Return to Transcripts main page

Inside Politics

Today: House GOP Moving Forward With Mayorkas Impeachment; Johnson: "Absurd" To Think He Would Kill Border Deal For Trump; Biden Losing Support From Muslims, Arab-Americans Over Gaza War; MAGA World New Conspiracy: Taylor Swift, NFL, Democrats Are Working Together To Rig The Super Bowl, Help Biden. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired January 30, 2024 - 12:30   ET




DANA BASH, CNN HOST: Today, a House panel is marking up two articles of impeachment against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. The GOP run committee could approve the articles later today. Republicans claim the Secretary committed high crimes and misdemeanors for his handling of the southern border.

CNN Chief Congressional Correspondent Manu Raju joins me now. Manu, I've heard many Republican not currently in the House of Representatives saying this looks like a pretty thin case.

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It may well be, but that doesn't mean it won't have the votes to actually go forward. In fact, the House Committee plans to vote along party lines sometime today to send this to the floor. And in talking to swing district Republicans, in particular, they are indicating that they will plan to vote for this, showing how significant the border is of an issue in this key moment as they indicate that they are behind the speaker on this push.



REP. MARC MOLINARO (R), NEW YORK: Secretary Mayorkas has avoided the responsibility of his job. He's endangered border patrol officers. And he's made this country less safe while, by the way, treating individuals, human lives with callousness.

REP. DON BACON (R), NEBRASKA: He could stop this on his own. I'm all for making better policy out of the Congress, but there's literally a half dozen provisions in law that he is not enforcing. And thus, we have this disaster that we have all over.

REP. TOM MCCLINTOCK (R), CALIFORNIA: I'm still waiting for them to mark up the charges.

RAJU: Are you going to vote to impeach Mayorkas?


RAJU: Have you decided yet?


RAJU: There's still a couple of members who are saying that whether, not saying what they will do, Congressman Tom McClintock, as well as Congressman Patrick McHenry, and Speaker Johnson has very little margin for error on the floor given his razor thin majority.

So, Dana, they're confident they held the vote. But anything can go haywire given the narrowness of this majority, so we'll see how this plays out as soon as next week.

BASH: That Patrick McHenry moment was interesting. I mean, he just -- you just couldn't get him to stop talking, Manu.

RAJU: Yes, that's right.

BASH: On the border and on the legislation that is being crafted in a bipartisan way in the U.S. Senate, which president, former President Trump has said, I'm not going to support that, please don't support that. House Speaker Mike Johnson is agreeing with that. I know you got to press Speaker Johnson about this very topic earlier today. What happened?

RAJU: Yes, I wanted to know whether or not he is agreeing to kill this Senate bipartisan deal simply because Donald Trump has asked him to and he denied that was the case, but also acknowledged that he and Trump have spoke at length about the border.


RAJU: Are you simply trying to kill this to help him on the campaign?

REP. MIKE JOHNSON (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: No, Manu, that's absurd. We have a responsibility here to do our duty. Our duty is to do right by the American people, to protect the people. The first and most important job of the federal government is protecting citizens. We're not doing that under President Biden.

I have talked to former President Trump about this issue at length and he understands that. He understands that we have a responsibility to do here.


RAJU: Now, of course, the Senate bipartisan deal has not even been publicly released yet. We have learned some of the details, but the deal, the text of it, and all the rest still is waiting to be released to the public. But that has not stopped Trump from campaigning against it, from rallying against it, from calling on Johnson to essentially scuttle this effort.

Johnson indicating that he would, given some of the details that have emerged about this proposal, even as it was cut by a bipartisan group of senators, including a conservative senator, James Lankford, who says this is the most conservative border security deal that Congress could enact in decades. But the Speaker aligning himself with the former president and saying it is essentially dead on the rival in the House. Dana?

BASH: Really fascinating politics and politics really is what's at play here. Appreciate that, Manu. Thank you so much.

RAJU: Thanks.

