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Isa Soares Tonight
President Biden Welcomes Australian Prime Minister To The White House; U.S. House Elects A New Speaker; Mike Johnson Elected New U.S. House Speaker. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired October 25, 2023 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Against Putin's brutality and aggression. Australia is a critical partner, together with the United
States and 50 other nations. Fifty other nations we've been able to put together, all doing our part to support Ukraine. And I want to thank you,
Mr. Prime Minister, for the new package in military aid you recently announced, and I -- it's for Ukraine.
Look, Australia and the United States also share in my view the commitment to upholding international rules through the road, including freedom of
navigation. Just this past week, the PRC vessels acted dangerously and unlawfully as our Philippines friends conducted a routine resupply missions
within their own exclusive economic zone in the South China Sea.
I want to be clear, I want to be very clear. The United States defense commitment to the Philippines is ironclad. The United States defense
including the Philippines is ironclad. Any attack on a Filipino aircraft vessels or armed forces will invoke our mutual defense treaty with the
Philippines. And Mr. Prime Minister, today, we renewed our commitment to defend the values that are at the heart of this alliance.
And we continue to stand as one to forge a better future for both of us and all the region. So I want to thank you again for being here, thank you for
your partnership and your leadership in this critical moment. And I'd like to now turn it over to you.
ANTHONY ALBANESE, PRIME MINISTER, AUSTRALIA: Well, thank you very much Mr. President. Australia and the United States have stood together for more
than a century. And it is indeed a great honor for me to stand alongside my friend, President Biden here today. At the heart of our alliance are the
enduring values that our people hold in common, a faith in freedom and democracy, a belief in opportunity, a determination to build a more
prosperous and more peaceful world.
Those values are telling us, and they have never mattered more than right now. That's why the relationship between Australia and the United States
has never been more important. And that, of course, it has never been stronger than it is right now. We work together to promote peace and
security across the Indo-Pacific.
To uphold the stability which has generated unprecedented economic opportunity for the nations and the people of our region. For Australia,
this is about investing in our capability and investing in our relationships. Today, President Biden and I discussed the progress being
made on Australia's acquisition of nuclear powered conventionally armed submarines.
Which we announced with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in March in San Diego. We are conscious that this is only the second time in history that the
United States has shared this technology. And its facts speaks to the deep trust of our lives, and the significance of the challenge that we face
together. Australia appreciates the administration's efforts to operationalize AUKUS and work with Congress to pass the legislation needed
to realize our AUKUS ambitions.
And I certainly appreciate once again, Mr. President, your call for this legislation to be passed this year. AUKUS will drive innovation and
cooperation to provide the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom with improved capability to help secure peace and stability in the Indo-
Pacific. Our cooperation is already unlocking transformative opportunities for jobs and skills and research.
From Virginia to south Australia to western Australia. Australia and the U.S. have a strong and growing partnership in new technology from medical
research to AI. And I join President Biden in welcoming Microsoft's $5 billion additional investment in Australia which we announced this week
here in Washington.
The president and I agree that innovation is vital to addressing the environmental challenge of climate change, and seizing the economic
opportunities of clean energy. The climate critical minerals and clean energy transformation compact that we signed in May in Hiroshima is very
much central to this. Climate change and clean energy becomes a third pillar of our lives.
Alongside our security cooperation through ANZUS, and our strong economic ties with the free trade agreement between our nations at the center. The
compact lays a foundation for our two countries to advance climate and clean energy action this decade both at home and globally.
Today, we agreed new measures under the compact to support our energy transition including the establishment of an Australian and U.S. clean
energy industry council comprised of business and public financiers(ph) to advise government on clean energy industry development and cooperation.
We're working closely with the United States to build and to end sustainable, reliable and transparent supply chains for critical minerals.
Of course, Australia has abundant supplies of those critical minerals that will drive our economies throughout this century. Lithium, cobalt, copper,
uranium(ph) and rare earths. We want to connect that with American markets, investors and technology in a way that creates new jobs and opportunities
for industries and workers in both of our nations.
