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Quest Means Business
House Debates Before Vote To Oust McCarthy; Trump Trial Judge Bans Public Comments About His Staff. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired October 03, 2023 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
REP TOM COLE (R-OK): Ask the majority of members in this chamber did not want, a substantial majority on my side, an overwhelming majority on the
Democrat side, he put his political neck on the line knowing this day was coming to do the right thing, the right thing for the country without a
My friends and I agree on that, whether or not we agree on the speaker, he did the right thing.
He did the right thing. I think for this institution, he showed it could function in a time of crisis. And finally, I think he did the right thing
for our party. He made sure that we can continue to negotiate and achieve some of the very objectives my friend from Virginia laid out and achieved
them in divided government, which calls for some degree of give and take.
So I'm very proud of this speaker. I'm very proud to stand behind him.
Tomorrow morning, whether I win or lose, I'm going to be pretty proud of the people I've fought with and I'm going to be extraordinarily proud of
the person I fought for, the speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy.
[CHEERING AND APPLAUSE]
COLE: With that, I reserve the balance of my time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gentleman from Oklahoma's time is reserved.
Gentleman from Florida.
REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): Mr. Speaker, my friend from Oklahoma says that my colleagues and I who don't support Kevin McCarthy would plunge the House
and the country into chaos.
Chaos is Speaker McCarthy. Chaos is somebody who we cannot trust with their word. The one thing that the White House, House Democrats, and many of us
on the conservative side of the Republican caucus, would argue is that the thing we have in common, Kevin McCarthy said something to all of us at one
point or another that he didn't really mean and never intended to live up to.
I don't think voting against Kevin McCarthy is chaos. I think $33 trillion in debt is chaos. I think that facing a $2.2 trillion annual deficit is
chaos. I think that not passing single subject spending bills is chaos. I think the fact that we have been governing this country since the mid-90s,
by continuing resolution, and omnibus is chaos.
And the way to liberate ourselves from that is a series of reforms to this body that I would hope would outlast Speaker McCarthy's time here, would
outlast my time here, and would outlast either of our majorities; reforms that I have heard some of the most conservative members of this body fight
for and some of the reforms that we've been battling for that I've even heard those in the Democratic Caucus say would be worthy and helpful to the
House, like open amendments, like understanding what the budget is.
We have been out of compliance with budget laws for most of my life, most of many of your lives. And by the way, if we did those things, if we had
single subject bills, if we had an understanding on the top line, if we had open amendments, if we had trust and honesty and understanding, there would
be times when my conservative colleagues and I would lose, might be a few times when we'd win.
There'd be times that we would form partnerships that might otherwise not be really predictable in the American body politic. But the American people
would see us legislating.
These last few days, we've suspended the momentum that we had established the week earlier, where we were bringing bills to the floor, voting on
them, staying late at night working hard. That's what the American people expect. It's something Speaker McCarthy hasn't delivered, and that's why
I've moved to vacate the chair.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gentleman's time is reserved.
Gentleman from Oklahoma, Mr. Cole.
COLE: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I yield two minutes to my very good friend, Mr. Emmer from Minnesota.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gentleman from Minnesota, Mr. Emmer is recognized for two minutes.
REP. TOM EMMER (R-WI): Thank you.
Kevin McCarthy has earned this. Under Speaker McCarthy's leadership, our House Republican majority has actually defied all odds and overperformed
expectations again and again and again.
It all started with a speaker's race. When our speaker, Kevin McCarthy showed the American people how he would never give up.
It carried over into the speaker spearheading a rules package to create the most transparent, member-driven legislative process that I've ever seen
since I've been here.
And since then, Speaker McCarthy's Republican majority has been successful --
RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: A very good afternoon to you. Good evening.
You're watching high drama in Washington. This is the attempt to oust Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
The initial vote on whether to allow this vote to take place was defeated, and now the House debate is underway. It's going to be an hour of debate,
30 minutes for Republicans, 30 minutes for the Democrats.
