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Lawyers: Trump Can't Make $464M Bond In Civil Fraud Case; Trump Attacks Migrants, Praises Jan. 6 Rioters In Campaign Rally; Trump Praises Jan. 6 Criminals As "Unbelievable Patriots"; Biden Aides: "Stunning" Trump Has Kept Jan. 6 Present In Race; Biden And Netanyahu Speak On Phone For First Time In Weeks; Netanyahu: "Majority Of Israelis" Support My Policies. Aired 12-12:30p ET

Aired March 18, 2024 - 12:00   ET



DANA BASH, CNN HOST: Today on Inside Politics, Trump's $464 million problem. The former president must post nearly half a billion-dollar bond to cover the fraud judgment against him, while he appeals it. But this morning, his lawyer says he can't find an insurance company to underwrite it for him. Now what happens and why can't the self- proclaimed billionaire put the cash up himself.

Plus, a tense phone call. President Biden and Prime Minister Netanyahu will talk today for the first time in weeks. It comes after a furious, Netanyahu told me in an interview that he doesn't need American politicians telling him what to do.

And the strategists behind some of the biggest political victories of the late 20th century. Join me live this hour, James Carville, Paul Begala, together again with their reelection advice now for President Biden.

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

First up that breaking news about attorneys for former President Donald Trump, calling it quote, practically impossible to get a bond to pay the $464 million fraud judgment. CNN's Kara Scannell joins us live from New York. Can you put this in layman's terms for us, Kara?

KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. So, the deadline for Donald Trump to come up with the $454 million that he personally is on the hook for plus interest is just around the corner. It's next week. And what Trump's attorneys are telling a New York appeals court panel today that they can't get an insurance underwriter to back this amount of money.

They said that they've approached 30 insurance companies, none of them are willing to underwrite a bond of this size. And they said that there are two obstacles they've encountered. Some companies just are not capable of posting a bond in excess of $100 million. This is five times that amount. And that the ones that can, none of them will accept any property as collateral.

So, in order for them to underwrite the bond, they want Trump to give them cash or stock, something that can quickly turn into cash. And that is what in the words of one of Trumps attorney has become a major obstacle. So, they're telling the appeals court, they can't come up with this bond.

They've asked the appeals court to allow them to go forward and appeal the entire decision in this case without posting the bond, saying that Trump has the real estate properties. They are the assets. They can be something that the New York attorney general's office can seize. So, they're asking for this continuation and not having to put up the money in order to appeal.

BASH: OK, Kara. Thank you so much for that reporting. Appreciate it. I want to bring in CNN's Kristen Holmes and former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti. Renato, let's start with you because you've representative -- you've represented rather, and prosecuted large real estate developers before. What happens if they can't get a bond?

RENATO MARIOTTI, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, if they can't get a bond, collection efforts go forward, which -- first of all can be expensive. OK, it's a court process where the New York attorney general is going to be trying to collect that judgment could potentially put liens on properties, you know, essentially entering that order into various other proceedings, for example. So that would potentially be an issue for Trump.

He doesn't -- if he's already got his real estate highly encumbered with loans and so on. Having to deal with collection efforts and pay attorneys to fight off collection efforts is yet another problem that he doesn't want to have to deal with.

BASH: And his attorneys say that he approached 30 underwriters to back the bond. Does that make sense to you that they would all say no?

MARIOTTI: Well, in my experience, real estate developers tend to be very highly illiquid. They tend to be highly leveraged. They tend to have all sorts of loans. They -- you know, they might have a revolving line of credit. They may have various loans and personal guarantees out there.

However, what I will say is that, you know, this is not a complete surprise to Donald Trump. It's not like the New York attorney general's case happened over the course of minutes. It happened over the course of years, and Trump could anticipate a potential judgment. And the fact that he hasn't prepared by refinancing and making -- selling properties and so on, suggests that he may be less wealthy than he has portrayed himself to be.

