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Maryanne Trump Barry, Donald Trump's Sister, Dies At 86; Donald Trump. Jr. Testifying In NY Civil Fraud Trial; Donald Trump. Jr. Says His Father Is An "Artist" With Real Estate. Aired 12-12:30p ET

Aired November 13, 2023 - 12:00   ET




DANA BASH, CNN HOST: Today on Inside Politics, back on the stand, Donald Trump Jr. testifies for the defense in the New York civil fraud trial, describing his father as a "artist" with real estate who sees things that other people don't. Plus, a surprise drop out, Senator Tim Scott calls it quits, putting an end to his 2024 presidential campaign.

So, which of the seven remaining candidates will his voters go to or his donors? And sidestepping responsibility, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refuses to answer our questions about whether he bears any blame for the Hamas terror attack inside Israel on October 7, the deadliest attack on Jews since the Holocaust. I'm Dana Bash. Let's go behind the headlines and inside politics.

We're going to start in New York City where Donald Trump Jr. is on the stand as the first witness for the defense in the civil fraud case against his family and their businesses. CNN's Brynn Gingras is outside the courthouse. Brynn, before we start about what's going on in that courthouse behind you, there is some sad news for the Trump family today.

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. That's right. The former President's oldest sister Maryanne Trump Barry died today in New York. She was 86-years-old, a former federal judge and prosecutor appointed to the federal district court in New Jersey in 1983, and then the Third Court of Appeals appointed there by President Bill Clinton in 1999, before retiring from the bench in 2019.

She had a very close relationship at times with her younger brother, President Donald Trump, taking -- often having guidance for him, but they did have a sort of a -- their relationship was impacted, I should say, when their niece released some audio recordings of Maryanne Trump Barry talking about her older brother in a bad way in his last year of his presidency. So, they did have a bit of a falling out. But still, the oldest sister of the former President dying today in New York at 86-years-old, Dana.

BASH: And Brynn, there is this trial happening, as we speak, in the courthouse there.


BASH: Donald Trump Jr. on the stand. What have we seen so far today?

GINGRAS: Yes. So, it's been an interesting day there in the court, because we have been seeing a whole sort of summary of the assets of the Trump Organization playing out in a promotional video, and we're still going through that video with Don Jr. on the stand. He called his father an "artist" when it came to real estate, as they sort of go through each property that they own.

And the -- actually state's attorney objected to this video, saying even jokingly that this was outside the statute of limitations in this case, but the judge did allow this video to continue to play, saying he is actually interested in it, but also he wants to make it clear that he is giving the defense enough time to present its case, because he doesn't want a reversal in this trial. He does not want to re- trial. He wants to have sort of fair on both sides.

So, that's where we're at right now with Don Jr., the first witness in the defense on the stand. Prior to this video actually playing, though, we did hear about Don Jr.'s role within the Trump Organization. He said, when his father became President, he and his brother took on a role as sort of the asset managers. He took on the deal making of the -- the bigger picture deal making within the Trump Organization while his brother handled sort of the day to day.

And it's been somewhat lighthearted inside that courtroom, Dana, was some jokes being made, not only by Don Jr., but also the judge. The judge saying to him, welcome back, and Don Jr. said he wouldn't say he is happy to be back. But, he was worried about being sued by the attorney general for being perjury.

So, there has been some light hearted moments. So, listen, we haven't gotten into the nitty gritty of what this trial is about, those financial statements that the state says they manipulated to get better deals with banks and lenders. So, we're waiting to see that testimony. But, as of now, we're just learning more about the Trump Organization with Don Jr., the first witness for the defense on the stand. Dana.

BASH: Thank you so much for that reporting, Brynn. And on the campaign trail, former President Donald Trump compared the political left to "vermin", as he promised to root them out of the country. The comment came during a Veterans Day rally in New Hampshire on Saturday.


DONALD TRUMP, 45TH U.S. PRESIDENT: We pledge to you that we will root out the communists, Marxists, fascists and the radical left thugs that live like vermin within the confines of our country that lie and steal and cheat on elections and will do anything possible. They'll do it anything, whether legally or illegally, to destroy America and to destroy the American Dream.


The threat from outside forces is far less sinister, dangerous and grave than the threat from within.