The problem here is the civil war within the Republican Party. Essentially, it is the Republicans that have to hold to basically get their votes in,
and the Democrats now have the difficult job of deciding whether or not they are going to throw the lifeline to the speaker.
We will listen into the debate a bit more --
EMMER: . Republican majority successes, but make no mistake, we need Kevin McCarthy to remain speaker if we are going to stay focused on our mission
of delivering common sense wins for the American people.
We've shown Americans what success looks like when we come together as a team. Now, it's time for us to stand together stronger than ever so we can
get back to the work our majority was elected to do.
I am proud to support the speaker as we continue championing conservative priorities that will put our country on a better path.
Thank you, Speaker McCarthy.
I yields back.
GAETZ: The opening line of my colleague's speech was that speaker McCarthy always over performs expectations. But after tweeting, bring it, and after
engaging in profane laced tirades at House conference, he just lost a motion to table, so I wouldn't necessarily consider that overperforming
And time and again, I've heard my colleagues say that, well, he deserves it because he went through a tough speaker contest. Let me let everyone know,
he prevailed in that speaker contest because he made an agreement to fulfill certain commitments to make this an open and honest process and he
has failed to meet those commitments and that is why we are here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The gentleman reserves his time.
Gentleman from Oklahoma, Mr. Cole.
COLE: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I yield three minutes to my very good friend, Mr. Jordan of Ohio.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gentleman from Ohio is recognized for three minutes.
REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): I thank the gentleman for yielding.
On January 3rd, we said the 118th Congress is about three things, pass the bills that need passed, do the oversight work that needs to be done, and
stop the inevitable omnibus that comes from the United States Senate right before the holidays.
Kevin McCarthy has been rock solid on all three. We have passed the bills we told the American people we would pass, 87,000 IRS agents, that bill
passed; Parents Bill of Rights, that bill passed; energy legislation, passed; Border Security, Immigration Enforcement legislation -- the
strongest bill ever to pass the Congress passed earlier this year.
We have done what we told them we were going to do. We can't help if the Senate won't take up those good common sense bills, they'll have to answer
to the American people come election day.
Oversight: We have done the oversight that we're supposed to do. Because of our oversight, we know that parents were targeted by the Department of
Because of our Oversight, we know that 51 former Intel officials misled the country weeks before the most important election we have. And because of
our oversight, the Disinformation Governance Board at the Department of Homeland Security is gone.
Because of our oversight, the memo attacking pro-life Catholics has been rescinded. Because of our oversight, unannounced visits to Americans' home
by the Internal Revenue Service has stopped.
That happened under Speaker McCarthy.
And on the third one, on this side, we know there's a big old ugly bill coming at the end of the year, all kinds of spending, all kinds of garbage
in it, we're still in that fight.
Frankly, to Matt's point. We don't know how that one's going to shake out. But we do know this, we do know this, on Saturday, we didn't take the
Senate's bill. They tried to send over and shove it down our throats on -- we didn't take that bill.
And it was a tough position he was in. There were five options on the table last week. Option one was send a long-term CR over there that would have
leveraged the one percent cut, something a bunch of us voted for, both parties. Couldn't get the votes for that.
One second option was to focus on the one issue the country now is completely focused on, the border issue. We couldn't get the votes for that
one either. But when the Senate tried to send us that bill, he said no to it.
I think the speaker has kept his word. I know my colleagues and friends are saying different. I think he has kept his word on those three things that
we talked about on January 3rd, and frankly, that entire week. He has kept his word. I think we should keep him as speaker.
I yield back.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The gentleman from Florida is recognized.
GAETZ: The problem with my friend from Ohio's argument is that many of the bills he referenced as having passed are not law. We are on a fast track to
an omnibus bill, and it is difficult to champion oversight when House Republicans haven't even sent a subpoena to Hunter Biden. So it's hard to
make the argument that oversight is the reason to continue when it sort of looks like failure theater.
I yield such time as he may consume to my colleague from Arizona, Mr. Biggs.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gentleman from Arizona is recognized, how much time?