BASH: Oh. On that note, thank you for teeing up. Kristen Holmes, who covers the Trump campaign for us. Kristen, you know very well that a big part of Donald Trump's identity is how wealthy he is. And the idea that he can't pay this money, I mean it wouldn't be out of this world for you or I, or most normal people not to pay half a billion dollars and not to have that lying around their bank account. But it might be different when it comes to how Donald Trump thinks he's perceived.

[12:05:00] KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Dana. I just want to start by saying that you should know that there are a lot of Trump allies who watch your show. And they've been texting me with the argument of -- one, most billionaires are not liquid. This is not that surprising. The other argument saying this is about the insurance companies, this insane amount, this is their words, not mine. In terms of the bonds, these insurance companies can't get that much money, that much collateral.

So, there is an argument here among Trump world. But as you know, Donald Trump himself has painted himself his entire image, not just politically, but also before that his brand on being a billionaire. And that is why this case was so personal for him in the first place is the idea that everything he had built was essentially on a lie was because it was fraudulent that he wasn't really this rich that he had inflated those numbers.

That's why you saw him so fascinated and so intent on being part of this case. Sitting in that courtroom, listening to these various witnesses because it is to his personal brand. It also goes to his political brand. This idea that I built myself up as a billionaire, I could do that for you too, goes away if you can't afford to pay this kind of money.

BASH: And let me just go back to Renato on this, because you did mention that most real estate developers are not liquid. They can't just write a half a billion dollar check. I think that is probably true for most billionaires though, I don't certainly have that experience to really know firsthand.

But if they have assets, the question is, you kind of said -- maybe if he prepared, he would start to sell things off. I mean, is that a real possibility that he might have to do that?

MARIOTTI: I will just say that in other circumstances, other matters that I've handled. That is what's happened, essentially, real estate developers, refinance properties, sell properties, do what they have to do to get cash. Now candidly, I've never been in a case where a real estate developer needed hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of millions, it's only been in the 10s of millions.

But nonetheless, for those real estate developers, it was a very significant ask right, to come up with that kind of money. If you have -- if your net worth is in the hundreds of millions and so but for Donald Trump, nonetheless, he could have anticipated this and sold a property in the midst of the New York attorney general's proceeding.

And I really would say one of two things is true here, either, he doesn't have the wealth that he suggests he has. Or he didn't plan whatsoever -- you know, was so blind to what was occurring that he essentially left himself at a position where now he's going to incur significant costs and hassle and a disruption to his business that was unnecessary.

BASH: OK, Renato, we're not going to -- thank you at this point. Really appreciate you giving us that perspective. I want to talk more about politics. Kristen, you're going to stay with us because we saw some of the darkest rhetoric. We've heard yet, from Donald Trump on this 2024 campaign trail. He spent the weekend praising insurrectionists, dehumanizing immigrants, threatening to put political opponents in jail.

I'm told some of the language, but so far that it made -- even somebody has own campaign uncomfortable. Kristen, I know you have been on the phone with your sources inside the Trump's -- Trump campaign, people who advise him. What are you hearing?

HOLMES: Well, Dana. You know, I talked to one ally who thinks put it best this weekend thing. He certainly doesn't make our lives any easier when he talks like this. But one thing I want to note that Donald Trump always speaks in these dark rhetoric. He has been doing this since he launched his candidacy, remembering CPAC.

But a year ago, he talked about how I and your retribution. If you hire me, I will be your revenge. The difference now that we've entered a different stage of Donald Trump. Donald Trump is no longer living in a conservative vacuum where only his speeches are taken on conservative networks where he rants on Truth Social, which has far less -- millions less users than somewhere like Twitter.

He is now the GOP nominee. He is entering a general election campaign cycle. So, everything he is saying all of these dark remarks are being really amplified in particular by people who are watching for the first time, tuning in for the fact that he is now the Republican nominee. And also, by the Biden campaign who are using these remarks, turning them into campaign ads, into little clips on the internet.

This is something Donald Trump has been doing. This is how he talks. Now the idea is what happens when you shift into a general election. And the big question is, can his campaign control any of this? They know who their candidate is? They know they can't control what he says, when he says it and how he says it. But how do they control the messaging to try to get away from this because this is just who Donald Trump is.