Cheaper, cleaner energy will reduce costs for households, but it will also power a new generation of manufacturing. Our alliance is also delivering
for the Indo-Pacific region bilaterally and increasingly with our partners in the QUAD.
Australia and America are supporting the connectivity of the region, and today, we announced a new funding for subset cables in the Pacific, further
support for infrastructure development, including efforts to increase the Pacific's access to financing, and that we'll work together through a new
Pacific banking forum to ensure that our friends in the Pacific maintain access to the global financial system.
Today, we also discussed that joint position, opposing Russia's illegal and immoral invasion of Ukraine. Australia stands with Ukraine. And President
Biden welcomed the package of further assistance that I announced yesterday. This will provide Ukraine with additional military assistance,
utilizing the innovative technology that's produced by Australia's defense industry partners.
Finally, of course, last night, and again today, we spoke about the situation in Israel and Gaza. Australia unequivocally condemns the
terrorism of Hamas. We grief for the loss of every innocent life, whether that be Israeli or Palestinian. In times of crisis, respect for
international humanitarian law is paramount. It is a recognition of our common humanity, and I commend the president for his leadership.
That he has shown in the example that he has set. Today, I announce that Australia will provide an additional $15 million in humanitarian assistance
for civilians in Gaza, besides to the $10 million Australia has already committed and will help deliver life-saving assistance such as emergency
water and medical services.
The friendship between Australia and the United States was forged in hard times. We have served and sacrificed together in the course of peace. We
have helped each other through natural disasters. Australians and Americans share a rich history. But we always have our eye on the future. We're
united by a determination to overcome the challenges that we face, and we share an ambition to seize those opportunities which lie ahead of us.
As is indeed an alliance in which we celebrate what we've achieved up to now. But we focus on the future. A future of great opportunities, one
that's stronger because of this alliance.
BIDEN: All right, we'll take a few questions now. Mr. Garrison, "USA Today".
JOEY GARRISON, USA TODAY WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Thank you Mr. President and Prime Minister Albanese, welcome to Washington. Mr. President, I want
to ask about the conflict, the war in the Middle East. Twenty four U.S. troops have been injured during ten drone or rocket attacks on bases in
Iraq and three in Syria over the past week.
You've told Iran to quote, "be careful" as your administration tries to prevent the Israel-Hamas war from expanding into a larger Middle East
conflict. But should Americans be worried that the war already is escalating? And after you answer that question, I'd like one more follow-
BIDEN: Wanted two more? Joey, look, we have had troops in the region since 9/11 to go after ISIS and prevent its re-emergence in both -- anyway, in
the region. I mean, nothing to do with Israel at all. My warning to the Ayatollah was that if they continue to move against those troops, we will
respond and he should be prepared. It has nothing to do with Israel.
GARRISON: Well, let me -- let me ask my follow-up here. I want to discuss - - here we go, yes, your conversations with Prime Minister Netanyahu who obviously you've known for decades.
And you had a very emotional trip there last week to Israel. Have you sought assurances from him that he will hold off on a ground invasion into
Gaza until the safe relief -- release of the hostages can be assured? And of course, those include ten unaccounted-for Americans.
BIDEN: No, what I have indicated to him is that if that's possible to get these folks out safely, that's what he should do. It's their decision. But
I did not demand it. I pointed it out to him if it's real, it should be done. Thank you.
GARRISON: But are these hostages in jeopardy if there's a ground invasion?
BIDEN: You want to make a speech? No, look --
GARRISON: Yes --
BIDEN: Obviously, they're in jeopardy. The question is whether or not there's any way of getting them out. If we can get them out, we should get
GARRISON: Prime Minister -- Prime Minister Albanese, and welcome again to Washington. President Biden canceled his May trip to Australia because a
debt-ceiling talks in Congress to avoid the first-ever default here in the U.S. More recently, congressional action has stalled as house Republicans
try to pick a speaker. However, it does appear since we are now here, that the house elected a Congressman Mike Johnston from Louisiana to that role.