GAETZ: What he can consume, Mr. Chair.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So much as he may consume.
REP. ANDY BIGGS (R-AZ): Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
This is a serious time. And my mind immediately goes to the young deputy from Cochise County who two nights ago while trying to apprehend a runaway
vehicle smuggling humans across the border, suffered major injuries, transported to Pima County, where he is in a Tucson hospital fighting for
I'm talking about a border that remains wide open, where drugs come through the Tucson sector, the most gotaways known and unknown, of any sector along
Terrorists coming in, people conducting criminal conduct coming in, criminal gang members, human smugglers, sex traffickers. They're coming
across our border to the tune of hundreds of thousands every month.
Now, I appreciate my colleagues and their position, but I would suggest something. I don't think you can just skip to last weekend and say: Oh, my
goodness. A CR came out last weekend on Saturday. I think we need to go back to January.
I'll say this. This body came together on the Republican side and we passed a good border security piece of legislation, HR 2. That's good.
And then last week, we passed the DHS bill and the DoD bills, which had funding for our CBP, ICE, military leaders, military men and women. But why
did we -- why were we successful in doing that? What happened to motivate us to get there?
Well, for one thing, we didn't bother to pass the 12 appropriations bills as required under the Budget Control Impounds Law of 1974, we didn't do it.
And you know how many times that's not been done? Twenty-five years in a row. And you know, how many CRs this body has passed in that same period of
time? A hundred and thirty.
You know what that gets you? A $2 trillion-plus structural deficit, like we had in fiscal year 2023. You know, what that leads you to? A $33 trillion
national debt, which is where we sit today. It leads you to somewhere north of $700 billion in interest payments. And you know why that happened?
Because this body is entrenched in a sub optimal path and refuses to leave it, it refuses to leave that path.
You cannot change if you're unwilling to change. We had every opportunity to change, we were promised change. We were promised we're going to go
ahead, and we were going to get those 12 bills done, and if we got those 12 bills done -- you know why you do 12 bills? Because it allows you to reduce
spending, get rid of wasteful duplicative programs.
It allows you to set an agenda to restore fiscal sanity. We chose to not do it again. We were promised we'd do it.
That's why at the end, some people said, we'll vote present. We'll go ahead, we're going to put our trust in Mr. McCarthy to become the speaker.
It didn't happen. I suspected that would be the case. That was my struggle.
That was my struggle last November and December. I iterated it to this body, our conference anyway.
When we got to the debt ceiling, again, that seemed to spring upon everybody like a surprise. And when that happened, I was in there for some
of those negotiations on where that number would be and I was astonished how that $1.5 trillion number was negotiated.
Unbelievable, unbelievable. But I will tell you this, to his credit, the speaker told us one thing that I believe to be true. He said that's
basically the ante in a poker game he can sit down at the table. And I told my colleagues who supported that, that $1.5 trillion in eight months that
you're willing to raise the debt ceiling, that's the opening marker, and indeed it was. And now, projections are many trillion dollars above that.
Yes, I think it's time to make a change. I am not the only one and that is somber. Thus, it is somber. But what have we failed to accomplish? Why
didn't we get this stuff done?
When we're campaigning, we're talking about an extension of the debt ceiling to January of 2025. We're talking about additional Ukraine funding.
Maybe that's good in your districts, maybe it's not. But that money is not offset. We're not paying for it. We haven't designated how we're going to
pay for that. The same with the disaster package.
The IRS remains 80 percent increased, and I will tell you, I will go -- I could go down the list, but I will just tell you why this happens. When you
don't do your 12 budget bills and you rely ultimately on a CR and I'll get to the calendar in a second, what happens is you cannot leverage this
QUEST: So there's Andy Biggs, the US House Republican who is on the far right in the arguments.
Jim Sciutto is with me in Washington.
Jim, when I listened to what he is saying, it all sounds extremely reasonable. He makes the argument about the 12 bills, the duplicative
spending, but behind that, is this other agenda that I think our viewer does need to be aware of?
