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Inside Politics

Chris Christie Says Nikki Haley Won't Rule Out Being Trump's VP; Hunter Biden Makes Surprise Appearance in Contempt Hearing; Shutdown Threat Looms as Congress Negotiates Spending; Johnson Faces Uprising on the Right for Making Deals With Dems; Georgia District Attorney Spearheading Trump Case Subpoenaed in Prosecutor's Divorce Proceedings; Record-breaking Cold Threatens to Complicate Iowa Caucus. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired January 10, 2024 - 12:30   ET



TIA MITCHELL, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, THE ATLANTA JOURNAL CONSTITUTION: There's a huge chunk of Republicans who don't necessarily feel that way. And they might even be more comfortable with Nikki Haley on the ticket, thinking that she can help, you know, bring some gravitas and some seriousness to a Trump White House quite frankly.

But, I think Chris Christie is making a point that if you're truly anti-Trump, you're truly never Trump, you're truly let's move on, then if you're willing to pardon him or serve on a ticket with him, you don't really qualify for that. And he's saying he can't support her for that reason. I think -- I mean I do think he's making a valid point because at the end of the day, Nikki Haley has indicated that she will support Trump if he's the nominee, and she hasn't ruled out serving under him again.

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT AND ANCHOR OF 'INSIDE POLITICS': And really just underscores the significance of Iowa. She does better than expected. (Inaudible) a ton of momentum going into New Hampshire that could hurt Chris Christie and we'll see what happens to him with his donor money in particular.

OK. Coming up for us, hard-line Republicans are turning on Speaker Mike Johnson. Will he face the same fate as Kevin McCarthy? I'll talk to a top member of the Freedom Caucus next.



RAJU: A dramatic display in a Congress already marred by chaos. Hunter Biden crashing the House Committee hearing for holding him in contempt of Congress.


REP. ANDY BIGGS (R-AZ): This is absurd and inappropriate. I intend to give my statement. I don't intend to have anybody interrupt it. I am not going to interrupt your statements. I think you should have decorum and court, and don't act like a bunch of nimrod.


RAJU: I know this coming (ph) as Congress is once again staring down a shutdown deadline, and conservatives are once again angry with the deal cut by their leader. Joining me now is South Carolina Congressman Ralph Norman. He is a member of the Freedom Caucus. Congressman Norman, thank you so much for joining me this afternoon. You've been in favor of moving forward on impeachment proceedings with this president.

But there simply is -- running out of time where the Congressional calendar is closing, you have a very narrow majority. Are you concerned that -- simply that time may be running out for actually moving ahead with articles of impeachment for Joe Biden?

REP. RALPH NORMAN (R-SC): There's two separate issues. I mean, the impeachment of Biden, Mayorkas, and so many others is secondary to -- and that go on while we're deciding what to do in the budget. But the fact of the matter is the solvency of our country and the decisions on what we spend, which up until now is not looking good because you can't continue to spend more money than we make and add to the debt. So, it's designed like this.

I've seen this movie reel play out since I've been here six years, wait until the final minute, and then all of a sudden, oh, we're going to have to get serious about the budget. Well, our budget ended in September. You start a new budget. And so, we should have had it done way before Christmas. But we'll deal with it. It is what it is.

RAJU: Yeah. Before I turn to the funding fight, just to quickly get your response, do you think that support is waning within the conference right now to impeach Biden?

NORMAN: Absolutely not. You look at the facts about what this administration has done from the checks that went directly to him, the LLCs that were set up, the pseudo-names.

RAJU: But Congressman, I'm just talking about just the votes. Regardless of what is happening -- you talk to the members in your conference. Do you think the votes are there?

NORMAN: To impeach Biden, yeah. I mean, we'll see what -- there's more that James Comer and Jim Jordan have that will be coming. We've been off for three weeks. So we'll see what the -- where the evidence leads. I don't know what else people need if we don't have enough already, which I think we do.

RAJU: Yeah. All right. Turning to the funding fight that you mentioned. There's a lot of frustration, members have raised concerns about the deal that was cut. The deal, of course, cut between Speaker Johnson and Chuck Schumer. I want you to listen to what your fellow conservative Marjorie Taylor Greene told me about this yesterday.


RAJU: Have you lost confidence in him?

REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): I haven't seen anything come out of these negotiations that give me confidence. And that's the problem. People are saying that at home, and they do not want to see our Republican Speaker of the House getting rolled in these meetings behind closed doors. That's not what we want to see out of our speaker. Otherwise, what's the difference in, you know, Nancy Pelosi having the gavel and us having the majority?


RAJU: I mean, she is concerned that he is essentially getting rolled by Democrats. Are you concerned that Speaker Johnson, this is not the first deal he cut with Democrats, he is getting rolled by Democrats?

NORMAN: Well, we -- that's up to us to bolster him up and say we can't do that. With me, the top priority is to die on a hill (ph) is -- for is to shut the border down. And my position, no more illegals crossing the border. Put that as a prerequisite to any funding. Why fund a government that's working against the people of this country? And we've got a national security threat with the 8 million, 10 million, however many million people that are in this country. It's time to stop. That's the hill to die on. I'm tired of saying we're going to deal with it next week. This administration is letting all the illegals in for power to get votes. And I'm simply tired of it.

RAJU: And the speaker has not said if you will actually include those immigration provisions in this bill to keep the government open. Maybe a short-term bill. He may (inaudible) go down that route of a short- term bill.


RAJU: If the speaker does not include that rider to deal with the border on the -- to keep the government open, if that's not included, how frustrated would you be if that decision is made?

NORMAN: One, it's not going to get my vote. Two, I'm worried about this country. I'm worried about what's happening to it. We're losing -- we're losing our Republic with letting illegals in that are threatening every American...

