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Biden To Announce $20B Deal With Intel For Computer Chip Plants; Biden To Latino Voters: I Need Your Help; White House: Intel Deal Will Create 30,000 New Jobs; Trump: I'm Thinking In Terms Of" A 15-Week Abortion Ban; NY Attorney General Could Begin Seizing Trump Assets Next Week; Trump Has Until Monday To Pay $454M Bond In Fraud Case; Could Trump Be Forced Into Bankruptcy?. Aired 12-12:30p ET

Aired March 20, 2024 - 12:00   ET



DANA BASH, CNN HOST: Today on Inside Politics, he comes bearing gifts. President Biden is in battleground Arizona today, where he'll announced $20 billion in loans and grants for Intel to produce advanced computer chips which could create thousands of new jobs.

Plus, panic mode. That's what my colleague Kaitlan Collins reports is happening inside Trump world as he scrambles to find a half a billion dollars to cover the judgment against him in the New York fraud case. If you can't cough it up, the state in New York could start seizing his assets as soon as next week.

And the world is celebrating International Happiness Day. Today here in the United States, a new survey shows Americans are much less happy than a year ago as the country deals with political divisions and an epidemic of loneliness. So, what can we do? The author of The Amen Effect is here to help.

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

We start in Arizona where President Biden is on day two of a campaign swing through western battleground states. Today, he'll be showing off the power of incumbency. Campaigning and governing at the very same time making a big announcement in a state he won by just a little more than 10,000 votes in 2020.

Arlette Saenz is in Arizona. Arlette, what do we expect?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Dana. President Biden, in just a few hours will be here at this Intel facility outside of Phoenix, Arizona. As he's trying to tell the government investments, the administration is making -- try to boost domestic chip production here in the United States. It comes as the president is trying to convince Americans that his policies are starting to benefit them personally and economically.

At a time when he has struggled to sell some of these legislative accomplishments. These announcements -- the agreement struck between the federal government and Intel today are stemming from that bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act that was passed back in 2022. An effort to really try to boost domestic chip production are right here in the United States.

Now this award is the largest award that the U.S. -- that the federal government has given to a company relating to the production of chips. It includes $8.5 billion, an additional potentially up to $11 billion in loans for Intel to start modernizing constructing and expanding some of their facilities here in the U.S. That includes facilities in the state of New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon. And importantly, here in Arizona, a critical battleground state.

The estimates from the White House are that this could create up to 30,000 jobs. And specifically, here in Arizona, that could be over 33,000 manufacturing jobs, 7000 construction jobs, and thousands of more indirect jobs that would be supported by this money.

But it comes as the president has tried to argue that the U.S. needs to invest in this chip production, not just from an economic standpoint here in the U.S., but also a national security imperative to make the U.S. less reliant on countries like China. So, the president trying to tout this investment here in Arizona today, as he's trying to move the needle with voters' perceptions, especially when it comes to his handling of the economy.

BASH: Arlette, thank you so much for that. Appreciate it. Let's talk more about this and much more. I want to bring in my great political panel, CNN's Melanie Zanona, Hans Nichols of Axios, and Nia-Malika Henderson of CNN and Bloomberg.

As we start, I do want to talk about kind of the notion of the power of incumbency. But I also want to say that I publicly shamed you for wearing Carolina blue last week. And so, in solidarity, we are both wearing blue.


BASH: OK. On to the important questions of our day. Nia, do you think that this kind of move -- I mean, when your president running for reelection. You have a lot of bad, like dealing with a war in the middle east that is not popular with your base, and you have a lot of tools in your tool chest --


HENDERSON: I think that's right. You know, I mean, he sort of kicked off this swing with the State of the Union, right. That was another big tool in his tool chest did well there. And so, he's been going around to these different state -- swing states that he has to win. You look at Arizona, barely won in 2020. He does really well there with Latinos for about 20 percent of voters there. Trump loses some GOP voters in 2020 about 10 percent.

And so, he goes there and he's essentially carrying a big, you know, bucket of jobs. The problem that I think that the Biden administration has had is that people have either forgotten or sort of never knew about some of these big plans and deals they've made for infrastructure and the chipset. And so, he goes there and he's reminding people, 30,000 jobs, you know, all of this investment. So, it is quite good.

And listen, I think this is a blueprint for what we're going to see over the next eight months. They've got to move the needle with voters who are like (Inaudible) on this administration. So, they're giving folks a reason to say this administration has done good.