But are you worried that gridlock in Washington will hold up the transfer of nuclear-powered subs to Australia as part of the AUKUS agreement? And
are you concerned more broadly that the dysfunction makes the U.S. less reliable partner?
ALBANESE: I regard the United States as a very reliable partner. And I regard the relationship that I have with the president as second to none of
the relationships that I have around the world or indeed domestically for that matter.
It's a relationship of trust, and I think this visit symbolizes that. This is the ninth visit that I've had with President Biden. I got to meet
President Biden when he was Vice President Biden just next door here some years ago. And I'm very confident in the discussions that I've had with
Democrats and Republicans, that there is very broad support for the AUKUS arrangements, and that there will be support for the legislation going
And I think that would be a very good thing. It is in the interest of Australia, but it's also in the interest of the United States. And everyone
that I have spoken to, similarly in the United Kingdom, across the political spectrums are all supportive of the AUKUS arrangements. We --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)
ALBANESE: We in Australia have managed to get it, so we get one question each. So, yes, good try. But 10/10 Australia.
BIDEN: Go get him Jojo(ph).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President Biden just staying with AUKUS. AUKUS is in many ways your creation. It's Australia's largest ever defense deal, and
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has gone all in. Can you give a personal guarantee that you can get all the necessary legislation through Congress
and lock in this deal, essentially future proofing it before the end of this presidential term?
BIDEN: Do you know anyone elected to office can give a personal guarantee that it happens?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, we'd like you to try --
BIDEN: No, I'm going to try and I believe it will get done. Look, last week, we requested $3.4 billion and supplemental funds to boost submarine
production and maintenance to meet U.S. needs and also support AUKUS. Australia is making a significant, a significant investment in the United
States and its ability to produce submarines as part of this deal.
And more importantly, it's important that Congress moves quickly. And the fact is that I am confident that we can get this done, because you remember
when we put the deal together, in response to Democrats and Republicans in the United States, in response around the free world was this is a very
good thing. A very good thing.
So the question is, not if, but when? And I'm -- Jojo(ph) told us that, I think we've got a new speaker or we'll likely have a new speaker, I hope
that's true because we have to get moving. We have to get moving in this. So, I am confident that we're going to be able to get the money for AUKUS,
because it's overwhelmingly in our interest.
When I was asked when we put together the deal, I was asked by Xi Jinping, are we just trying to surround China? I said no, we're not surrounding
China. We're just making sure that the sea lanes remain open. You don't -- unilaterally will be able to change the rules of the road in terms of what
constitutes international airspace and water space, et cetera.
And so, that's what this is all about. It's about making sure we have a close -- and it's in addition to the fact that we put together the QUAD,
which he didn't like. The QUAD is a very important piece as well. It's about maintaining stability. Stability in the Taiwan Straits, the Indian
The whole -- that whole area. And I think it's going to increase the prospects for long-term peace rather than anything else. Oh, I get to ask -
- I get to ask, OK, "PBS", Miss Lopez.
LAURA BARRON-LOPEZ, PBS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Mr. President, thank you. If I may, I have a breaking news question and then Israel one. First,
after 22 days, House Republicans just elected Mike Johnson of Louisiana as the speaker of the house. Johnson advocated conspiracy theories about
voting machines and a rigged election in 2020.
He encouraged his colleagues to join a lawsuit to invalidate the results of four states. So if you win re-election in 2024, are you worried that
Speaker Johnson would again attempt to overturn the election?
BARRON-LOPEZ: Why not?
BIDEN: Because he can't -- well, look, just like I was not worried that the last Congress won't be able to overturn the election. They have 60
lawsuits, and they all worry the Supreme Court every time they lost. I understand the constitution.
