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Primary Results Put Trump's Grip on GOP Into Focus; White House Lawyer to Eastman: Get a Great Criminal Defense Lawyer; Op-Ed: I Thought the 1/6 Hearings Wouldn't Matter, I Was Wrong; What Large Interest Rate Hikes Mean for American Consumers; Police: Sister Convinced Suspect in Kavanaugh Plot to Call 911. Aired 6-6:30a ET
Aired June 15, 2022 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. It is Wednesday, June 15. I'm John Berman with Brianna Keilar.
And developing this morning, the results are in, and Donald Trump exacting a measure of revenge on Republicans who moved to impeach him. Even as the January 6th Committee presents evidence they suggest points to possible crimes by the former president, Trump's political strength is still evident at the polls.
Overnight, South Carolina Republican Congressman Tom Rice was defeated by a Trump-endorsed candidate. Rice was one of ten Republicans in the House who voted to impeach the former president and one of the first to face Republican primary voters.
Another race in South Carolina did not go Trump's way. Congresswoman Nancy Mace, at times a Trump critic, survived a primary challenge.
And in another significant development, Republican Mayra Flores flipped a Democratic House district in South Texas. This is a pretty significant special election victory that builds on Republican gains among Latino voters in the region in the 2020 election.
Joining me now is CNN senior data reporter Harry Enten.
Harry, I think the marquee race last night was in South Carolina, people looking to see what would happen to this Republican who voted to impeach Donald Trump.
HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA CORRESPONDENT: Yes, looking to see what exactly would happen, and here's what happened.
Look, it's not just that Tom Rice, the incumbent, got defeated by Russell Fry. I want you to take a look at the vote percentage that Tom Rice got. Look at this. He got 24.7 percent of the vote. He got less than 25 percent of the vote. This is an incumbent, an incumbent, a sitting member of Congress.
And I think this gives you a good idea of where Republican voters are standing. When you go against Donald Trump, especially on impeachment, oh, my goodness gracious, the best you can do is a quarter? This is nuts. You never see -- very rarely -- I shouldn't say you never see -- you very rarely see an incumbent just being able to pull a quarter of the primary vote. My goodness gracious.
BERMAN: Yes. It's the margin here that's significant. And just to go off the board for a second, Liz Cheney is facing primary voters in Wyoming in August, so this does not necessarily bode well for her.
ENTEN: I would think not. And we'll cover that as the race sort of unfolds out in Wyoming, but I will say that this -- I would say -- is a major warning sign to Cheney in the state of Wyoming, which of course, is a state that is even redder than any -- basically any other state.
BERMAN: All right. Let's look at some of the other races last night. In South Carolina, there was another race that did not exactly go Trump's way.
ENTEN: No, it didn't go exactly Trump's way. Look, Nancy Mace did not vote to impeach Donald Trump. She was critical of him at times. She did vote to certify the election.
But, again, this is not exactly a very strong vote total for a sitting member of Congress. I mean, yes, much better for her than for Tom Rice, but the fact of the matter is, just 53 percent of the vote for a sitting member of Congress.
We should, of course, keep in mind, Trump backed Arrington. But just, again, 53 percent? Better than 25, but it's not exactly awesome.
BERMAN: That margin for -- for an incumbent is -- is very interesting.
All right. I want to go to Texas now, because there was a primary race there. It was an open special election seat there, which may mean something different.
ENTEN: Yes, look, this is more about where we are in the nation, I think the national environment. And this is a district that Joe Biden won by four points, but Hillary Clinton had won it by, I believe it was 21 points, or at least a little bit more than 20.
And then look here. What happened last night? The Republican, 51 percent of the note. Dan Sanchez, the Democrat, 43 percent of the vote. You need to get 50 percent of the vote plus one to avoid a runoff. At this particular point -- I know we don't have the checkmark there -- it looks like Flores is, in fact, going to get over that 50 percent mark.
And this, to me, is an indication of how strong the national environment is for Republicans. It's very, very good. And more than that, we have seen in a lot of the polling some drag among Hispanics -- among Hispanics for Democrats. And this is an indication this is a majority Hispanic district. The fact that a Republican did this well here points to the sign that Democrats have with Hispanics. BERMAN: All right. I want to go back to Trump coattails here,
particularly, again, as the January 6th Committee is suggesting possible crimes committed by the former president.
