I tell you one issue that I am not going to let up on and I am not going to agree with anybody until they are with us on, is the fact that we can't have one person be able to do this.

You know, you get a ring master who enjoys he and his buddies' self- flagellation, going out there and saying they are accomplishing something and they are fighting for the people. By doing what? By grinding this place to a halt? So we can't get our work done? That's nonsense and it needs to change. I wasn't a fan of it when Kevin relented on it, but Kevin thought by doing -- as he had done -- doing everything he was supposed to do, it wouldn't come up. But sometimes you forget about the perverse antics of some of these folks that they would rather fundraise than actually fix things.

BASH: You mentioned earlier that you are happy about the House taking a breath, taking a week to try to figure out what is next. But it is true that the House is paralyzed for a week until that happens. I want you to listen to -- I think the person you were referring to when you said ring leader, Matt Gaetz, what he said about that.


REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): But instead, whoa, these people have got to go home and cry for a week? They've got to go do a week of hand wringing and bed wetting over the fact that Kevin McCarthy is not Speaker anymore? This institution is about more than one man.


BASH: Your response?

JOYCE: He is pathetic. I mean let's face it, you can't go on like that. Why are we shut down? Because of his antics and because of what he did. He knows damn well when you strip the speaker of his duties, then we're powerless to move forward. We have bills that he is talking about, all stacked up. We've had them stacked up since the end of July.

BASH: Should he and the other seven be kicked out of the conference?

JOYCE: I don't see how they can really be part of a conference when they stand on the -- they come on the inside, listen to what is going on, then go outside and lob bombs in the middle?

BASH: Sounds like that is a yes.

JOYCE: Well, you know, I think it is -- again, I'm one of those who is a ground up thing. So I think it is important that everybody have an opportunity to take in what is happening and then make a collective decision when we get back. But if it was up to me, I'd vote for it. I mean it is a waste of time having conversations with these people and I think we need to start doing -- working and going forward as a unified group.

BASH: Congressman Dave Joyce, thank you so much for coming on. Next time, we will definitely have more time. Come back when you make a decision on who you want to be speaker, please.

JOYCE: Will do. Thank you very much. Have a great day.

BASH: OK. Want to get the other perspective now, one of the eight Republicans who voted to oust Kevin McCarthy, Congressman Bob Good of Virginia. You just heard Dave Joyce say that you and the other seven should be kicked out of conference.

REP. BOB GOOD (R-VA): Well, we're focused on selecting the best possible person for speaker. We're going to have a contest and a competition, not a coronation for the first time in how long, we won't have a presumptive speaker, the sort of next in line where you are supposed to fall in line, and you can't threaten the throne by raising your hand and saying that you are a challenger without fear of retaliation and consequence.

Members can freely raise their hand and say they want to run for speaker. They can freely express who they might support or who they are favoring or what they are looking for in a speaker, and we'll vet those candidates, debate those candidates, and quite frankly, this will be a win for the American people. It will be a win for the Republican conference.

BASH: So, you're not worried about getting kicked out of the conference?

GOOD: I'm focused on doing the best for the country. That is what this was about.


GOOD: That is what January was about. That is what this was about yesterday.


This was a blow against the uniparty system, the swamp cartel, the system that has given us $33 trillion in national debt and $2 trillion in deficit this year, that has Congress at 20 percent approval rating and 80 percent of Americans saying we're in the wrong direction, heading the wrong direction I should say.

BASH: Congressman, I want you to listen to what Kevin McCarthy said about the arguments that you are making right now. Because he basically says he doesn't believe you that you are a conservative.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY, (R-CA) FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER: They don't get to say they are conservative because they are angry and they are chaotic. That is 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.


BASH: Your response?

GOOD: Well, I can understand Kevin is upset, but I don't think that most Republicans would say that Kevin is the one who measures what is a conservative and what isn't. Certainly, if he had fought if our conservative principles, if his anger and his fighting spirit was intense toward the border and towards the reckless Democrat spending and towards the weaponization of federal government against its citizens, and if he was as committed to keeping his commitment to bring our bills to the floor for a vote well before the September 30 deadline, to bring a balanced budget, to not let the Democrats roll us with the debt ceiling agreement or not roll us with the CR that just passed with 209 Democrat voters in the House and 51 in the Senate, then perhaps he would still be speaker.

BASH: You have to decide who is going to be speaker. You are obviously going to get a vote as a member of Congress. Jim Jordan confirms that's is running. Will you support him?