JIM SCIUTTO CNN HOST: No question. And listen, we're spending in Washington -- both parties spend a lot, right? I mean, that's the dirty little secret
or a very public secret here, and the Republican argument, particularly from the right is they want to spend less. But for instance, if you've been
listening to the Republican presidential debates, as Nikki Haley said in a recent one, when Trump was president, $8 trillion was added to the deficit.
So in general, both parties spend a lot, but you do have a right wing of this party that has been focused on that issue and was -- it felt betrayed
by McCarthy over the weekend making a deal to keep the government open. Remember, they were willing to shut down the government to get what they
wanted. When he made a deal to keep the government open, including with Democratic votes, that was a step too far for them. And now here, you have
this, this challenge to their own speaker.
And one thing I'll draw your attention to, Richard is that 11 Republicans in the end voted to proceed with this debate and get to that vote. That's
more than what was expected. There were some who expect perhaps it was in single digits that would abandon the current speaker of the House, 11,
that's higher, and when you look at the math, given how slim that Republican majority it is, it doesn't look good right now, when they do
after this hour of debate, get to the vote, the actual vote on whether to remove the speaker.
One final note, Richard, last time you've had even a vote on removing a speaker was the year 1910 in this country.
QUEST: Briefly, thank you, Jim, Jessica Dean, briefly, I want to just hear from you, if I may.
The nature of what we are seeing here today, there will be those who say they're pulling the Band-Aid, or they are blowing up a bomb that was
ticking anyway. This was going to happen at some point.
JESSICA DEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It sure was, and we're watching it play out because if I just can take you back to January, when Richard I was on
with you. I remember there were over -- well over a dozen votes for Kevin McCarthy to become speaker.
And remember, he was having to negotiate with those hardliners and part of that negotiation was allowing just one member to call for his ouster, to
propose a Motion to Vacate, and we're watching that play out right now.
And once that kind of happened, the cake was baked. We knew and it was likely going to be this scenario when they got to the funding fight in
September, when McCarthy had to cut a deal to pass a Democratic Senate, that this would happen and here we are. We're watching it play out.
QUEST: Jessica, the reality also is that the Democrats, in a sense, it's the Democrats that have the speakership in their hands. They can they --
I'll go Jessica first, then you, Jim, but at the end of the day, they chose not to save him, if you like, in the foreplay in the preliminary vote
beforehand. Now, they're going to have to make that decision.
DEAN: Yes. Now they have to make the decision again. And listen, we're also getting reporting from remember, the 11 Republicans that joined Democrats
in not saving him in that preliminary vote. You know, maybe there was one member that said that she now will go back to supporting McCarthy on this
motion to vacate. So those numbers may move slightly.
But Richard, I want to underscore that Democrats have shown absolutely no appetite for saving Kevin McCarthy here. And you know, they had their
meeting earlier today when they all got together, and there was just not any appetite to do it and we don't anticipate that we're going to see that
But yes, you're right, because that margin is so small, that five-vote majority, that five-seat majority that Kevin McCarthy presides over, the
Democrats wield a lot of power in that House.
QUEST: Jim, before we go back to the debate. I am betwixt in between, on the one hand, I'm sort of horrified at watching the world's most single
largest, most important country pulling itself apart in its legislative thing, but on the other hand, I'm thinking this is exactly what the
Founding Fathers intended. This is debate. This is ideas on the table. Which bit of me is right.
SCIUTTO: Well, listen, it is debate, there's no question. It is democracy. Democracy can sometimes be ugly, and this is a particularly ugly piece of
As you note, the founders have a whole host of protections against a tyrannical majority, no question. What's different here, and Jessica
referenced, is that in order to get the speakership, McCarthy caved to the far right of his party, a small minority, frankly, less than, you know,
single digits, right, by saying just one member can vote to vacate the speaker, in effect, to call a vote to remove the speaker.
And it wasn't that way, you needed to get more votes to do so precisely because you didn't want one person to be able to go up to the floor and
say, hey, you know, we might want to kick this guy out. And by the way, the speaker has an enormous power in the Congress, and he also happens to be
second in line to the president after the vice president.