BARRON-LOPEZ: And If I may, very quickly. In the 18 days since Hamas killed 1,400 Israelis, the Hamas-controlled Gaza Health Ministry says Israeli
forces have killed over 6,000 Palestinians including 2,700 children. You've previously asked Netanyahu to minimize civilian casualties. Do these
numbers say to you that he's ignoring that message?
BIDEN: What it does say to me is I have no notion that the Palestinians are telling the truth about how many people are killed. I'm sure innocents have
been killed, and it's the price of waging a war. I think we should be incredibly careful. I think now we -- the Israelis should be incredibly
careful to be sure that they're focusing on going after the folks that are propagating this war against Israel.
And it's against their interests when that doesn't happen. But I have no confidence in the number that the Palestinians are using.
BARRON-LOPEZ: Thank you Mr. President. Prime Minister Albanese, you're traveling to China early next month. President Biden has said China should
expect, quote, "extreme competition from the United States". Do you support extreme competition with China and what does that look like for you?
ALBANESE: Well, we have strategic competition in our region. That's a fact that we are living with. The relationship with China is one where the
principle that I bring to it is to cooperate where we can, disagree where we must, but engage in our national interest. It is in Australia's interest
as well as China, but I believe in the global interest for us to have a relationship where there is dialogue.
And hence, I welcome the fact that I have been invited to China, I'll be traveling at the same time as we will commemorate 50 years since the first
visit by an Australian Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam, to China. In a short period of time now, and I think that is a positive thing. It is good that
various senior representatives in the U.S. administration have had meetings with their Chinese counterparts in recent times because dialogue is always
a good thing.
Through dialogue comes understanding and comes a diffusion of tension. We want a peaceful and secure region, but we want one as well that's based
upon the rule of law. And we're national sovereignty including issues such as the South China Sea and the rite of passage in that important waterway
there, that is China Sea, the Taiwan Straits is respected.
And that is Australia's position. We cooperate very much with the -- with the United States on those matters and on others. But I look forward to a
constructive dialogue when I visit Shanghai and Beijing.
BIDEN: Extreme competition was not conflict. Read the whole paragraph. I talked about we're going to have -- we're going to compete with China on
every way according to international rules, economically, politically and other ways. But not -- I'm not looking for conflict.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Geoff?
GEOFF CHAMBERS, CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, THE AUSTRALIAN: Yes, Geoff Chambers from "The Australian". President Biden, as mentioned, Prime
Minister Albanese flies to Beijing next Saturday to meet the Chinese president and premier. Your administration has raised deep concerns over a
very long period of time about the Chinese communist government's aggressive coercion and intimidation tactics.
Maritime claims in the South China Sea, as we've seen with the situation with the Philippines. State-sponsored cyber attacks. Last week, we heard
from the spy chiefs talking about theft of intellectual property on industrial scale and obviously, human rights abuses. What do you make of
China's re-engagement with Australia? Can Australia trust Beijing, and can Australia do business with China?
BIDEN: Trust, but verify is the phrase. And -- look, China is having their own internal and external difficulties right now. China's economic growth
is stagnant compared to what it was. China has engaged in activities that Russia and many other activities of others have engaged in, in terms of
intimidation and dealing with other countries.
But the fact is that, I have met with Xi Jinping more than any other world leader has. I've been in over 68 hours of private meetings, he and I with
simultaneous interpreters, it started back when I was vice president, it was appropriate for a president of the United States to be meeting with the
vice president. So I traveled 17,000 miles.
And I have subsequently, in addition to that 68 hours, I've also had another -- they tell me to keep meticulous contact, that's another, I think
12-15 hours of discussions, just he and I. And I think that he is realizing that there are -- for example, his Belt and Road Initiative, well, we're
going to compete on that, and we're going to -- we'll do it in a different way.
The Belt and Road Initiative has been -- ended up dead in the news where most of the people signed on. We are working with our G7 partners to
provide infrastructure for the very nations that he's trying to deal with. We want to -- for example, at the G20, we were able to act on a proposal, I
had to bring -- to build a railroad all the way from Riyadh, all the way through the Middle East, Saudi Arabia, Israel, up through Greece and then
across -- not the railroads, but pipeline across the Mediterranean up into Europe.
