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Interview with Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA); House to Vote Today on Spending Bill After McCarthy Delay Tactic; Ohio GOP Maps Are an Assault on Democracy. Aired 7:30-8a ET
Aired November 19, 2021 - 07:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
GABBY ORR, CNN REPORTER: Right. Good morning, John. You know, as Donald Trump tracks very closely what Republican presidential hopefuls for 2024 have said about challenging him if he does decide to go for a third presidential run he has been increasingly irritated with the cardinal sin that Governor Ron DeSantis is committing by not saying anything of the sort.
He has not come out and said I will not challenge Donald Trump if decides to run in 2024. He has not even said that he is interested in 2024, and that according to aides to Donald Trump, allies, close friends who he has been talking to down at Mar-a-Lago is really irking the former president.
My colleague, Steve Contorno, and I talked to several people close to both Ron DeSantis and Donald Trump who said that there is a noticeable strain on the relationship and that President Trump will not be satisfied until Ron DeSantis comes out and unequivocally says he will not challenge the former president in a GOP presidential primary.
As one aide to me put it, if President Trump is not complaining about Ron per se but he wants everybody around him to know he's the one who made Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Oh, well that's interesting. It will be very interesting to see how DeSantis plays this going forward if he continues with the Sphinx-like posture. Gabby, also in the sort of it should have happened a year ago file, RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel said something publically for the first time. Listen closely.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RONNA MCDANIEL, CHAIR, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: Painfully, Joe Biden won the election.
He's the president of course (ph). It's very painful to watch.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BERMAN: She just one Joe Biden won the election, which, of course, is something that everyone should have known a year ago, but the fact that she just said it out loud.
ORR: It was the first time that she has publically acknowledged that Joe Biden did not only is president but that he won the 2020 election, that's the important distinction here. But at the same time during that breakfast, which I was at yesterday morning with the RNC Chairwoman, she continued to talk about voter reform and election integrity in the same way that Donald Trump has talked about those things since the 2020 election, which he still claims obviously was stolen and was fraudulent, so she repeated many of the false claims that the former president has made about the 2020 election even while acknowledging that, yes, Joe Biden is President of the United States.
BERMAN: It's interesting, though, because then the absurd language that some Republicans will use they'll say Joe Biden is president but they won't say what she said. I don't know if it was by accident, but when she said Biden won the election, that was different. That was different from her. We'll see if she continues to say that. Gabby Orr, thank you very much.
ORR: Thanks, John.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: So it was a late night for the House of Representatives. Democrats were set to pass President Biden's plan to dramatically expand the social safety net. The House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy had other things in mind. He delayed that vote with a long, very long, super long speech. It lasted a record-breaking 8 hours and 32 minutes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): You know, when I look at this bill it angers me. We are so better than this. You are spending so much money. Never before. We spent less defeating Hitler, Mussolini, and Japan than yours spending tonight. We spent less, but it costs us lives, and you're celebrating it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: Joining us now is the Assistant Speaker of the House, Democratic Congresswoman Katherine Clark of Massachusetts. She is a member of the Democratic Progressive Caucus. She's actually going to be presiding over the House this morning as Democrats move forward on this.
Congresswoman, first things first, though, here. This was kind of a wild night just finished up a short time ago. What do you think that Kevin McCarthy was trying to achieve here?
REP. KATHERINE CLARK (D-MA): Well Kevin McCarthy delivered a unhinged rant that really ranged in topics from baby carrots to Jimmy Carter's sweater. We are delivering jobs. We are delivering lower costs. We are delivering lower taxes for middle class families. We are delivering address climate change. And what he made very clear over his unhinged eight plus hours was the GOP and Kevin McCarthy don't want to lower the cost of prescription drugs. They don't want to help families pay for childcare, which can be one of the biggest bills a family faces. They don't want universal pre-K. They don't want to cap insulin. They don't want to increase productivity of things like semiconductor chips that can help us drive down costs and keep inflation under control.
They are totally leaving the American family out of whatever that was, but however deranged and kind of rambling it was the message was clear. They are disconnected from helping the American family, and that was for an audience of one - Donald Trump.
KEILAR: So you are - as I said, you're presiding over this this morning. Tell us what is going to happen? The Speaker will talk at 8:05, and then what will we see?