So it does give a very small number of disruptors as it were, the chance to churn things up. The trouble going forward is if those rules stick, whoever
replaces McCarthy faces that same danger, right? And then that gets to a question of stability and will you have a speaker in place who could just
keep this disparate House together? And that's a wide open question going forward.
DEAN: And Richard, if I could just jump in for one second, to underscore to everyone, Kevin McCarthy is getting punished for cutting a bipartisan deal.
DEAN: Which if you go out and cover -- you know, I also cover our 2024 presidential race, I travel a lot around our country, and most people are
just trying to get through the day. They're just trying to get their kids to school, pay their mortgage, et cetera, they want the government to
function, right. And they have strong opinions, but they want the government to function.
And so I think a question too, on a lot of people's minds is, if Kevin McCarthy gets the boot for cutting a bipartisan deal, or dealing too much
with Democrats, what does that say moving forward with this House and also with Congress?
QUEST: We're going to rejoin the debate in Washington, reminding you -- thank you Jessica and Jim, you're going to watch it closely, and we'll get
your interpretations in a second.
I'll remind you of how this goes, you basically get half an hour for Matt Gaetz, or his protagonists, his supporters, and then, the other side,
Speaker McCarthy who gets half an hour.
We're going backwards and forwards. So now let's rejoin the debate in Washington.
REP. TOM MCCLINTOCK (R-CA): . Republican dysfunction, and the public will rightly be repulsed. It'll end when the Democrats are able to enlist a rump
caucus of Republicans to join a coalition to end the impasse.
This House will shift dramatically to the left, and will effectively end Republican House majority that the voters elected in 2022.
And this, in turn, will neutralize the only counterweight in our elected government to the woke left's control of the Senate and the White House at
a time when their policies are destroying our economy and have opened our borders to invasion.
There are turning points in history whose significance is only realized by the events that they unleash. This is one of those times.
We are at the precipice. There are only minutes left to come to our senses and realize the grave danger our country is in at this moment.
Dear God, grant us the wisdom to see it and to save our country from it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gentleman from Florida.
GAETZ: Mr. Speaker, there is nothing sober, wise, or cautious about the path we are on. We are on a path to financial ruin if this House does not
take a different posture, a different procedure, and yield toward different outcomes and a better future. I reserve.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gentleman reserves his time.
Gentleman from Oklahoma, Mr. Cole.
COLE: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I yield one-and-a-half minutes to my very good friend from Florida, Mr. Gimenez.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One-and-a-half minutes. The gentleman from Florida is recognized for one and one-half minutes.
REP. CARLOS GIMENEZ (R-FL): I stand before my colleagues --
QUEST: So, you see where it is going backwards and forwards between the different sides. It's going to go like that for another half hour at least.
They get a half an hour and total of debate and then there will be the vote.
Be assured we will have that vote for you. You're going to see every little last moment of it. Fear not, you will miss nothing. But until then, here's
QUEST: So we are watching and following closely the debate on the House floor. There's Matt Gaetz, who is the one who brought forward the Motion to
Vacate, only needed one person to do it and now they're debating the merits of whether or not Speaker McCarthy should keep his job.
The vote, by our reckoning, is in about 20 minutes -- 29 -- it is about 20 minutes away is the vote.
CNN political commentators, Maria Cardona and Alice Stewart are with me.
You have a podcast together, mikes from left to right.
So let's start with you, Alice. Let's move in that general direction.
When you hear what you're hearing on the floor, does it matter what's said?
We now have people who are voting.
Are minds being changed?
ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, not amongst those there in the House. And it's extremely frustrating because Republicans have fought
so hard to get control in the House and to expand on the majority there.
And then they get control and there's a civil war in the House. It's extremely frustrating.
What we're seeing here in this split screen, we're seeing one rational Republican after another. We saw Westerman, McClintock, we've seen others
that are making the ballot and accurate argument as to why McCarthy should stay as speaker with regard to what he's done, cutting wasteful spending,
working to secure the border and working help hardworking Americans.