CHAMBERS: You're the reliable partner.
BIDEN: Pardon me?
CHAMBERS: You're the reliable partner in terms of when you say you're going to deliver something, you, the U.S. and its partners delivering for us?
BIDEN: No, not just me. I hope the United States is a reliable partner, oh, yes. But it wasn't just the United States that agreed on that. Because
look, even to this day, when my discussions with the Saudis and the Crown Prince was, he wants to see a reconciliation take place. It's
overwhelmingly in his interest. It's in Saudis interest. It's the idea that you have the nations in the Middle East cooperating economically and
Changes the dynamics significantly. And so, I just think that it is -- it's something that is in everyone's interest, including long-term in China's
CHAMBERS: Prime Minister as well. Have you had a chance to speak to Benjamin Netanyahu? I know there's been efforts made. Obviously, the
president was there in Israel last week. Are you still endeavoring to speak to the Israeli Prime Minister?
ALBANESE: I am. I have spoken with the Israeli ambassador on a number of occasions. We continue to -- we understand that obviously Mr. Netanyahu has
pressures on which at the top of the list is not -- is not the discussion with the Australian Prime Minister. We understand the pressures which are
there, but we have our request for a call in. Thank you.
CHAMBERS: Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you everybody, the press conferences has now concluded, thank you.
ISA SOARES, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello and welcome everyone, I'm Isa Soares, you have been listening there to the U.S. President Joe Biden
speaking alongside Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. I'll continue a brief summarization of what he said, President Biden thanked
Albanese for his nation's dedication to aid for Ukraine.
In those remarks, he also said that he was alarmed by reports that extremist settlers are attacking Palestinians in the West Bank.
He also said, speaking about the conflict with -- between Israel and Hamas, that he has no proof, but his instinct is that Hamas attacked Israel now
because they were nearing a deal to normalize relations with Saudi Arabia. He was asked by one of the reporters there whether he sought assurances
when it comes to delaying Israel's incursion into Gaza.
President Biden said he did not demand Israel delay its invasion of Gaza to provide more time to negotiate for the hostages. But he said if possible,
they should. He also said that, this is very important when he talked about Israel and Hamas, he said that Biden -- President Biden said Israel has a
responsibility, he says to respond to Hamas attacks, but must protect civilian lives.
You're looking, we've been listening to the president, you're -- on the right of your screen, you'll be seeing it, it's more of a box -- some
breaking news we've been monitoring after three weeks, and chaos, the U.S. House Speaker has elected Mike Johnson and he's speaking right now. Let's
REP. MIKE JOHNSON (R-LA): In this house, and you would be hard-pressed to find anybody who loves this institution more or has contributed more to it.
He is the reason we're in this majority today.
His impact can never be overstated, and I want to thank him for his leadership, his friendship and the selfless sacrifice that you and Judy
have made for so many years. You helped build it, Kevin, and we owe you a great debt of gratitude. I want to thank the dedicated and overworked staff
of this beleaguered house.
They accept praise so stoically.
But Miss Susan Cole(ph), our house reading clerk and yes, listen, all the clerks and all the staff, you know, they're terribly overworked. This has
been a grueling process. But they have served an integral role in keeping our republic, and we thank them for that service, I know we all do.
I want to thank my dedicated wife of almost 25 years, Kelly, she is not here, we couldn't get a flight in time, this happened sort of suddenly.
But we're going to celebrate soon. She spent the last couple of weeks on her knees in prayer to the Lord, and she's a little worn out, we all are. I
want to thank our children, Michael and Hannah and Abby and Jack and Will, all of our children sacrificed, all of them do and we know that. And
there's not a lot of perks to being a member of Congress' kid, right? And so, I want to thank all your families as well for what they endure, and
what they've had to endure for the last few weeks we've been here a while. Yes.