CLARK: You know, I can tell you what the Democrats are going to do. We are celebrating that today is the day, that we say to the American people help is on the way. So I am so proud to be able to go back in just a few minutes and finally get Build Back Better agenda across the line in the House because this was built from conversations that President Biden had with the American people. This is the historic progress we need to help families at home deal with the historic challenges that they are facing.
So I can tell you we may be a little perplexed, a little worried about Kevin McCarthy, but we are so excited to be able to deliver this today for families at home.
KEILAR: So what time do you think we'll be seeing a vote? Are there going to be any more Republican delays do you think?
CLARK: That's going to be up to the Republicans, but I think that what they put on full display last night was all they have to offer the American family at home is obstruction, is some sort of ranting, and we have shown over and over again this week. You know, it was only five days ago that the president signed the bipartisan infrastructure creating two million jobs every single year over the next 10 years, modernizing our ports and our airports so we can really work to improve that supply chain, making sure we're investing in clean water so that our kids have a chance to grow up healthy.
That was far more significant in the Republican Party that 13 Republicans voted for infrastructure - bipartisan infrastructure.
KEILAR: But just to - just to be - just to be clear on this, though, so what is the timing of the vote?
CLARK: Oh we will - we will bring up the vote as soon as possible this morning. I think the Speaker will address the House and we will move probably to the vote barring any shenanigans from the Republicans.
KEILAR: By what time?
CLARK: Oh, you know, we are going in at 8 a.m.
KEILAR: OK. All right, so we'll see it very soon after that, right? That's the expectation in the 8 a.m. hour then?
CLARK: That is our plan. Today's the day we deliver for the American people, and we're eager to get to that vote.
KEILAR: So this - look, people need to know this then goes to the Senate where it has more problems with Democrats than it does with Democrats in the House. What are your concerns about how this will change in the Senate?
CLARK: You know, here's what I can tell you. Democrats have been at the negotiating table throughout this process, and much of this bill is already agreed to. So yes, the Senate is going to have its process, but we are committed to delivering for American families. It is long passed time that we move past the tax scam of the Republicans, that we move past having a Congress that only works for the well-connected and the wealthy and put the focus back on American families.
Those issues they talk about around their kitchen table are the issues that we are going to help them address. So the Senate will have a process, but I am confident that they are going to return a bill that is going to put the Americans at home who are looking to see themselves in our process squarely in focus.
KEILAR: Congresswoman Clark, thank you so much. We know you have a very busy morning and next hour ahead of you. Thanks for being with us on NEW DAY.
CLARK: Thank you.
KEILAR: Jury deliberations are about to begin in Charlottesville, Virginia, which is where white nationalists told the court that they did not commit racially motivated violence. We're live.
BERMAN: The Democrats say Ohio's new congressional map is unconstitutional and intentionally dilutes the black vote, but can it really do anything about it? A Reality Check next.
BERMAN: Jury deliberations set to begin shortly in the Charlottesville Unite the Right trial. Prosecutors seeking millions of dollars in damages for nine people injured in the 2017 rally, arguing that two dozen white nationalists and neo-Nazis conspired to commit racially motivated violence.
CNN's Jason Carroll covering there for us live in Charlottesville this morning. Jason -
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And you know when it comes to conspiracy, John, remember that it doesn't have to be that all of the 24 defendants who conspired. It just has to be two or more, and basically yesterday jurors were reminded of that yesterday during closing arguments. And additionally plaintiffs attorneys also reminded jurors of the body of evidence they say they presented which shows that they say shows that there was a conspiracy here.
Karen Dunn, one of the plaintiff's attorneys, summing it up this way. "You can't just yell and wave your arms and say it's not a conspiracy. This was about raising an army for the cracking of skulls. This was not a hypothetical thing. Natalie Romero actually had her skull fractured."
Natalie Romero, you remember she's a UVA student who said she thought she was going to die during that rally. She testified during the trial. The defense for its part says plaintiffs did not show a conspiracy here. One of their attorneys, James Kolenich, summing it up this way, saying, "The fact that these guys know each other, they talk to each other, and they say all kinds of ridiculous things and believe all kinds of ridiculous things, not even ridiculous, offensive, deeply offensive, even dangerous things. None of that provides a conspiracy."
Now again, this is a civil trial. As you say, they are asking for millions of dollars in damages. We got sort of a rundown of what they're asking for here. Plaintiffs seeking $7 million to $10 million for each of the plaintiffs hit by James Alex Fields' car, $3 million to $5 million for plaintiffs injured in other ways, and they're also asking for punitive damages here as well. Plaintiffs attorneys when she was telling jurors about that, she says when you think of punitive damages think about a dollar amount in your head that would say something like this could never ever happen again. John -
BERMAN: All right. Jason Carroll, I know you're going to be watching it very closely all day long. Keep us posted.