What you see in Nevada, the secretary of state race, again, the person who will control elections there, the Republican who won the primary is someone who was pushing to overturn election results in Nevada.
ENTEN: Yes, Jim Marchant. Again, you keep saying it's not just about the checkmark; it's about the margin. Easily defeating the competition here. Pull up my pen here. Look at this. Look at this margin here, 38 percent. The nearest competitor, just south of 20 percent. An 18-point margin.
Marchant is -- you know, is on the fringe of the fringe of the fringe when it comes to the 2020 election. And he was easily, easily able to defeat his nearest opponent here.
BERMAN: And then another Trump-supported candidate did win the Republican nomination for Senate, which matters for possible control of the overall Senate coming up.
ENTEN: Yes, and not particularly close, either. Adam Laxalt here, the former attorney general, winning by about 20 percentage points.
And you know, again, you point out this race, we said yesterday, is not just important because of who wins the primary. This is a prime pick-up opportunity for Republicans in the Senate. Cortez Masto, the Democratic incumbent.
If the Republicans are able to pick up this Senate seat, then they are probably going to win the United States Senate. So this is not the last time that we're going to be visiting Adam Laxalt in the state of Nevada.
BERMAN: Harry Enten, thanks for staying up late and getting up early.
ENTEN: My pleasure. Any time with you, my friend.
BERMAN: All right. Brianna.
KEILAR: Liz Cheney teasing the next hearing of the January 6th Committee. The vice chair of the committee releasing part of an interview with former Trump White House lawyer Eric Herschmann, where Herschmann talks about a conversation that he had with right-wing attorney John Eastman, who was trying to help Trump block the 2020 election results.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC HERSCHMANN, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE LAWYER: I said, "I don't want to hear any other 'F'-ing words coming out of your mouth, no matter what, other than 'orderly transition.' Repeat those words to me."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did he say? HERSCHMANN: Eventually he said, "orderly transition."
I said, "Good, John, now I'm going to give you the best free legal advice you're ever getting in your life. Get a great 'F'-ing criminal defense lawyer. You're going to need it."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: All right. Let's bring in Laura Jarrett, attorney at law and the anchor of CNN "EARLY START."
"Get a lawyer. You're going to need it."
LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, so that video clip that you just played from Herschmann really just shows another blunt revelation from an insider who was clearly aware of how badly things had devolved within the White House.
First, a little context here for our viewers. For this new evidence of Trump's White House attorney, Eric Herschmann, telling Trump's outside lawyer, John Eastman, he's going to need a good lawyer.
This conversation is coming the day after January 6. In other words, the riot had already happened. People had died. Congress was left shaken. And yet remarkably, there were those like Eastman advising the former president to press on.
So why does any of this matter? It all goes to what we understand to be the central purpose of Thursday's hearing as the committee tries to show the pressure that Trump put on his vice president, Mike Pence, to go against his constitutional duty and disrupt the counting of electoral votes.
Eastman, you'll remember, was the architect of that ill-fated six-page memo to overturn the 2020 election, part of which outlines a way to give Pence a pretext to stop the vote count, a scheme so bold, so potentially illegal that a federal judge has now twice found some of Eastman's communications with Trump not even protected by attorney/client privilege.
In one opinion, the judge wrote this: "It was more likely than not that Trump's actions amounted to attempts to obstruct an official proceeding," a federal crime.
All this something that apparently Eric Herschmann, at least, saw coming a mile away back in 2020, saying, You're going to need a good lawyer.
BERMAN: Yes. A lawyer in the White House was saying that.
Laura, so one of the things that came out of the last hearing was this allegation or suggestion by the committee of possible financial infractions by the Trump campaign; for raising money for a legal defense fund and not spending the money on legal defense. Now we understand there might be an investigation, though not a federal one, into some of this. JARRETT: Yes. They called it the big rip-off, and the whole idea was
that donors, small donors, thought that they were donating to this fund to actually fund the lawsuits, all of the lawsuits that went nowhere, ultimately. But that's what they thought that the money was going to, when in fact, the money was going nowhere close. And as you said, to the tune of $250 million.