I want to thank my faithful mother, Jeanne Johnson who bore me at the age of 17, and my brothers, Chris and Josh and my sister, Laura and all their
families, and all of our extended family. In Louisiana, family is a big deal, and we've got a bunch of them. I especially want to thank all the
extraordinary people of the great state of Louisiana. We have never had a speaker of the house hail from our state. And so they've been lifting us
I thank the people of Louisiana for the opportunity to serve you in Congress, and I'm humbled by your continuous support. We will make you
proud. To my colleagues, I want to thank you all for the trust that you've instilled in me to lead us in this historic and unprecedented moment that
The challenge before us is great, but the time for action is now, and I will not let you down.
I want to say to the American people, on behalf of all of us here, we hear you, we know the challenges you're facing, we know that there is a lot
going on in our country, domestically and abroad, and we are ready to get to work again to solve those problems. And we will.
Our mission here is to serve you well, to restore the people's faith in this house, in this great and essential institution. My dad, I forgot to
mention my dad was a firefighter. He was an assistant chief at the Fire Department in my hometown of Shreveport, Louisiana; a little town in
northwest Louisiana. On September 17th, 1984, when I was 12 years old, he was critically burned and permanently disabled in a line of duty.
All I ever wanted to be when I grew up was the chief of the fire
SOARES: The people's house is back in business after, what, three weeks, 22 days, let's say, of chaos. We now have -- the U.S. House of Representatives
has a new speaker, Mike Johnson. As you heard there, 51 years old from Louisiana, a man that many people won't know, to be honest.
This is something that I think came to a surprise to many in the last few weeks. He got 220 votes and it comes after, of course, Kevin McCarthy
ousted three weeks ago. He did say at the beginning of his speech there, he became House Speaker so quickly that his wife didn't actually have time to
book a flight to Washington.
And then proceeded to talk to the American people, not just House of Representatives there, to the American people, to give a brief outline of
who he is, what he stands for, his values and what he wants to achieve.
He mentioned the friend of Israel, he said, to show Israel that barbarism of Hamas is wretched and wrong. Talked about migration, the southern border
from Texas to New York. And he also talked about wanting to rein in federal spending.
But he said his office, he wants his office to be known as one of trust and transparency. A lot for us to go through. I want to bring in Republican
strategist Doug Heye joining me from Washington.
Doug, for many of you, correct me if I'm wrong, for many of you, is this the first time actually learning about the Speaker, about Mike Johnson?
I'm guessing many people had to Google him before this.
DOUG HEYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think that is right and that is unfortunate. Not for Mike Johnson. I think what we've learned at the
political incentive structure doesn't really reward people like Mike Johnson, except in situations exactly like this.
Because the people who put their head down and do the work are not the ones who get on TV. They're not the ones who can raise the small dollar
donations. I had a couple of reporters who called me this morning to ask about Mike Johnson.
And I said to them, you know, usually when you call me, it's about Marjorie Taylor Greene or Matt Gaetz. You've never called me about him before.
And some of that is a self fulfilling prophecy but all of America is going to know who he is in the coming days. He's got a big job ahead of him and
part of that is to define himself and what he wants the speakership to be.
Democrats are already trying to define him negatively. It's important for Johnson and his team but also the party as a whole to defend him and define
SOARES: From that speech you just heard and we just saw just now being sworn in in the last, he was talking, Doug, did you get any hints of what
the priority was for him, how he wants his speakership to be?
HEYE: Yes, first and foremost, and I will apologize, this is very political and Congress nerdspeak here. But he talked about decentralizing the office
What does that mean?
It means moving power from the Speaker's office, essentially weakening his own power and returning it to committees. Now that isn't something that
your average voter or even your intense voter, your hardcore Republican or hardcore Democrat, focuses on.
But it means he wants to do business in a way that's different from not just how Kevin McCarthy did things but Nancy Pelosi and Paul Ryan and John
Boehner before him as well. It's a significant shift in how Congress potentially will have to see when the hard work really kicks in, if he is
It's a real shift in how Congress may operate. Again, not something that gets on the front pages.