BASH: And Hans, he's not exactly shy about what he is telling voters about what he needs from them, which is them to get out and support him, even though we're months away. Listen to the president's message.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: You're the reason why, in large part, I beat Donald Trump. You know, I need you. I need you badly. I need the help. Kamala and I desperately need your help because, look, there is only about six or seven states that are going to determine the outcome of this election. They are toss-up states, this is one of them.


HANS NICHOLS, POLITICAL REPORTER, AXIOS: Yeah. Joe Biden is a retail politician. And one thing they always say about retail politicians that you have to ask people for their vote. I'm sure that's something he learned in his first campaign. To the broader point, Dana, I think your -- here is an excellent one, this idea of like, it's the good and the bad of the presidency, right?

You have a border crisis in Arizona. That's not -- that's creating negative headlines that this administration -- this White House certainly in the campaign -- certainly doesn't like. And yet the president can make these discrete surgical visits and announce, it's not an infinite number of new programs they can talk about. I would just say, as a reporter that's going to be covering this.

I suspect, there's going to be a fair amount of fatigue because we're all going to write the same story over and over again, where the president travels to this state to make a billion-dollar announcement with x amount of jobs, which is to say, I'm going to create a formula and my word documents just say, Biden, this many jobs --


NICHOLS: That's my contribution. OK. And with that, you know.

BASH: Melanie?

MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Well, look. I mean, it's not just about jobs, he's also going to make a direct appeal to these key Latino voters. He is really at risk of losing them to Donald Trump. And I think the Biden campaign recognizes. They can't take those voters for granted, especially in a state like Arizona, like Nevada.

And one way he's doing that is trying to directly draw a contrast with Trump's hardline immigration rhetoric and also his policies. He's talking about how Trump recently said, you know, these migrants are not humans in his eyes. Are saying that they're poisoning the blood of America. Those are the types of contrasts that the Biden campaign really wants to draw with the Trump campaign.

BASH: And you mentioned the votes in Arizona in 2020. And also, the vote that we saw last night because there was a primary there. And let's just put some numbers -- specific numbers on the point you were making, Nia. Let's start with last night.

Trump won by almost 80 percent. Nikki Haley, though, got 108,108 votes so far. Nikki Haley is not running for president anymore. And this is a closed primary. So, these are Republican voters who actively went out to protest Donald Trump. And so, if you compare that -- I mean, I'm certainly, was no math major, but I can see the differences here. If you compare that 108,000 versus the 10,457 that Donald Trump lost by, it's 10 times.

HENDERSON: Yeah. I mean, listen. This is a real danger for Donald Trump. Some of these people may stay home, some of them, you know, will vote for Donald Trump. And listen, some of them are going to vote for Joe Biden. This is what they're saying. They are registering their distaste with Donald Trump.

And the idea that over the last four years, the folks who sort of switched from Trump to Biden, now have this great reason to go back to Trump after he's behaved -- the way he's behaved over the last four years. It seems a little unbelievable that you're going to have folks flip back to Trump.

But listen, some may. But this is a real warning sign in so far, Trump is doing very little to quote those voters. I know at some point, we're going to talk about what he's been saying on abortion. But his last couple of days, I mean, the rhetoric out of his campaigns and even some of the people who even -- he's endorsed. This hasn't been great for those moderate Republicans who are already skeptical of him as a president.

ZANONA: And you know who else is probably looking at those numbers. Sherrod Brown, the Democratic senator in Ohio, because he's going to have to appeal to the moderate and independent wing of the Republican Party to win in a red state like Ohio.

BASH: Yeah. And we should say we did a lot on the -- in advance of last night's results of that Ohio Senate Republican primary. Donald Trump's candidate did win there. And that was --


NICHOLS: Pretty -- in pretty handily.

BASH: Yes. And that was in large part because of Donald Trump's endorsement. And he got a boost from Sherrod Brown, who wants to run against him because Brown thinks that he is somebody who is more beatable. You brought up abortion. So, we have some other things to talk about with regard to other swing states. But I do think this is important to bring up. So, let's talk about it right now. I want to -- and this is what you're referencing, Nia. I want everybody to listen to what the former president said in a clear trial balloon about what he's considering as his own policy if he becomes president.


DONALD TRUMP (R), FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT AND 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (voice over): The number of weeks now people are agreeing on 15 and I'm thinking in terms of that, and it'll come out to something that's very reasonable. But people are really -- even hardliners are agreeing, seems to be 15 weeks -- seems to be a number that people are agreeing at. But I'll make that announcement at the appropriate time.