Then we have Matt Gaetz. Here is someone who has a personal grievance against the Speaker, rallying the minority of Republicans to engage in his
effort to oust the Speaker. Here's the irony, Richard.
We all know that what happened over the weekend is speaker McCarthy worked across the aisle with Democrats to pass a continuing resolution to keep the
government open for the American people.
STEWART: But Gaetz -- the point is Gaetz went after him for working with the Democrats. He's not going to be able to kick him apart (INAUDIBLE)
QUEST: Right but McCarthy gave Gaetz the weapon with which he's now attacking him, the single vote to vacate.
STEWART: Absolutely. And that was absurd. For him to say, to agree and to appease Matt Gaetz, to say that only one person needs to come forward with
the motion to vacate and I could be fired.
This was a matter of time. We all knew this could happen. Matt Gaetz has been running around Congress, waving this piece of paper and now he's using
it. McCarthy could and should have known this day was going to happen.
QUEST: So Maria, do the Democrats come to the rescue as they did on the CR -- they chose strategically, tactically, optically, whatever you want not
to do it on the first vote.
But do they now save him?
MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No. And it's simple, Richard. Democrats were the adults in the room on Saturday when we all knew the
government needed to continue to maintain itself open. McCarthy finally came to his senses and understood that this would be fatal for him,
regardless if -- and for the party, for the Republican Party, which it still may be, if he let the government close because of his MAGA extremist
rank and file that we are now seeing --
CARDONA: -- are going to be the -- what I think are going to be the end of him now.
QUEST: Right, but Maria, Maria, you can't have it both ways. You can't save the republic on Saturday and then plunge it into chaos on Tuesday.
CARDONA: No, no, Richard. No, see I completely disagree and do not accept your premise that now it's up to the Democrats to save the Republican
Party. Absolutely not. Kevin McCarthy is in this position, you just mentioned this, of his own doing.
Why did you think he had to go into this corrupt bargain with his extremist flank in order to get the Speakership?
He did not have to make this deal that he was going to be able to be, you know, taken care of and dismissed by one vote. That gives way too much
power to one person -- or the very few, which are the ones who were essentially running Kevin McCarthy.
But I also think this is really important for the audience to understand, Richard, to your point. Democrats don't want to save Kevin McCarthy not out
of some cynicism because he's a Republican. No, he has not demonstrated to Democrats, to the country and, frankly, even to Republicans, that he can be
He lied to President Biden. He lied to the Democrats --
CARDONA: -- about the deal that they struck back in May, when they raised the debt ceiling. He has not been able to keep his word.
How can we trust somebody as a partner in governing that has already lied to our faces?
And that frankly, is now trying to impeach President Biden on a sham impeachment, you know, situation, where their own people have said there is
no, absolutely no way they should move forward.
QUEST: I want to get back to Alice, hot mikes from left to right. We're going to go left to -- (INAUDIBLE) the right way.
QUEST: -- the point is, Alice, here we have a Republican Party.
Number one, it can't even control its own civil war in the House.
Number two, it's about to arguably have a presidential candidate who could be a convicted felon. The leading contender for the nomination for the
Republican Party is still Donald Trump. And many respected lawmakers will not speak out against that.
What does that say about the Republican Party?
STEWART: It's really bad for the Republican brand, Richard. And I'm not the only one that says that. Many people say that. And to be quite honest,
Donald Trump has done a lot to damage the brand and people continue to line up behind him.
People continue to support him. And those that aren't familiar with the current polls, he's leading in the presidential race by 40, 50 points in
some of these polls because his base believes that he is out there speaking for them.
It doesn't matter to him if he tears apart the party. People in middle America across this country believe that Donald Trump is fighting for them.
All of these indictments against him, they feel like, are political persecution and his base continues to stand up for him.
Matt Gaetz is no different than Donald Trump. He's willing to blow up the Republican Party in order to get his way and air out his personal
grievance. Matt Gaetz cannot take the premise that 80 percent of something is better than 100 percent of nothing.