So now the attorney general here in New York is investigating, and she calls the revelations from the January 6th Committee disturbing. She says, "It's my duty to investigate allegations of fraud or potential misconduct in New York."
You might wonder why New York. The jurisdictional hook here is that the donors would be from New York and that she would have the obligation to protect those citizens here in the state. We'll see where it goes.
BERMAN: We'll see where it goes. Laura Jarrett, thank you very much.
KEILAR: As the January 6th Committee begins to publicly unveil the findings of their 11-month-long investigation, some are finding it's delivering much more than they actually expected, including "Washington Post" columnist Max Boot, who says in a new op-ed, "I have -- I admit to having been skeptical ahead of time of the hearings planned by the House Select Committee investigating the events of January 6, 2021. What more is there to be said, I wondered? It was hard to imagine that the committee would have much to add."
And Max Boot is with us now. Turns out Max Boot doesn't like congressional hearings. That's one of the things I learned from this. But you're kind of a fan of this one. Tell us why.
MAX BOOT, COLUMNIST, "WASHINGTON POST": Well, I think that the January 6th Committee is exceeding expectations, because they are not acting like a typical congressional committee. You are not seeing all these members of Congress preening and mugging and bloviating before the cameras.
There is a kind of forensic intensity about what they are doing. It's structured, in fact, like a good TV production, where they're keeping their hearings within about a two-hour block. And they're intently focused on getting at the facts.
Most of the members of the committee, they're not even talking. And the focus is really on the witnesses. And most of the witnesses are from the Trump administration themselves, so they can't be accused of partisan bias, which of course, has been the Republican attack line from the beginning.
But they are essentially indicting Trump before the court of public opinion, using the testimony of his own aides. It's a very effective mechanism, and I think it is breaking through and making people sit up and take notice that this is an important issue.
BERMAN: Which people? I mean, my overall question is to what end?
BOOT: Well, that's a great question. Obviously, with the MAGA folks out there, you're not going to convince them that Donald Trump was anything save the savior of mankind. That's never going to change.
But I think that there are two audiences you can reach. One is Democrats and mobilizing Democrats for turnout by reminding them of the stakes here, which is nothing less than the fate of our democracy.
And there's also, remember, even though we are a very polarized country, there still are independents. There still are people in the middle. And many of these elections are going to be very closely fought, where even, you know, a few thousand votes one way or the other, it could make a difference.
So I think, you know, there's no guarantee that this will have any kind of impact on the political system, but I think the January 6th Committee is doing as much as one could possibly expect to get the facts -- get the -- to get the facts out there, to get the evidence out there.
KEILAR: I know you think Trump hasn't really done himself any favors, that his reaction to Ivanka Trump's testimony last week where he said she wasn't involved in this election counting and the election results, you think it's actually problematic for the officials who -- who were and what their testimony means in this.
BOOT: Well, it's pretty funny to see, you know, President Trump, who has turned against every single official he's ever appointed, basically, because they've all spoken the truth about him. And he's, you know, derided them as losers and said they should never have been there in the first place. I mean, like, he's this close to saying the same thing about his own daughter, who of course, was a White House official, simply because she said that she believed his own attorney general, Bill Barr, who has been a devastating witness against Trump by talking about how all of these claims of election fraud were B.S. And he told Trump that they were B.S.; and Trump would not listen, because Trump was not interested in the evidence.
I think that is very hard evidence for Trump to escape.
Again, it's not going to matter for the hard-core MAGA out there, but for anybody who has a reasonably open mind, I think this is very incriminating evidence in terms of Trump's culpability for this insurrection.
BERMAN: All right. Max Boot, thank you very much.
KEILAR: A crucial morning for the economy. The Federal Reserve is expected to announce an interest rate hike and a pretty big one, it could be the largest in decades. So how is that going to impact you? How is that decision going to impact your bottom line?
BERMAN: And new signs that the housing market is starting to cool. Everything would-be sellers and buyers need to know.
Plus, we are now hearing the 911 call of the man charged with the attempted murder of Justice Brett Kavanaugh made during his plot.