SOARES: He got 220 votes, Doug. I mean, he was able to do really what McCarthy, Scalise, Jordan and Emmer just were not able to.
What is so special about him?
HEYE: Well, clearly he's been able to unify the Congress. He also comes, frankly, at a point where members are exhausted. They wanted to stop
dealing with this and they wanted to, you know, go home. And that is not insignificant here.
But it also means, if you look at the atmosphere on Capitol Hill today, it is sort of like a last day of school. And this speech was a farewell to the
last day of school from the principal.
But the reality is summer school starts tomorrow and there is a lot of hard work that is going to have to happen here in these coming weeks, from the
House and the Senate.
SOARES: Yes, and I think everyone is exhausted and we heard Mike Johnson there congratulating everyone for the last three weeks.
But look, he has been a vocal supporter, hasn't he, of president Donald Trump, was a key congressional figure in the failed efforts to overturn the
How do you think this position, his role thus far, what kind of impact do you think it will have at the next election?
Does it matter at all?
HEYE: I don't think so and for two reasons.
One, you could say that about pretty much every Republican in the House of Representatives. You know, a lot of headlines have said "Trump ally." OK,
well find me the Republican who would run for speaker that is not a Trump ally. That is the reality of where the party is.
And I will tell you, having run the communications for the Fire Pelosi campaign in 2010, the reason that was successful was because it was a
midterm election. Running against Mike Johnson in a presidential year when Donald Trump is most likely at the top of the ticket, I will tell you, I
don't think he's going to get a whole lot of attention.
Donald Trump sucks up so much attention politically and in our pop culture, I think it'll be hard for anyone else to breakthrough on that positively or
SOARES: And of course, he is not part of the establishment and I wonder whether that is part of the appeal as well, Doug. He doesn't also have the
Does that help him?
Does that hinder him?
HEYE: Well, I think we have to wait and see. When Kevin McCarthy became speaker, there were a lot of stories about how he had risen very quickly in
the Republican and House ranks. Obviously for Johnson, that is even more true.
But the reality is, except for Nancy Pelosi returning as speaker and the limited instances where that has happened, becoming speaker is on-the-job
training. John Boehner had not been speaker before; Paul Ryan had not been speaker before.
When Nancy Pelosi became speaker in 2007, she had a long congressional history. But she had never been in that role. So for Johnson, this is brand
new for him, just as it has been for anyone else who's gotten that job the first time.
SOARES: And as our viewers would've known and been watching here on CNN, there are many crises happening at the very moment -- the Israel-Hamas
conflict, of course; the war in Ukraine. We have not forgotten that. And also the question of federal spending in the United States and our border
crisis but are concerned, of course.
SOARES: What do you think, Doug, he will bring to the floor first?
HEYE: Well, he said Israel is coming up first and I don't think that is a big surprise. Then we will have to see, what does he do with Ukraine?
And that is where there is some doubt. Then the other issue is clearly keeping the government open. I would note that when we thought that Jim
Jordan might be speaker, Chip Roy, who is one of the leaders of the Freedom Caucus, said, let's give him some grace. Let's give him some room to
We will have to see if Mike Johnson gets that same room. It was room that Tom Emmer, Steve Scalise and Kevin McCarthy did not have. But Johnson will
need and hopefully will get, so that he can work with and against the president, in trying to keep the government open.
SOARES: Before I let you go, where does he stand on more aid to Ukraine, Doug?
HEYE: Well, he's been skeptical. He's voted for it in the past. He's also been skeptical of it. You know, we will have to see.
How does this new role as the Speaker of the House, which is a very different role than just being a rank and file member of Congress -- it's a
constitutional office -- whether that affects things. That's where Mitch McConnell is going to play a role here as well.
SOARES: Doug, always great to see you, obviously, better in person when you're in London but great nevertheless.
HEYE: Always better in London.