BASH: Yeah, such good points. Thank you so much for that reporting, Kristens. Before we talk more about what the former president said had over the weekend. I want you to listen to some of it to get a better sense of the context of the language he was using.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and gentlemen, please rise for the horribly and unfairly treated January 6 hostages.

DONALD TRUMP (R), FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT AND 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The spirit from the hostages and that's what they are as hostages. They've been treated terribly and very unfairly. And you know that everybody knows that. And we're going to be working on that soon as the first day we get in the office. We're going to save our country. We're going to work with the people to treat those unbelievable patriots and they were unbelievable patriots.

If I had prisons that were teeming with MS-13, and all sorts of people that they've got to take care of for the next 50 years, right. Young people that are in jail for years. If you call them people, I don't know. If you call them people, in some cases, they're not people.

In my opinion, I've seen the humanity and these humanity, these are bad. These are animals, OK. We're going to put a 100 percent tariff on every single car that comes across the line and you're not going to be able to sell those guys. If I get elected. Now, if I don't get elected, it's going to be a bloodbath for the whole -- that's going to be the least of it. It's going to be a bloodbath for the country.


BASH: Joining me now to discuss all of this is CNN's Manu Raju, Lauren -- Laura, sorry, Laura Barron-Lopez of the PBS NewsHour, and Bloomberg's Saleha Mohsin. Thank you so much for all being here. I think what Kristen said is so important. And I mean, I've been to -- I went to a few Trump rallies during the primary campaign. We all because it's our job.

Listen to and watch what Donald Trump has said. It is different because the audience's is different. It's the entire country. He doesn't just need primary voters. Now he needs enough voters to win reelection and he has not changed his tune. In fact, he's maybe doubling down on it. The day after he gave that speech. He went on his social media platform, talking about Liz Cheney.

She should go to jail along with the rest of the unselect committee said that his first acts as president will be to close the border, drill baby drill, and free the January 6 hostages being wrongfully imprisoned. I just want to say as you come in, you were there on January 6, the people who are in jail after due process are not hostages.

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, they're not. And it was not a normal tourist visit either. It was a violent attack, deadly attack, a horrific attack on the Capitol. That many people in Donald Trump's own party believe was a shameful day. What's been remarkable is how Trump has gone to embrace this.

You would think in the aftermath of all that that you would run away from this or try to clean it up in some way or no. This was actually central to his campaign. He began his rally of talking about January 6. You know, this really just speaks to -- you know, Trump's got one strategy, one note that he's been doing in 2016, 2020 and now 2024.

It's red meat to the base. It is not a pivot to the general election. It's not a pivot to more moderate voters. He believes rile up the base, maybe the other guy's less popular than you are and the disaffected middle pickoff enough to win the election. And that's what he's doing here.

LAURA BARRON-LOPEZ, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, PBS NEWSHOUR: I think it's also important to note that this is the type of rhetoric that Trump has used since 2016. I mean, he would --


BARRON-LOPEZ: Yeah. He would glorify violence. He would joke and talk about beating people up during his campaign rallies, which sometimes broke out in fistfights and arrest in 2015 and 2016. And the historians and scholars that I've talked to say that making violence patriotic, you know, he's called January 6 insurrectionists patriots. He saluted them, played The Star-Spangled Banner that they sang. Making violence patriotic is fundamental to authoritarian and fascist movements.

According to scholars who study this, you know, this also comes after a week of CNN's Jim Sciutto revealing that Trump himself has praised dictators, authoritarians. Adolf Hitler himself. He's echoed the words of Adolf Hitler. So yes, his campaign is trying to say, he was talking about the auto industry. But in that quote, he also says that would be the least of it.

And it's very clear who he's trying to speak to, and that he's sending a signal to those same January 6 defendants, that it's OK. If I'm elected, you will be pardoned, you will be released. And what signal does that send to other supporters in the future that violence may be OK.