BASH: Joining me now to discuss this and much more, our panel of reporters, Carl Hulse of The New York Times, Jackie Kucinich of The Boston Globe, and CNN's Daniel Strauss. Nice to see you all. OK. So, let's start there with where he is. The former President didn't just do it in a rally. He was very aggressive on his social media platform, again, through the prism of and in the context, specifically of Veterans Day, attacking the "radical left" as vermin and comparing them to Marxists and fascists. So, you know, he has got all sides of the spectrum there.

CARL HULSE, CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORK TIMES: I mean, as I've watched the last few weeks, no one can accuse him of hiding their plans, if he is going to be re-elected. The Times and others have done these pretty substantial stories on what their thinking is going forward. I mean, it was very out of the context. It was wrong in that moment, obviously, for him to speak like that. But, I think that we're just going to see this ratcheted up more and more and more.

BASH: Yes. I mean, that's such a good point, is that they're not -- the former President is not hiding what he says that he wants to do, not just when it comes to rhetoric and his political opponents, but also about the substance. Let's just talk for one more second, though, about his political opponents and the use of the term "vermin". We talked to historians, like The Washington Post did, and we just need to say for the record that the term "vermin" was really effectively used by Adolf Hitler and by Mussolini to dehumanize people and encourage their followers to go after their opponents.

DANIEL STRAUSS, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: I mean, the truth is that Trump has had a great deal of success in trying to rally anger and sort of otherism to his side and to use that as a tool to energize his supporters. And I think that's what we're seeing here. But, beyond that, though, this -- his remarks using the word "vermin" and just the way he has run his campaign underscores that this campaign cycle is one that's going to be very negative.

It is not going to be one that is about hope and change and the political future. This is going to be one that is about attacking opponents, about highlighting and making voters feel that you are on their side with their grievances.

BASH: Yes. It is classic Donald Trump. He gets people motivated through grievances, through anger, through other, and all of the above. I should say that the Trump campaign, through a spokesman Steven Cheung, said "Those who try to make that ridiculous assertion" about the notion of the word vermin and what it means "are clearly snowflakes grasping for anything because they are suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome and their entire existence will be crushed when President Trump returns to the White House." So, he is deflecting and confirming at the same time.

JACKIE KUCINICH, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, THE BOSTON GLOBE, & CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: And to say the last part of the sentence, I think, tells you everything you need to know. And we've just seen his rhetoric heighten and get worse throughout this cycle. There was a thought that maybe after January 6 he'd moderate. That is long gone.

That is so very far in the past, and the politics of retribution are really a hallmark. And you've seen some of his political opponents, even on the right, tried to say, he is about the past. We're about going forward. But, that message isn't seeming to land with the Republican base, which is continuing to fuel his rise during the nomination.

BASH: I asked the Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel about these comments. I did it on State of the Union yesterday. Let's listen to that.


BASH: How is that different from the now infamous deplorables comment that Hillary Clinton made?

RONNA MCDANIEL, RNC CHAIRWOMAN: I'm not going to talk about candidates that are in a contested primary. You that talk to him, Dana.

BASH: Well, you can download.

MCDANIEL: You could talk to him about what he is saying. I haven't seen the whole speech.


BASH: How many Republicans have you talked to in the hallways over the past, what -- how many years is it now, eight years, nine -- eight years, where you said President Trump said X, do you agree or do you not agree? And --

HULSE: I haven't read it. I haven't heard it.

BASH: I haven't heard it. And so, look, I mean, this is going to be legitimately so the question that every Republican is going to have to answer for if Donald Trump still is -- he is the frontrunner, but if he actually becomes the nominee.

HULSE: Yes. Trump does this stuff because it works.

BASH: It does.


HULSE: If it didn't work, he wouldn't do it. He has said as much that he likes to stir things up. And I think that there are a lot of Republicans, especially after last week's election results, nervous about this kind of language on some of the issues. And -- but, he is not going to stop, because it's not -- it's -- he is solidifying his hold on the base. It's not hurting him.

BASH: As we kind of get closer to the first nominating contests and we'll see what really happens as we eventually get to a general election, we're going to kind of just put a flag down now and say that nothing that Donald Trump says should surprise us at this point. And it doesn't. I mean, this doesn't surprise anybody. It's just a fact. And it's -- and we're reporting it as fact. Something else that maybe not is surprising beyond the rhetoric are the plans. And you were alluding to this, Carl, a little while ago, which is let's just focus on immigration.