SOARES: Thanks, Doug, great to see you.
HEYE: Thank you.
SOARES: Well, earlier in the program if you were watching, we heard remarks from U.S. President Joe Biden. If you remember, he was speaking alongside
Australian prime minister, Anthony Albanese. I want to bring in CNN senior White House correspondent, Kayla Tausche in Washington.
Kayla, just talk us through what we heard from President Biden today.
What relates, first of all, to the Israel and Hamas conflict?
KAYLA TAUSCHE, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly, Isa, the president is trying to prove that the White House can focus on both the
urgent, the near term, as well as the long term strategic challenges that are posed on the geopolitical stage.
To that end, he spoke at length about Israel. He fielded several questions from reporters about Israel and about the conversations that the U.S. has
had with the Israeli government and its perspective on how things should go from here.
President Biden denied that he had told the Israeli government to delay a ground incursion to be able to deliver humanitarian aid and get hostages
out. He said that if it is possible to get those folks out safely, that he wanted them to do that.
But he said that it's Israel's decision and that it remains a question as to whether the hostages that are being held by Hamas can even be extracted
He also cast some doubt on some of the claims of casualties in Palestinian Territories by Hamas, saying that, essentially, that there is no notion
that the Palestinians are telling the truth about how many lives have been claimed.
And he says, that is the price of waging a war. But of course, he did this against the backdrop of a bilateral state visit with the prime minister of
Australia, where the topic at hand was supposed to be China, was supposed to be the alliance, strengthening the Indo-Pacific. But certainly, the
conversation has shifted elsewhere.
SOARES: Yes, and from prime minister Albanese, the concern, of course, was that AUKUS arraignment that had been somewhat, I think, held up by the
House Speakership and not having a speaker. That can clearly happen. Good timing.
And he seemed confident, President Biden, that this would go ahead. One reporter, I think, asked whether he could give his personal guarantee.
TAUSCHE: And President Biden said that nor he, nor any leader, could give a personal guarantee that a legislative body would do something specific. He
said he was going to do everything in his power to get that partnership across the finish line before the end of his term, noting the money that he
and his administration have requested from Congress in just the last week to do so.
And prime minister Albanese said that the U.S. remains a reliable partner. He remains confident that those AUKUS deliverables will, in fact, be
But of course, time will tell if, in fact, the Congress, under the new leadership of House Speaker Mike Johnson, who said that his first order of
business is going to be a bill supporting the U.S. ally in Israel, how they plan to proceed from here.
SOARES: And, how did President Biden react to Mike Johnson becoming the new speaker?
Because of course, I think the reporter asked, you know, where Mike Johnson stands, in terms of the election denial, how did the president react to
Was he worried?
TAUSCHE: He suggested that he was not worried. The question was specifically about Johnson's role in 2020 and in essentially engineering
part of the reaction to the election results that then became the insurrection on January 6th.
And President Biden said, no, that, even if he wins in 2024, he's confident that that result will be upheld, just as it was in 2020 by the court
system, in which he still is confident.
TAUSCHE: And so, he said that just as it happened in 2020 with his predecessor, who tried to challenge the election, if it happens again, he
has no doubt that the election will be upheld.
But the White House's line has always been that they don't have a vote in this process. It is up to Republicans to govern themselves and that they
don't speak on behalf of a party that they don't take part in.
SOARES: Kayla Tausche, really appreciate it. A lot for us to break down there, thank you,
SOARES: And in the last few minutes, breaking news for you. Former U.S. President Donald Trump has just been fined $10,000 for violating a gag
order. Trump took the stand this very hour to answer questions about comments he allegedly made about Judge Arthur Engoron and his law clerk,
accusing them of being partisan.
Mr. Trump denied the charges but the judge said Mr. Trump was not a credible witness and gave him 30 days to pay that fine. And breaking news
for you in the last hour.
That does it for us for this evening. Thank you very much for your company. Do stay right here, we will have much more news after this very short