BASH: Yeah. And you're right. He obviously has been doing variations of this since he stepped -- came down that escalator in June of 2015. The difference if there is one post January 6 is I think, because of the magnitude of what happened on January 6, and because so many of his supporters were actually cowering -- understandably so, hoping that they were going to get hurt or worse that this is still something or even more so that Donald Trump is leaning into.


And according to some great new reporting from Isaac Dovere, Steve Contorno, and Annie Grayer rather. Joe Biden is kind of surprised about this as well. The story is why does Biden keep mentioning January 6, because Trump won't stop talking about it. Biden aides use words like stunning to describe the way Trump has not just kept January 6 present but burrowed even deeper into conspiracy theories.

While Trump is talking about what he will do for the insurrection, as Biden aides believe they'll be able to make the case to voters that the president will make a difference in the lives of the people who aren't in jail for invading the Capitol.

SALEHA MOHSIN, SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, BLOOMBERG: What we're seeing is a pivot toward the general election from both campaigns. You heard this -- you just read the comment from the Biden campaign. And they are trying to remind everyone of the angst of the Trump era, because there's a huge part of the electorate that actually has nostalgia about the Trump era.

And Trump is out there, kind of like a bit of an incumbent because he says I will -- I've been president and I've accomplished all these other things and look at that other guy. Meanwhile, Biden doesn't also want to necessarily always name Trump. They're both pivoting. It's coming toward each other. And now we're hearing Trump's rhetoric get wilder and wilder as he is rallying his base and trying to -- like Manu said, grabbed the disaffected middle.

RAJU: I mean, what a gift to the Biden campaign for Trump to continue to inject this into the public sphere because they are seeing this is an opportunity to run with here -- for Trump to be effective in his campaign. You think he want to make this a referendum on the current president and the things that he has not done well and off Israel, and the economy about how inflation has gone and all the rest. But instead, he's reminding voters about January 6, and he's bringing right back in the conversation.

BASH: And then I will just say that the people who you talk to every day during the primaries. If they didn't endorse Trump, they could say, well, I've endorsed X, Y or Z person. They can't say that anymore. Governor DeWine and some state of the union who has not exactly been a rah rah Trump guy, said he would endorse him as did Mike Rounds, told me that as well.

The only person who hasn't is Mike Pence, very actively, not endorsed him and says that he will not endorse him. He's an outlier. But I guess if somebody threatens your life, then maybe that'll do it to you. Everybody standby. Up next. President Biden and Prime Minister Netanyahu speak for the first time in weeks. We're going to have some details coming up.



BASH: President Biden just finished a phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, their first in more than a month. CNN's Kevin Liptak is now joining us from the White House. Kevin, what are you hearing about that conversation?

KEVIN LIPTAK, CNN REPORTER: Yeah. This call concluding just within the last hour. And the White House is highlighting two issues that arose in this conversation. And both of them have been a source of tension between Biden and Netanyahu over the last several months.

One is the necessity to increase the amount of humanitarian aid into Gaza. That is something that Biden has been pressing Netanyahu on to open some of the land crossings to try and surge the humanitarian assistance into the enclave. And the other issue that arose is the situation in Rafah. And this is of course, as Israel prepares for what it calls a major operation in that southern city in Gaza.

The White House has said that kind of operation should not go forward without a credible plan to protect the millions of Palestinian civilians who are sheltering there. The White House says it has not seen a credible plan so far. And so certainly that is an important issue for these two men to discuss.

Now this call does come against the backdrop of that speech that Senator Chuck Schumer delivered last week, calling for new elections in Israel. President Biden called that speech a good one. He didn't endorse the call for new elections. But he also didn't condemn it either.

And certainly, did contribute to this growing rift between the two men. And I think the cadence of their calls really does illustrate that divide at the onset of this war. They were talking on a daily weekly basis. It had been more than a month since they had spoken before today. So certainly, you get a sense of a relationship that is very much fraying as this conflict proceeds, Dana.