His immigration plans that was first reported by The Times, CNN has confirmed, I'll give some examples, large-scale arrests of undocumented immigrants, detention camps for migrants awaiting deportation, reinstate and expand that travel ban on predominantly Muslim countries, and then bring back COVID-era policy, Title 42, which, of course, is an immigration policy that was lifted because the Biden administration sort of didn't see any health reason not to.

STRAUSS: I mean, these are -- these all harken back to some of the darker points in American history. But, one thing we should always, always remember is that what we've learned since 2016 is that Trump laid out what he wanted to try and do as President. And he is doing that again, here. Shame on anyone who doesn't take him seriously, or say that they are surprised by what he would do in office, because the voters believed him and knew warts and all what they were voting for in 2016, and he is making clear now what he would do in office again.

BASH: And what Carl said is so key, which is it works. There is a very large part of the electorate for whom this appeals to, not just the rhetoric, but the policy ideas.

KUCINICH: Well, right. But, we also -- we should mention that his -- the escalation of this rhetoric is directly proportional to the amount of legal jeopardy that he is in. And there is a means to an end of degrading the judiciary, which he has done throughout his first term and also going into this. And so, you -- that's just -- I don't want to stop the conversation without you can't separate that. And that is very much part of the plan here as well and the otherism and to make sure that his base is solidified against the fact that he is in very deep legal jeopardy and that he is just a victim here, is what he is trying to present.

BASH: OK. We're going to take a quick break. And when we come back, we're going to expand the conversation about the 2024 race. Senator Tim Scott stuns Republicans, including and especially many on his own staff, by abruptly announcing that he is suspending his presidential campaign. So, which remaining candidate will likely be his recipient of his support and the donors who are giving to him? That's coming up.





SEN. TIM SCOTT (R-SC): I love America more today than I did on May 22. But, when I go back to Iowa, it will not be as a presidential candidate. I am suspending my campaign. I think the voters who are the most remarkable people on the planet have been really clear that they're telling me that, 'Not now. Tim.'


BASH: And then there were seven. As you just heard, Tim Scott dropped out of the 2024 Republican primary for President. He did that last night. That announcement you just heard surprised his donors and stunned many, I would even say most of his staff.

I want to bring back our panel in on that. Carl, it was interesting that he did it with Trey Gowdy.


BASH: The two of them were --

HULSE: South Carolina.

BASH: -- besties from South Carolina. Very, very, very close friends. What do you make of the fact that he decided to do it now? Let me just say that, as you answer that question, I was in Miami last week for the debate, which turned out to be his last debate. There was no question in most people's mind, including privately, people who work for him, that that would be his last debate. Maybe it's the timing of him doing it so quickly after that debate.

HULSE: I think the endorsements in Iowa were going against him. Didn't leave him much chance. I mean, the truth is that he was never going to be the nominee. Right? He started out. And I think this, to me, it was always about raising his profile and honestly running for Vice President, if that is a possibility, right, that he could be that kind of a candidate with Trump, and Trump never really went after Senator. Did he?


HULSE: So, maybe he kept that open. He'll be back in the Senate now voting, I guess.

BASH: So, you'll see him soon. Let's look at who is still running. You see them there, Donald Trump, DeSantis, Haley, Ramaswamy, Chris Christie, Doug Burgum, and Asa Hutchinson, only the first one, two, three, well, Trump would have made the debate stage but he didn't even get there. He didn't want to go. So, there were now four who were on the debate stage. And just look at where the polling is. We kept Tim Scott in there just so you saw where he was, three percent, higher although it's within the margin, then Chris Christie and Asa Hutchinson. So, he does have some support. That is for the taking.


BASH: It doesn't add upto Donald Trump' lead.

KUCINICH: No. No. I mean, if you add everybody else -- BASH: I know.

KUCINICH: -- on the rest of the screen, it doesn't end up, and that is the thing.


Right now, it's still very much a fight for second place. You saw that on the debate stage just last week, and it looks like that going into this next debate in Alabama. And until someone -- it doesn't seem like someone is going to be able to boost themselves, what, 20, 30 points to even get close to Trump. Even the consolidation theory is quickly going out the window.

BASH: Yes.

KUCINICH: And what needs to happen next? I mean, it's until these candidates start missing the debate stage, which is what Tim Scott was headed for, essentially.