BERMAN: So this morning, the Federal Reserve expected to take its most aggressive step yet in the war on inflation, raising interest rates by as much as three-quarters of a percentage point. That's a lot. That would be the single biggest hike in almost 30 years.
So what does that mean for you and your money? Here now, "EARLY START" anchor and CNN chief business correspondent, Christine Romans.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT/ANCHOR: Good morning. Well, it's inflation that ails the U.S. economy, and the Fed is about to deliver some very strong medicine.
Higher interest rates, the biggest rate increase in decades. It will make it more expensive for families and businesses to borrow money. Higher rates for mortgages, credit cards, car loans and student debt.
Business loans will also cost more.
The effect is already dramatic in mortgages. The 30-year fixed rate mortgage rose to 5.23 percent last week, a huge jump from just under 3 percent in November.
Remember, rock-bottom rates until now fueled a scorching housing market. The hope is higher rates cool that off.
There is another bright spot here: savings accounts. For years, the economy rewarded borrowing money, not saving it. Savings accounts will start to earn again.
However, that could take time. Banks are often slower to pass along interest increases to consumers than they are charging the higher rates to borrowers.
This medicine today. You guys, expect more to come, as well.
BERMAN: All right. Christine Romans, thank you very much. Stand by, please.
KEILAR: And let's turn now to CNN business correspondent Rahel Solomon, who is bringing us the latest on the housing market and how the rising interest rates is affecting that sector -- Rahel.
RAHEL SOLOMON, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Well, guys, after years of a red-hot real-estate market, where sellers could easily command more than their asking price and sometimes in all cash, now some signs of cooling in the housing market.
Real-estate firms Compass and Redfin both announcing they will be making lay-offs. Compass said that it will lay off 450 workers. That's about 10 percent of its workforce, a spokesperson citing clear signals of slowing economic growth.
Redfin also says that it will cut about 470 jobs. That's about 6 percent. The CEO, Glenn Kelman, apologizing to workers in a blog post, saying in part, "With May demand 17 percent below expectations, we don't have enough work for our agents and support staff," adding, "Mortgage rates increased faster than at any point in history. We could be facing years, not months, of fewer home sales."
Let's take a look at the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage. As Christine just mentioned, even just from the start of this year, rates have practically doubled.
In the last week we've also seen a rapid spike, that as the Federal Reserve raises its rates to try to cool demand and try to lower inflation across the economy.
That directly and indirectly impacts the cost of borrowing for consumers. And lower demand is exactly what's happening. Demand for mortgage and refinance applications dropping to a 22-year low recently, according to the Mortgage bankers Association.
So could all of this mean a cooling in home prices, John and Brianna? Well, we're not seeing that yet, and there isn't major concern that we're going to see a crash, but more so a return to normal. Before the cash bids and the red-hot demand -- guys.
KEILAR: All right. Rahel, come on over here, because we have a whole lot more to discuss with you and Christine on all of this.
Christine, I think let's talk a little bit about the mindset.
KEILAR: That people need to have when you're looking at investing and you're looking at savings. Because I wonder if it's time for a little bit of a vibe shift on these things.
ROMANS: I think that's a really great place to start. Because for years, we have rewarded in this economy borrowing money, not saving it; and that's going to change here.
If you have debt, your debt is going to be more expensive. American families who have debt, your debt is going to be more expensive. If you're borrowing for college or for a car, it's going to be more expensive.
So I think the first order of business for American families to do is have that vibe shift and realize that debt is going to be a bigger burden on your household budget. Pay down the debt that you can and be very careful about the debt that you take on.
BERMAN: I'm so glad you used those words, because one of the people -- one of the questions I think people often ask is what does the Fed interest rate hike mean for me? Your debt is getting more expensive.
ROMANS: That's right.
BERMAN: Your credit card debt will cost you more. What you are paying for a mortgage is more today than it would have been two months ago, three months ago.
SOLOMON: Right. I mean, I think if you're in the market for a home right now, you're getting hit on both sides. Because prices for a home are, on average, still about 20 percent higher than they were a year ago. And as we just talked about, rates are increasing.
Guys, we talk so much on this show about the tale of the true consumers. I reached out to a few real estate pros last night just to get their sense of the story with Redfin and Compass.