He refused to accept what they had to concede in order to continue to support McCarthy and that's a problem. And McCarthy's problem also was that
he was trying to make sure that everyone got their way and everyone got something in order for him to get the Speakership.
And right now, as we've said, it's coming back to haunt him.
QUEST: Stay with us, both left and right. And we'll rejoin the aforementioned Matt Gaetz who is just finishing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I yield two minutes to my very good friend, fellow member of the Appropriations Committee, Mr.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gentleman from California, Mr. Garcia, is recognized for two minutes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Speaker, I want to recalibrate our minds on what is actually happening here today. This proceeding looks important; it feels
consequential. But let's look at what else is happening across America.
Today about 300 Americans will die from fentanyl poisoning. Today about 11,000 people will illegal penetrate our borders. Today's debt is
approaching $34 trillion. Today's mortgage rates just hit a 25-year high --
QUEST: We'll break away from the debate. We are watching it, fret thee not.
We'll take a short break because we want to make sure we're with you in all its extremities that take place.
QUEST: Some breaking news to bring you: the judge in the Donald Trump civil fraud trial has issued some interesting and extraordinary orders after the
former president put out some social media, criticizing the judge's staff.
Now Judge Arthur Engoron says, "Personal attacks of any members of my court staff are unacceptable and inappropriate and I will not tolerate them."
"The order is forbidding all parties from posting emails, speaking publicly about any member of my staff. Failure to abide will result in serious
Brynn Gingras is in New York.
The judge sounds particularly angry about this.
BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, this hit a little too close to home, Richard. Remember, this is a judge who Trump has been attacking him for
quite some time, even before this trial started and many times every chance he could pretty much get before he heads into the courtroom.
But this was against his clerk. This is someone who sits right next to him there in the courtroom for this civil trial.
What was posted on Truth Social by the former president was a picture of his clerk with Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer. Now it's very unclear
exactly what the relationship is between the two of those people prior to even that picture or even beyond that picture.
However, Trump was saying pretty disparaging comments about this clerk, saying that she is his girlfriend, without knowing if that's even true.
And so the judge, I will let you know, that we started this court session about 45 minutes late than it was supposed to after lunch. But the judge,
as soon as he finally did get to the bench, addressed this immediately and essentially said that those comments were disparaging and untrue and they
were personally identifying this member of his staff.
He ordered that the picture be deleted and he said it was but he also acknowledges the fact that it was emailed to millions of people.
As you said it, Richard, personal attacks of any member of my court staff are unacceptable, inappropriate and I will not tolerate them. He also
ordered, looking at the former president as he sat in the courtroom there, that no one speak publicly about anyone on his staff or it could result in
So a pretty serious admonishment to get started for this court, second half of the day by -- by that judge to the former president. Again, it's
important to keep in mind in this context. This is the same judge who will be deciding the fate of Trump and his businesses.
He's the one who is making all these rulings when it comes to this civil fraud trial. So not a good way to start day two for sure.
QUEST: No, Brynn, but you get the feeling that, A, how long have we got of this?
This trial is going to go until December.
B, how long is Donald Trump going to turn up every day?
And C, I mean, what's happened -- for the former president, what's happening in the courtroom is incidental.
I'll take a brief answer from you on that if I may before going back to Capitol Hill.
GINGRAS: Yes, so what's happening in the courtroom is the continuation of testimony when it comes to -- we just heard from the accountant, the former
accountant for Trump and Trump board. The defense still continuing to say that there was no fraud in this case.
So now there's cross-examination. But, yes, the former president, Richard, comes in and out of that courtroom on breaks and makes a statement almost
And it's always having to deal with how it's going in that courtroom for him. He's very intently engaged on this trial. So, yes, we don't know how
long he'll be here, how many days he is going to come.
GINGRAS: But he already said today he does plan to testify. So that will be one day. And it will certainly be interesting to see if he comes back to
see the testimony of his children or even Michael Cohen, his former fixer, who is the reason this whole case got even started to begin with.