BASH: Talking about a national law that says abortion is allowed up to 15 weeks.

NICHOLS: That'll be a huge change in Republican politics to have a presidential candidate come out for a federal law. The Biden campaign is going to talk about Dobbs and Roe v. Wade, and what Trump did putting three Supreme Court justices on -- you know, on the court that reversed the decision.

I suspect Donald Trump is -- it's so obvious what's happening here, right? And I don't -- I'm going to get cancelled. But he's like -- he's like -- he's doing the striptease, right? He's like, telling us what he's going to do. And then he's going to do it, right? And it's going to be very obvious, right, in retrospect, that Donald Trump is going to settle down at some sort of -- it wasn't as 15 weeks. He's directionally heading there.

And now the question for the Biden campaign is, can they really -- if they're going to let him get away with it. And can they tag him with three Supreme Court justices that he put on there that took away this federal right. That's the question?

BASH: I think you're exactly right. The other sort of part of the argument, the political argument that you are already going to go -- you're already hearing from Democrats, you're going to hear even more from Democrats is even if he doesn't get there to the end of your work. (Ph)


BASH: Ok, yes. OK, it's retired as of now. He said it. He put it out there as a possibility. So, in states like Michigan, for example, where in 2022 the last election, they put a constitutional right to an abortion on the ballot and it won. So, it is now in Michigan law.

What you're going to see from Democrats in a swing state like that is -- oh, you know, you voted. You each voted for this right and now you're going to have a president. If you elect Donald Trump, who is going to supersede that with a national law? And they think Democrats think that kind of a fear will get people out to the polls.

ZANONA: And Trump also is taking credit for overturning Roe v. Wade. So, he's had to try to have it both ways. It's interesting though, because privately he has said, according to our colleagues, that he does not see abortion as a political winner. So, it's interesting to hear him now, laying the groundwork for taking a stance.

But you're so right, Dana, no matter what he does. Democrats are going to try to seize on this issue and try to link all Republicans to a national federal abortion ban, which they believe is not going to play well for Republicans.

HENDERSON: You know, importantly, it's just the way he talks about abortion, right? I mean, that it's this big deal. And, you know, you get an abortion at 13 weeks or maybe at 14 weeks. I mean, this is people's lives, right? These are women -- its women's bodies and they feel some kind of way about these politicians who are trying to enter into these very private -- private decisions about whether or not they want to start a family or have a bigger family.

And so, I think it's his language. It's very cavalier. It's very callous. And no matter what, he is still the architect of this miss of abortion policy that we have around the country at this point.

BASH: All right, everybody. Coming up. Could Trump Tower beyond the block? What about Mar-a-Lago? Donald Trump is facing some tough choices with the looming deadline to put up half a billion dollars in New York fraud case. Stay with us.




BASH: Donald Trump is in panic mode. That's according to new reporting from my colleague Kaitlan Collins as he struggles to meet a Monday deadline to come up with nearly half a billion dollars to cover the judgment against him in his New York fraud case. And just this morning, New York Attorney General Letitia James told the judge that he should ignore Trump's claim that he can't find an insurance company to help him pay.

CNN's Kara Scannell joins me live from New York. Kara?

KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Dana. So, this new filing from the New York attorney general's office, they're saying to the judge that Trump is making this claim that he is, you know, tried to get a bond underwritten by 30 underwriters that it's nearly impossible to get done. They're saying that the judge should ignore it. It's essentially too late. They say for him to make this argument.

But the attorney general's office says, if they are going to consider it, they want the appeals court to ask some more questions. Essentially, they want to know what efforts Trump actually made to get these -- to get a bond. What were the terms that were put forward? You know, trying to get to the bottom of did Trump does not like the terms or was he really unable to get it? They also urged the appeals court to discount the testimony of some of the insurance broker and Trump's legal officer who, you know, have said that they made these efforts that no one would underwrite the bond because they wouldn't underwrite it based on real estate.

You know, Trump's lawyers are saying that maybe Trump should try to pool and get a number of underwriters to come together to underwrite a half a billion-dollar bond. They also suggested that Trump should have put up some of his properties with the court to secure this judgment.

But, you know, this is still as the clock is ticking. The ball is in the hands of the appeals court panel. They have to decide if they're going to grant Trump's motion to either allow him to post a bond that's less than half a billion dollars. Or to say he doesn't have to post one until the appeal of this whole case plays out.