KEILAR: So there have been major moves in the once a decade redistricting that is going on around the country. This time in Ohio. John Avlon has our Reality Check.
JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: The rigged system of redistricting is the single biggest structural driver of polarization in our politics, and the great state of Ohio just showed us how professional partisan cynical disregard for the will of the people undermines representative democracy.
You see, the Republican-controlled legislature just passed an absurd partisan gerrymander designed to give them control of as many as 13 congressional seats, giving Democrats just two. That's an 87 percent of the congressional delegation in a state where Trump won just 53 percent of the vote. Not only that, it's a state where Republican registration fell by more than 120,000 over the last four years, giving them 1.9 million party members compared to the Democrats 1.6 million and 4.6 million registered independents.
So these maps are an insult to democracy. They are designed to disenfranchise voters, but believe it or not that's not the worst of it because in 2018, just three years ago, a stunning 75 percent of Ohio voters backed an amendment to their state constitution ensuring that redistricting would be bipartisan and not favor any one political party. It also promised that congressional maps would be drawn in such a way to keep counties and towns whole, imposing geographic commonsense on the absurd gerry members (ph) that demine communities to maximize partisan power, and this was big news. Hailed by Democrats and Republicans as a model for how states could pursue election reform.
"Should be a ray of hope for people in Ohio," said Republican State Rep Curt Shern (ph). "I think we will have fair districts. I think we will have more competitive districts. If they're more competitive people in Washington will have to be more conciliatory," he said. "Not so partisan."
That's exactly right. So what the hell happened here? Well Ohio Republicans just decided to disregard the state constitution and the will of the voters. See, a seven-member redistricting commission had a month to work on a fair map, but Republican members refused to participate. And so, the commission couldn't convene. The power to draw the lines fell back to the Republican-controlled state assembly who proceeded to do exactly what the constitutional amendment forbade.
They cracked and packed minority communities, dividing counties and cities for their own partisan advantage. For example, Hamilton County, home to Cincinnati, which voted for Biden by a 16 point margin, will be divided into three congressional districts with black voters offset by white Republicans. And that's why many are saying this map might not only violate the Ohio constitution but the U.S. Voting Rights Act.
So what's next? Well it will go to Ohio's Republican Governor Mike DeWine for his signature. Now back in 2018 he told the Cincinnati Inquirer, quote, "Voters said that the redistricting process should be done in a bipartisan way, and when I'm governor there will be an expectation that the new district maps honor the voters' wishes." That was then, but this is now.
Now DeWine's already admitted that, "The result was not where we needed it to be," but in the unlikely even that he actually follows through and vetos he'd probably be overridden by state House Republicans who just passed an antivax law over his objections. Lawsuits will be filed. Then the maps will go to the Ohio Supreme Court for judgment where DeWine's son is a justice who's already announced that he would not recuse himself from this case.
Well this partisan map is clearly in violation of the state constitution.
What it really does is show that Republicans only care about controlling Congress in the upcoming midterms, and they won't be constrained by pesky things like laws or state constitutions in their pursuit of power. And what happens in Ohio doesn't stay in Ohio. This is just one example of the rigged redistricting that's happening in state houses across the country right now trying to predetermine the midterm elections before a single vote is casted. It's also an example of why federal election reform is so needed because even statewide reforms backed by the vast majority of voters can be discarded by the party in power.
As David Pepper, former Chair of the Ohio State Democratic Party, writes in his new book "Laboratories of Autocracy", "we are witnessing a coordinated, nationwide weaponization of state houses to undermine American democracy itself."
Make no mistake this is happening right now. They're just hoping you won't notice until it's too late, and that's your Reality Check.
KEILAR: That is not representative democracy for sure.
AVLON: At all.
KEILAR: At all. John Avlon, thank you so much. House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy just finished up a record-breaking 8 hour speech - 8 plus hour speech on the House floor, and sitting behind him what appeared to be a tobacco chewing and spitting Madison Cawthorne? So anyways, what impact will all of this craziness have at all?
BERMAN: An NBA superstar, family man, and now author, Dwayne Wade, joins us next.