BASH: Shake it off. Conspiracy theories swirl about Taylor Swift, Travis Kelce in the 2024 presidential election. Yes, this is a thing, and we're going to explain it next.



BASH: President Biden's strong support for Israel and its war with Hamas has many Muslims and Arab Americans furious with him. While the president has pressured the Israeli government to rein in its military campaign, it has left thousands in Gaza dead, and he has not called for a ceasefire because President Biden says that would only benefit the terror group Hamas.

Joining me now is the mayor of Dearborn, Michigan, Abdullah Hammoud. Thank you so much for joining me. I really appreciate it. I want to talk about the politics of all of this in your very important state and even more specifically your very important city of Dearborn.

The Congresswoman from Michigan, Rashida Tlaib, did meet with President Biden's did meet with President Biden's campaign manager on Friday. You declined to meet with her. Why?

MAYOR ABDULLAH HAMMOUD (D), DEARBORN, MICHIGAN: I don't think that this is a moment for electoral politics. I think over the course of now 115 days, Israel has murdered more than 26,000 residents and displaced over 2 million. And so for us, this is an issue that demands action and not lip service. And this is an issue that requires policymakers to come talk about taking a different course of action. And that's not a conversation you have with campaign staff.

BASH: Have you talked to anybody on a policy level? Would you like to hear from the Biden White House?

HAMMOUD: I think if you're going to send a delegation to Dearborn to meet with a collective group of Arab Americans and Muslim American leaders, that should most certainly be a senior policy making team. But for us, it's just dehumanizing when you send campaign staff. It sends the message that this is purely one of political of means.

And for us, Palestinian lives are not measured in poll numbers. And so we have to have a serious dialogue about moving forward.

BASH: How can President Biden earn the trust of the Muslim American community at this point? HAMMOUD: You know, it's committing to the promises that he ran on in 2020 about bringing decency back to the White House. It's recognized as the human beings that we are. It's understanding that we here in Dearborn, the broader Arab American community, the Muslim American community. We know what it's like to live overseas, under siege, under apartheid, under occupation.


So come to Dearborn, come to this community, let's put the pen in both of our hands, and let's co-govern and co-write what the policy should be moving forward to help move our country forward in the right direction.

BASH: Yes. And as you know, there are a lot of people who don't agree with the notion that there's apartheid or occupation. That's another conversation. But, you know, the question --

HAMMOUD: I would just push back in that and say that --


HAMMOUD: -- international law recognizes the occupation. United Nation resolutions recognize the occupation. And the fact what's unfolding is apartheid. Every apartheid expert across the globe --

BASH: Yes.

HAMMOUD: -- recognizes this crisis for what it is. Having somebody's political idea for what's unfolding versus reality is what the problem is here.

BASH: OK. And there are a lot of people who disagree with some of those conclusions. And the notion of occupation is, again, we're not having this debate right now, but I will just say that there are a lot of people who say you can't occupy a land that you came from initially.

And that's why that label, and also the question of so-called apartheid is very much hotly debated, which we can have another time. But I really want to get to you because this is inside politics about how things are going to play out in the state of Michigan, Mr. Mayor, because, you know, at this point, it looks like President Biden is going to be opposing Donald Trump in the election.

And I want you to listen to what some of the former president has said about how he feels about the situation in the Middle East and more specifically, how Muslims and Muslim Americans should be treated.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We aren't bringing in anyone from Gaza, Syria, Somalia, Yemen, or Libya. We will cut off every penny of money that we send to the Palestinians. If you empathize with radical Islamic terrorists and extremists, you're disqualified. You're just disqualified. If you want to abolish the state of Israel, you're disqualified. We will revoke the student visas of radical anti-American and antisemitic foreigners at our colleges and universities.


BASH: So, Mr. Mayor, if your constituents are upset with President Biden, and just to play this out, they don't vote for President Biden, and they either vote for Donald Trump or don't vote and could potentially tip the scales when it comes to the numbers to Donald Trump in your very important state of Michigan, how would that be better for your constituents than President Biden?