BASH: I went into journalism. So, I didn't have to do math.

KUCINICH: Exactly.

BASH: But, even that math is pretty easy for me.


BASH: You add all those up, it doesn't even come close to where Donald Trump is, all those meaning all of his opponents. Let's listen to what he said about endorsements.


SCOTT: I'm going to recommend that the voters study each candidate and their candidacies and frankly their past, and make the best decision for the future of the country. The best way for me to be helpful is to not weigh in on who they should endorse. I was not called the win, but I was sort of called to run. And I'll say this, that being Vice President has never been on my to-do list for this campaign, and it's certainly not there now.


BASH: But, if he is asked --

STRAUSS: Yes. I mean, you've heard that before.

BASH: Yes.

STRAUSS: Look, the -- I find it interesting that he said that he is refraining from endorsing, because there is a former governor on that stage who did give him his job as Senator initially and appointed him, and what's clear --

BASH: Nikki Haley. STRAUSS: Yes, Nikki Haley. And what's clear coming out of this primary for Senator Scott is that there is no love lost between those two after the fact, which is very strange, because Scott is generally a friendly person, generally universally loved on Capitol Hill. And, you know, this is politics.

BASH: You know, that might be true that things got very icy between the two of them, but Reuters had a story that includes some reporting about the fact that his supporters, three percent of them or whatever they are right now, are likely to go --

STRAUSS: To Haley?

BASH: -- to Haley.


BASH: "In the moments after Scott dropped off, two major donors to his campaign told Reuters they would switch their support to Haley, who like Scott hails from the state of South Carolina. Among the donors that supported Scott are now -- but are now switching to Haley's camp are metals magnate Andy Sabin and New York-based litigator Eric Levine. Levine said he planned to host a fundraiser for Haley." And that is even before what we're seeing Nikki Haley plan for now, which is a $10 million new ad buy campaign in Iowa and New Hampshire. So, some of the money people who were behind Scott certainly --

HULSE: Well, I mean, they were obviously looking for an alternative to Trump and somebody with a different manner. So, it makes sense they would go to -- go somewhere else. You know, I was thinking about endorsements. Scott was a handy person to endorse for people on Capitol Hill who didn't want to get into the middle of this and like I'm endorsing my colleague, Tim Scott, and they can't do that now.

BASH: That is such a good point. Yes. He was an easy way out. Of course, I'm going to endorse the guy we all like, my colleague, Tim Scott. OK. Everybody standby.

Up next, we're going to talk a lot more about your beat, your beat, and probably for a time your beat, Capitol Hill, certainly mine. House lawmakers are back in D.C. to consider House Speaker Mike Johnson's two-step plan to avert a government shutdown. But, are Republicans buying what he is selling? We're going to go live to Capitol Hill next. Oh, there is the clock.



BASH: The all too familiar countdown clock, you see it right there, it's ticking down to zero as the GOP-controlled House, will they pass a must -- must pass stopgap funding bill before Friday at midnight? There is again intra-party division over how to deal with a government shutdown, whether even to allow one. Some are yes. Manu Raju is live on Capitol Hill with the latest. Manu, where is Speaker Johnson's effort right now when it comes to his own party, the same kind of challenge that Kevin McCarthy had a little more than a month ago?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Look, this is his first major decision as Speaker, and that decision was essentially a take on his right flank, because he put out this spending bill that would not include any spending cuts. That had been demanded by a number of members on the right, and that's one reason why we're seeing opposition growing on the right flank. Now, this is the question at the moment. How many Republicans in the House will vote against it? And then, how many Democrats will vote for it? Because Democratic support will be absolutely essential here. That's -- but, the question that remains is, whether or not they will accept this approach that Johnson has proposed?

It's a pretty unconventional way to fund the government. Typically, they fund government agencies along the straight extension. What he has decided to do is do it in two steps, fund part some of the federal agencies until mid-January, then other parts until early February. The reason, they believe it would help them strategically to advance some of their legislative goals. But, that approach has been blasted by the White House, which calls it extreme, calls it a recipe for more chaos, and not saying yet if they will sign this into law if it lands on Joe Biden's desk.

On the other hand, Senate Democrats are sending a different message. It's sort of a more openness to this approach because of the fact that it does not cut spending.