BASH: No question. Great reporting. Kevin, thank you so much. I know you're going to continue to get more information about what happened in that phone call. Meantime, I spoke to Prime Minister Netanyahu on State of the Union. He was not happy about what Senator Schumer said.

Of course, he is the highest ranking elected Jewish member of the U.S. government. Schumer -- called excuse me, Netanyahu called it absolutely wrong. Schumer called him an impediment piece and asked for new elections after the war winds down.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: I think what you said is totally inappropriate. It's inappropriate for to go to a sister democracy and try to replace the elected leadership there. That's something that Israel -- the Israeli public does on its own. And we're not a banana republic.

This is a wake-up call to Senator Schumer. The majority of Israelis support the policies of my government. It's not a fringe government. It represents the policies supported by the majority of the people. If Senator Schumer opposes these policies, he's not opposing me. He's opposing the people of Israel.

BASH: There were other polls in Israel, three major Israeli television stations. That said what Israelis also support our early elections. That's what I really want to focus on here is Senator Schumer not calling to sort of topple the government, but specifically says when the war winds down, will you commit to calling new elections. That's my question, will you?


NETANYAHU: Dana, two thirds. First of all, what you said is wrong. The vast majority was Israelis opposed early elections until the war doesn't end. We've just had many polls and that look a lot of the polls are -- you know are twist --

BASH: Channel 12 says -- Channel 12 says 64 percent of Israeli support all the election.

NETANYAHU: That's not. Now, I'm afraid that they ask them the question, do you support it during the war? And they said, no. So, number one --


BASH: That's not what Schumer is calling for. He is calling for new electric when the war winds down.

NETANYAHU: Well, we'll see when we win the war.

BASH: Will you commit to new elections --

NETANYAHU: I think that's something for the Israeli public to decide. But it's not -- it's not something -- not -- look, that's something for the Israeli public to decide. I think it's ridiculous to talk about it.


BASH: Joining me now is Axios's Reporter and CNN analyst Barak Ravid. Is it what people in Israel are talking about? Is that true? And while I have you -- what does it tell you that Netanyahu and Joe Biden have not spoken in a month, given the situation going on the very act of war in Gaza?

BARAK RAVID, CNN POLITICAL & GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, let's start with the second question. I think it means a lot because their previous calls were not good either. And I think we see a trend of Biden and Netanyahu drifting away over -- really growing differences about the policy -- the Israeli policy around the war in Gaza.

And I think that what we heard by now from the White House about this call doesn't even start to really portray the call that is taking place. They spoke for 45 minutes. I heard from an Israeli official. And I'm pretty sure that other issues also came up like the issue of the hostage talks. And Schumer's speech and Biden's support for Schumer speech. I'm pretty sure this was the main issue in the call. Because at least at the moment, it seems that Biden decided just to, you know, put it -- put out there everything he feels about Netanyahu and his policy.

BASH: Yeah. And really quickly. Can you just explain what the sentiment is inside Israel about Netanyahu?

RAVID: Yeah. So, you know, you said that Netanyahu didn't like what Schumer said. It seems he even disliked even more. Your questions and your attempt to get a simple commitment from them about whether he will go for an early election after the war ends. And I think you see in every poll, just last Wednesday, three polls in three main TV channels in Israel show that if elections were held today, Netanyahu wouldn't lose the elections.

He will be completely destroyed, completely defeated. His party will be cut by half in the number of seats it gets. His coalition will be cut by more than 20 seats. And I think it's very clear that in all the polls, you see that most Israelis want an election once the war is over.

BASH: It's really stunning given where the Biden administration was where Congress was, where much of the world were -- was after October 7, when that horrific barbaric attack happened that things could be so frayed between -- not Israel, but between Benjamin Netanyahu and the U.S. government. Thank you so much. Appreciate your reporting, Barak.

Coming up. We are putting the band back together. James Carville, Paul Begala, they help Bill Clinton get elected in 1992, reelected in '96. What's their advice for Joe Biden to keep his job in 2024? There they are. Don't go away. You want to see this?