GOOD: I'm going to wait until we have the candidate forum. I have candidates reaching out to me. As I told folks who said, oh, you don't have a plan, you don't have a candidate. They said that back in January and they said that before yesterday, when we all knew that no one was going to be a public candidate until there was no speaker or no presumptive speaker. So now, we'll have that contest, a healthy competition...

BASH: So, you haven't decided who you want?

GOOD: ...a healthy struggle. Haven't decided and there are several candidates I think who are qualified and capable and experienced, have stature and capability and influence within the conference. So the great thing is it will unify us to come together, we'll have to come together and...

BASH: So you...

GOOD: ...with 218, hopefully 221 in the conference meetings, hopefully just a day it takes, maybe it will take two or three days. It is better to get it right than to do it wrong quickly. And then hopefully, we'll come to the floor with all 221 voting for it on the first ballot.

BASH: Fewer than six weeks until the government shuts down again. If, whomever the next speaker is, cuts a deal with Democrats or dains (ph) to get Democratic votes to keep the government open, will you do the same thing to that speaker?

GOOD: Well, the good news is we will be together assessing those candidates and getting what is their plan, what is their strategy, what are their commitments, what will they do differently. And again, if 221 of us vote for that speaker, we have a vested interest not only to doing what is best for the country, which should be paramount, but secondly what helps us to advance our true conservative principles and do our best to stop the Biden, Pelosi, Schumer regime. Obviously, Kevin McCarthy has left the incoming speaker in a tough spot because he didn't pass, but for the spending bills, he didn't keep his commitments, so that speaker has the deadline of the calendar threatening him as well.

BASH: Congressman Bob Good, Republican-Virginia, thank you so much for coming on. I appreciate it.

GOOD: Thank you. Great to be with you.

BASH: And ahead, $10 million, that is how much Hunter Biden may owe his lawyers, and the bills, they just keep piling up. We've got new reporting on who he owes and how he is going to pay it, next.



BASH: New exclusive reporting just in to CNN. Hunter Biden needs cash. He racked up more than $10 million in legal bills over the last five years and could spend millions more as he deals with federal charges. His allies are considering fundraising, but that raises serious questions for his dad's White House and presidential campaign. CNN's Paula Reid is here and broke this exclusive. What are you hearing from your sources, Paula?

PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: So Dana, our colleague Kayla Tausche and I have been talking to sources over the past few weeks about just how much all of this has cost Hunter Biden, because resources are an important issue when you are facing a possible federal trial. And we've learned that over the course of the past several years, he has racked up more than $10 million in legal bills, and that comes from the fact that he's been under federal investigation for nearly five years.

He went through a divorce. He had a costly custody battle down in Arkansas. And he has also taken on a more aggressive litigious approach to his detractors. All that costs money. And his attorney Kevin Morris has paid for some of it, but some other Hunter Biden allies had hoped that they might be able to do some fundraising, that perhaps they'd get some help from some top allies of his father. That has not materialized.

There was also talk, we learned earlier this year, of a possible legal defense fund. But that never quite got off the ground.

BASH: So, how is this going to affect his strategy now?

REID: I don't think it is going to impact the more aggressive approach to his detractors. Earlier this year, he and Kevin Morris decided we're going to get a lot more aggressive, we're going to punch back. They brought in Abbe Lowell and they've been firing off lawsuits against people like Rudy Giuliani. That shows no signs of slowing down despite the fact that it's very expensive.

But looking ahead to a possible trial, maybe even two trials, they really have to do a calculation here because it is extraordinarily expensive to go up against the Justice Department.


I was in court with him yesterday where he was arraigned on those federal gun charges. Abbe Lowell told the judge that they're going to ask for an evidentiary hearing. They want to test that case. It's unclear if it's going to go to a trial. Also an open question about whether he will also be charged on tax charges that were supposed to be resolved with a plea deal. And I'm told that there is some hope that maybe all of this can ultimately be resolved with a plea deal, with a settlement. But as of right now, no meaningful talks of that.

BASH: And you mentioned plea deal. They thought that this was all going to be wrapped up...

REID: Exactly.

BASH: ...with that plea deal that fell apart in that very courthouse where you were yesterday. And now, it's one of the reasons why his legal bills keep racking up. Thank you for that exclusive reporting, Paula. Appreciate it.

REID: Of course.

BASH: And thank you for joining "Inside Politics." "CNN News Central" starts after a quick break.