HAMMOUD: For us, we have survived the Trump presidency four years ago, and I'm not blind to what's being said by Donald Trump and other Republican presidential candidates. However, Democrats nationally need to reckon with the question of what does it mean for them to potentially lose thousands of voters on the response to this human rights issue and what are they going to do about it?

The question you posed me is actually a question that should be posed back to the president. What will he do to regain the trust and respect of the Arab American and broader Muslim American community? And the position that we're taking, one in which we're demanding a call for a ceasefire, is actually the position of the majority of Americans.

Over 60 percent of Americans support a ceasefire. Over 80 percent of Democrats support a ceasefire. So this is not without of line and out of touch of the general American people.

BASH: Do you want Hamas to release all of the hostages that they have if you want this ceasefire?

HAMMOUD: Absolutely. And I would love for Israel to release the thousands of hostages that they also have. All hostages should be released unconditionally.

BASH: OK. Because I hear a lot about a ceasefire, but not about the innocents who are also being held inside Gaza.

HAMMOUD: Yes. We have a very strong value statement. I do not believe that any innocent man, woman or child should be killed and that there's no qualifier to the statement. Anybody not calling for a ceasefire is instituting a qualifier. That there is a justification at any point in time for the killing of any innocent man, woman or child.

So I call for the release of all hostages on both sides immediately and unconditionally, and also for the ceasing of the killing, the cessation of all killing a ceasefire of any innocent man, woman or child.

BASH: OK, I'd love to have more of a policy discussion with you after this and in another time because I really appreciate you coming on and having this discussion.

HAMMOUD: Thank you for having me. BASH: Coming up, conspiracy theorists have some bad blood with pop star Taylor Swift and her boyfriend, Travis Kelce. Why they're trying to suggest that the two of them are trying to interfere in the 2024 presidential election? I still can't believe I'm saying this, but this is becoming a thing and we'll explain to you what we're talking about next.



BASH: Have you heard the latest conspiracy theory making the rounds? Taylor Swift, Travis Kelce in the NFL and the Democratic Party are in cahoots to get Joe Biden reelected. But stay with me. Prominent right wing figures are speculating that her relationship with Travis Kelce is made up and that the Super Bowl will be rigged for Kelce and the Kansas City Chiefs. And the end game is Swift endorsing Biden after the big game.

Here are some of the messages, I'm trying not to laugh, circulating on social media. Vivek Ramaswamy, "I wonder who's going to win the Super Bowl next month." Podcast host Mike Crispi, "The NFL is totally rigged for the Kansas City Chiefs Taylor Swift, Mr. Pfizer, Travis Kelce."


Laura Loomer, a self-described Islamophobe, who has been embraced and promoted by Trump, "They are going to use Taylor Swift as the poster child for their pro-abortion GOTV campaign." Right wing media personality, Benny Johnson said, "Taylor Swift is an op."

CNN's Oliver Darcy joins me to break all these very bogus claims down. And we're going to highlight that underscore it bogus claims, but it is happening. Take it away, Oliver.

OLIVER DARCY, CNN SENIOR MEDIA REPORTER: Yes, Dana, I mean, they're absurd claims, outrageous claims but they are coming from some of the most prominent voices in right wing media. And so, while us, in reality consuming credible news information might laugh at them because they are so ridiculous and outlandish.

The people who rely and kind of are swimming in this polluted right wing information space, you know, you can see how they might apparently be, or, you know, attracted to some of these ideas because they're being inundated by them from some of the most prominent voices.

You know, it's not just those right wing internet influencers who are now peddling this stuff. Jesse Watters, a Fox News host, earlier this month did a whole segment asking whether Taylor Swift is a Pentagon asset. I mean, you can't make this stuff up. But it's out there and it really is going to end up influencing a lot of people who rely on these outlets and figures for information.

BASH: God forbid, there's a incredibly powerful woman who tends to just do things the way she wants to do them and she tends -- she seems to like this football player. Thank you so much for that, appreciate it.

Thank you for joining Inside Politics. CNN News Central starts after a break.