He's a three-time NBA Champion, 13-time NBA All Star, and Olympic Gold Medalist just to name a few things, not to mention father, friend, husband, and in his newly published memoir titled "Dwayne", former Miami Heat star, Dwayne Wade, takes the reader on a photographic journey that illustrates his rise from inner city kid to NBA superstar. Joining me now is the author of "Dwayne", Dwayne Wade.
This is something. I mean, this is - this is a different kind of book. It is this beautiful - first of all I work my biceps with it. It is a beautiful book with beautiful pictures. What made you want to do it this way?
DWAYNE WADE, NBA STAR AND AUTHOR, "DWAYNE": You know, it's crazy now that you've - you know, when I thought about all the images I had and I thought about my entire career, I was like kind of how do I want to sum this up? I don't want to sum up 16 years, or, you know, how do I want to let my fans and my supporters kind of in on Dwayne?
And so, I have a photographer, Bobby Metelus, who shot over 200 photos, and he's been following me for the last 11 years and just getting a lot of intimate moments, and for me I though it was very important as I move to this next phase of my life, as I leave basketball for people to see the human side of Dwayne.
BERMAN: That's another one of the things I really like about the book. It's not just about basketball. I promise I will ask about basketball for me at the end, but it's about you and your entire life and the many aspects of it. And one of the things you go into is after the Parkland shooting in Florida you're very present there, and part of the reason is that Joaquin Oliver, who was, what, 17?
BERMAN: He chose to be buried in a Dwayne Wade jersey.
BERMAN: What did that mean to you?
WADE: I don't - I didn't know how to process that. I still don't know how to process that, but I did - I did understand at that moment that I had a responsibility. So I was just very thankful to the family for allowing, you know, their son to be buried in my jersey. To me that's the honor goes way beyond life. That shows me that, you know, I'm on the right path.
And so, I just thought as a community leader it was just important to be there, and I didn't have the words, but I did know that, you know, we all needed to be together. And so, I showed up.
BERMAN: And being there and showing up really is everything in that case.
WADE: Yes, yes.
BERMAN: You also write about your family now and your daughter, Zaya, and being there when she was transitioning opening up the world, and you've been public. Everyone's been public about this. Do you have concerns about her privacy?
WADE: I do. You know, that's one of the things about being in this - as a public figure you know is the privacy aspect of it, but you know at the end of the day you have to live your life as well. And you know, I preach that, you know, definitely in my home. My wife and I. So when it comes to Zaya it's just about Zaya feeling acceptance, Zaya feeling love, Zaya feeling seen, heard and appreciated inside of our home. And if she feels that way inside of her home, you know, she feels like she can do anything and she can accomplish anything and she can become anything. And that's what we're trying to do. We're trying to raise a healthy young lady, and she's on the right path.
BERMAN: That's why I said you're not just an NBA All Star or champion, but you're also a dad. And it seems like you're devoting a lot of your energy now -
BERMAN: -- to that aspect.
BERMAN: Doesn't mean I'm not going to ask about basketball, which we get to now. So the Big Three. Being in Miami for that, it does seem in looking through the pictures it's one of those moments in history you knew you were in something -
BERMAN: -- different and special.
BERMAN: What was that like? And when we look at the pictures of that what do you want people to see?
WADE: Well what it was like, it was - it kind of went about like this. It was four years of a lot of lights. The lights were bright. You know, the media hype was right. Our team was - we were (inaudible). You know, we were those guys. But most importantly we were friends who decided that we wanted to play the game of basketball together. We wanted to go out and try to compete and win together.
You know, in this sport that we play called basketball they tell you you have to win championships to be considered great. And so, we all wanted to be considered great. And so, we wanted to win championships.
And along the way I think we've created so many memories for so many families. We've - in the NBA we've changed the dynamics and the culture from an organization heavy league to a player empowerment, you know, league. And so, it was important for us, you know, a young man to make that decision.
BERMAN: You know, I was in Greenwich (ph), Connecticut outside the boys and girls club or Y (ph) or whatever it was.
BERMAN: I was standing outside there as a reporter when LeBron James was making his announcement.
BERMAN: Yes, we were reporting it live. It was like live breaking news on ABC.
BERMAN: Did you really not know what he was going to say during that interview?
WADE: So the story goes July 4 is the time we all decided, hey, we're going to do this. And the period to sign was around July 7, but I didn't hear from LeBron from July 4 until I signed on July 7. I didn't hear from him on July 7.
And so, I'm like, well, you know, maybe it's a tough decision to make