I want to point out a few comments. So Thad Wong (ph) at At Properties (ph) telling me there are two worlds right now. "The world of a first- time home buyer has become very challenging. Those that were close to being able to buy a home a year and a half ago, saw that home just slip out of reach with a rapid increase in pricing. The other world is the world of the wealthy, and those buyers can still buy what they want." It's exactly what we talk about.
KEILAR: What's the timeline on this adjustment?
SOLOMON: Well, we know that there tends to be a six- to nine-month lag in terms of what the Federal Reserve does and when we see that in the economy in terms of inflation cooling.
I think in terms of rates increasing, well, we're already seeing that, right? I mean, ten years have already sort of outpaced what we're seeing from the Fed today. So we're already seeing borrowing rates for mortgages spike, as Christine and I both, you know, just mentioned.
BERMAN: Christine, if people have money that they want to invest in something, where do you put it right now?
ROMANS: OK, so it's really important to remember you need to have your cash cushion, your emergency rainy day fund. We don't know what's going to happen to the economy. Nobody does. So, you know, that's important all the time, but especially now.
If you have money to deploy, I mean, you need to be looking at how you can play the inflation game, right? Inflation bonds, I-bonds. You can go to TreasuryDirect.gov. And you can get -- you're earning 9 percent -- nine and a half percent interest on -- a lot of people are doing this right now. It's not liquid right away. You've got to be able to put the money away for a little bit. But that's a way to play the inflation game.
Also making sure you're not in these high-growth, very heavily tech- oriented funds. You need to be looking at places -- I mean, there -- a lot of people I talked to are recommending that you buy energy stocks and energy ETFs, because that's where a lot of the money is.
So make sure that you're using your money to play at least part of the other side of that inflation game and to make some money from it.
But I think the most important thing here is inertia sometimes is the best financial plan, right? Just -- by the time you bail out of the stock market, I swear to you, you've made the mistake, you know? You've got to keep investing, especially for young -- young investors.
These are the times where they make their money, right, by buying when the market is low. So stay invested in your 401(k), your retirement accounts, and your 529 college savings plans.
SOLOMON: Impossible to time the market, even for people who do this day in and day out. So certainly no hope for us.
BERMAN: All right. Rahel, Christine, thank you both very much.
ROMANS: You're welcome.
BERMAN: New information about the suspect charged with attempting to murder Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. We have the call he made to 911, turning himself in.
KEILAR: And a chilling post from Russia's former president, who wonders whether Ukraine will even exist in two years.
KEILAR: As lawmakers give final approval to a bill increasing security for Supreme Court justices and their families, we're learning new details about why the man charged with plotting to kill Justice Brett Kavanaugh called 911 on himself.
CNN's Whitney Wild is live in Washington with this.
Whitney, tell us what you've learned.
WHITNEY WILD, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brianna, the police chief for Montgomery County -- that is where Brett Kavanaugh lives -- that police chief's name is Marcus Jones. And he said that, after noticing that -- Roske, after noticing U.S. Marshals posted outside the justice's home, that that suspect, again, Nicholas Roske, turned around to contemplate his next move.
This is when he texted his sister and told her of his intentions, and she convinced him to call 911, which he did.
Roske was arrested early last Wednesday morning, after telling a 911 operator that he had a gun on him and was having suicidal thoughts.
According to an FBI affidavit, Roske told authorities that he had traveled from California to kill a specific Supreme Court justice and that he was upset about the leak of the Supreme Court opinion related to abortion rights. He was also upset about an upcoming gun control case and the school shooting last month in Uvalde, Texas.
Here is a brief clip of that 911 call.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (via phone): Do you have access to any weapons?
NICHOLAS ROSKE, SUSPECT (via phone): Yes, I -- I brought a firearm with me, but it's unloaded and locked in the case.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (via phone): You said you came from California. Do you know someone down here?
ROSKE (via phone): Brett Kavanaugh.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (via phone): You said "Red," like the color?
ROSKE (via phone): Brett.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (via phone): Brett?
ROSKE (via phone): The Supreme Court justice.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (via phone): Again, you're still sitting on the curb?
(END VIDEO CLIP)