RAJU: But, is it worth shutting down the government over that?

NORMAN: I'm not funding the government unless they agree in firm metrics to shut the border down. No more illegals. It's that simple, Manu. No more illegals, do whatever you -- what we have to do. And if you don't do that, no more funding for anything until we get the border shut down. Now, a lot of things are still in effect even during the shutdown.

RAJU: Yeah.

NORMAN: The Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, and others. But no, this is a national security threat, the time has changed. RAJU: All right. Well, Congressman, just want to ask real quickly about Nikki Haley here in this race. You're supporting her. She's from South Carolina, of course, you are as well. Do you think if she does not win South Carolina, she can continue in this race?

NORMAN: Nikki is going to be in this race. Look, she started out in February of last year, nobody knew her. The reason she has gone up in the polls, she has got authenticity. People like what they see. And the top issue, who can beat Joe Biden by the biggest margin, Nikki Haley. She's the only candidate that can do it.

RAJU: Yeah. The question is how long can she stay in the race. All right. Congressman Norman, thank you so much for joining me and sharing your perspective. Appreciate it.

NORMAN: My pleasure. RAJU: Coming up, the District Attorney spearheading Trump's Georgia election case was just subpoenaed. We'll bring you the details right after the break.



RAJU: Just in, new reporting on the women spearheading the election subversion case against Former President Trump in Georgia. Fulton Country District Attorney Fani Willis has been subpoenaed to appear as a witness in a lead prosecutor's divorce proceedings. The development raises questions ahead of the sprawling racketeering case. CNN's Zach Cohen joins us live now. Zach, what are you learning?

ZACHARY COHEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Yeah. Manu, we've obtained a court document that does show Fani Willis has received a subpoena to appear as a witness in the divorce proceedings of one of her top prosecutors. But, this could be a potential optics problem here because she has also been accused of having an improper relationship with the same prosecutor by one of the co-defendants in the Georgia election subversion case, the subpoena coming on the same day as these allegations were raised in a separate court filing in the Trump case by one of Trump's co-defendants.

And they accuse Fani Willis and this prosecutor of not only having an improper romantic relationship but the DA financially benefiting from that relationship, going on vacations based on the prosecutor's salary. Now, we should note that there is no direct evidence in this court filing of anything improper, of anything that would potentially derail the case itself. But as you said, it does raise questions that -- very least an optics problem for the District Attorney who has really been a target of not only political attacks but personal threats, violent threats, throughout her time overseeing this case.

Trump and his allies predictably have already jumped on these allegations despite the lack of evidence that has been presented so far. Trump weighed in himself yesterday attacking Fani Willis directly. So more fuel to the fire, more criticism as Trump is trying to throw really anything he can at the wall to sort of undermine and erode trust in these investigations. As you know, this is one of several ongoing criminal investigations into Trump. I mean, we've seen a similar strategy from him before. But this one does raise questions for the District Attorney and the prosecutor's office says that they'll respond in court filings. We have yet to hear any sort of pushback (inaudible) on the record from the DA's office there so far.

RAJU: Yet another twist. All right, we'll keep monitoring it. Thanks for that, Zach Cohen.

Coming up, if you think there has been an icy reception between candidates on the trail, just wait until Monday. That's when record- breaking cold temperatures will really freeze out the competition.



RAJU: Monday is one of the biggest nights in presidential politics. And for Iowa Caucus goers, it will also be one of the coldest, in fact it could be the coldest night ever, a potential complication for candidates who have spent months working on the turnout operations. CNN's Meteorologist Chad Myers joins us live now from the CNN Weather Center. Chad, how bad is it going to be?

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: The wind chill is going to be 35 degrees below zero, and that's going to be dangerous -- dangerous for people. Now, I grew up in Nebraska and I will tell you that at 35 degrees below zero, farmers, ranchers, they have bigger things to worry about like keeping animals watered, like keeping them warm, keeping them alive, than spending a few hours at a courthouse. Trust me on this, there will be a lack of people from the rural areas that actually get there because they have other things to do.

Now, this is going to be the coldest on record for a long time. Back in 2004, it was somewhere in the middle-teens but this is a cold air outbreak, the jet stream all the way down to Texas. They are even talking about big freezes down in Houston. But, right here in the central part of the country, really the breadbasket here, into parts of Iowa, Des Moines will be 36 degrees below zero at voting time.

There may even be warnings out there from the National Weather Service that says, if you don't have pressing business or emergency business, don't travel. So, what are they going to do about that? If you get to 30, 40 degrees below zero, there will be wind chill warnings across Iowa. It's all part of this next (ph) system that's coming down and we'll even get some snow in the next couple of days.

So not only will there be wind, 20 miles per hour, not only with there be cold, there will be snow blowing around across these, especially east-west roads.


MYERS: If you think about Iowa and Nebraska, and most of the Corn Belt, all of the roads go north-south, east-west. Not like here in Atlanta where you have no idea where the road is going to go and it is going to change names by the time you guess them. So anywhere that's an east-west road with a cold north wind, that snow could blow some of those roads shut. There's going to be another half a foot to a foot of snow across Iowa over the weekend.

Now, a lot of times that won't blow around a couple of days later. But really, right now, we are already in the single digits and this going to be the warmest day for a while. This is going to affect turnout, without a doubt.

RAJU: Yeah.

MYERS: How much? We just don't know.

RAJU: Yeah. Unbelievable, 35 below zero.

MYERS: Yeah.

RAJU: I mean, as a mid-westerner, I don't think I've felt 35 below zero. I don't think many Iowans have either, really unbelievable. We'll see what happens. Chad Myers, thank you for that.

And thanks for joining "Inside Politics." "CNN News Central" starts after this quick break.