Now the deadline for Trump to come up with the bond is Monday. And if he doesn't, that's when the New York attorney general's office can begin to try to enforce this judgment. That means they can try to seize bank accounts. They can try to seize some properties. They can start taking steps to move forward to enforce this judgment. Dana?

BASH: Kara, thank you so much for that. I want to bring in Bill Cohan of Puck, who has reported extensively on this. Nice to see you, Bill. Let's start with what Kara was just talking about that Trump's attorneys say that he's tried -- tried very hard to get a bond and it's not possible. Can you break down why he couldn't get one?

WILLIAM COHAN, FOUNDING PARTNER, PUCK: Well, Dana. Thank you for having me. He can't really get one because he's not a good credit risk day, Dana. He hasn't been a good credit risk for a very long time. During the 90s, you know, six or so of his companies went bankrupt. So that is something that annoys creditors across Wall Street who have long memories. And he's also been known to not pay contractors and subcontractors and lawyers. So, people remember that.

And so, when he's seeking a bond for more than $500 million, the risk of him paying of him losing his appeals or his judgment against him falls to those bond issuers, not to him. And then they'd have to go after him if they don't pay -- if he doesn't pay them. So, you know, they don't want to take that risk. Why should they? Why should anybody take that risk at the moment? He's proven himself to be a very risky credit risk.

BASH: OK. So, let's take getting a bond off the table then. And let's look at his assets, because that is another way that he can pay this $500 billion judgment. And some of the assets that we're talking about, and we'll give some of what we think are the worth. The Avenue of Americas $500 million, 40 Wall Street $270 million dollars, California Street, which is in San Francisco 125 million.

Now some of these he owns, some of these -- he has an investment in. So, we can talk about that. And then also Mar-a-Lago, of course, 240 million, which I believe he owns outright. The Doral Golf Course, which he loves 305 million, and the famous Trump Tower penthouse, which is apparently worth about 40 million. What are your thoughts on those?

COHAN: Yeah. The two properties, the one on the Avenue of the Americas, the one in San Francisco are owned by Vornado, a different company. He owns a minority stake in those. I don't think he's going to have much luck with that minority stake using that as collateral for a bond. You know, so -- and I think also those prices are probably pretty high for both of those that you put on the screen.

You know, in his deposition as you remember in April of last year in this case. He said he had 400 million in cash and growing every day. That apparently doesn't seem to be the case, because if he had that kind of cash, he'd be using that as collateral.

We're also talking about, you know, a pretty distressed market for commercial real estate in Manhattan these days. And so, you know, how quickly he can get the money if you were have to sell these buildings. People would want to take advantage of that. It'd be a distressed sale and try to take advantage.

We also don't know how much leverage, how much debt is already on some of these buildings, because, you know, he's a private company. He doesn't have to disclose that all. Some of that does get out. I think he has got debt and mortgages on all of these properties.

So, you know, what is the equity value of these things? That's another thing that, you know, the bonders are going to look for. You know, if you sum it all up, Dana. I'm thinking at this point, he really isn't going to have much choice but to file for personal bankruptcy.

And I know that's something he doesn't want to do. And it said he doesn't want to do. But it would stay this judgment. It would throw it all the bankruptcy court and that would buy him the time that he so desperately needs in this situation.

BASH: Do you think that's the most likely scenario that he files for bankruptcy? That would be a big deal for a presidential candidate of any kind, but particularly one who is running on his prowess as a business person?

COHAN: Yes, of course. But I think he could -- he's the master spinner, right? So, he'll be able to spin that if it happens. I'm sure he'll spin that in a way that will appeal to his backers.

BASH: No question.

COHAN: But I don't really see that he has any other choice at this point. I don't see who's going to give him this money.

BASH: Let me just ask you about that before I let you go. Because it is I guess possible for him to get money from an outside investor or backer. He could get it from another billionaire that's more liquid. He could potentially get it from a foreign national. But then that of course, brings in other problems when it comes to his presidential campaign and campaign finance laws.


COHAN: Right. And I think even if you were to get the money from another billionaire who would be, you know, a bit crazy to do it but it could happen -- that might run afoul of federal election laws as well. That would be a very big donation to a presidential candidate.

BASH: Yeah. So, I guess we're going to take that off the list. Thanks for breaking it down. Appreciate it, Bill.

COHAN: Thank you.

BASH: OK. And coming up, back and forth on the border. A controversial Texas immigration law is blocked once again just hours after the Supreme Court gave it the green light.