QUEST: Right. You're watching events for us there. I'm grateful. Thank you.
Jim Sciutto and Jessica Dean are with me, watching events on Capitol Hill, as well as our political commentators, Maria Cardona and Alice Stewart.
By my reckoning, Jim Sciutto, start with you, by my reckoning -- we've got about three or four minutes before the vote begins.
SCIUTTO: I think you're right. And what's crucial here is that the math does not look good for the Speaker, Kevin McCarthy. He can only lose five
votes and still maintain his speakership.
Right now, six Republicans have said, at least, they are going to vote to remove him. Of course, they could change their minds when they actually
have to flick the switch.
Those six Republicans -- Biggs, Gaetz, Good, Craine, Rosendale and Burchett -- so if those numbers stay as they are, this upcoming vote following this
debate, the actual vote to vacate the Speakership to remove him, the current math does not look good for the sitting House speaker.
QUEST: And I'm just reminding myself here, Jim, because there are different rules for when it's the Speaker's vote itself to appoint a speaker, this
just requires a straightforward majority.
SCIUTTO: That's right, to my knowledge. Jessica Dean up on the Hill would know for certain.
DEAN: He's got it.
You got it, Jim. Yep.
SCIUTTO: We should work together on this.
QUEST: Jessica, the numbers are not looking good. Assuming that he loses, I know it's not an assumption; it's not happened yet.
But assuming -- so that our viewers know where we're going -- what happens then?
DEAN: It's really interesting. So one of my colleagues, in a deep a deep dive into the procedural rules, Richard, and what they discovered is,
again, this is pretty historic, what would be happening.
Apparently, Speaker McCarthy has to give the clerk a secret list, a very confidential list of 10 people and the person at the top of that list will
become the interim speaker. We don't know what's on that confidential list or whose names are on there.
Only speaker McCarthy would know and I'm assuming the person that's at the top of that list but we're not sure. Then they would have to elect a new
speaker. And we know that took a very, very long time in January. It could take a long time now.
A couple of things as we move toward that.
Number one when they do the motion to vacate, which is a fancy way of saying do you want to oust Kevin McCarthy or not, this will be a roll call
vote and it's going to be a voice vote so it's going to look a lot like what we saw in January where the members will be called.
They'll stand up and vote. So we'll see it play out somewhat dramatically and a little bit more slowly than normal, when they are using the
electronic voting. This will be by voice.
The other thing to remember is, without an elected speaker, the House can conduct zero other business. No other business can go on. So it really does
grind things to a halt if they don't have a speaker. And that will be the first order of business.
QUEST: And we're going to go straight to the floor to see what's happening.
REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): This House of Representatives has exceeded all expectations. Then we definitely need higher expectations. And while it's
heartwarming and kind that the Speaker calls people on their birthday and visits their district and congratulates them on their children, please
note, this isn't a critique of the individual.
It's a critique of the job. The job hasn't been done. We got multiple contradictory promises. And it's just quite something -- for those of you
keeping track at home, the last speakers you've heard, opposing my resolution, all voted for the debt deal.
So if you believe that the debt limit deal that speaker McCarthy brought into law was a good thing, maybe you agree with their perspective. I think
the debt limit deal was a terrible deal and that's one of the -- really, it was the original sin of the McCarthy speakership and it's one of the
reasons I seek to vacate the chair now. I reserve.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gentleman time is reserved.
Gentleman from Oklahoma, Mr. Cole.
REP. TOM COLE (R-OK): Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I yield two minutes to my very good friend from the great state of Louisiana, Mr. Graves.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gentleman from Louisiana, Mr. Graves, is recognized for two minutes.
REP. GARRET GRAVES (R-LA): Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
I want to thank you (INAUDIBLE) from Oklahoma for yielding.
Mr. Speaker, we have been here for eight months with one of the tightest majorities in modern history. Yet look at the accomplishments of this
majority, this conservative majority, with the majority of Republicans voting for the strongest border security in my lifetime.
Fighting against this incomprehensible energy policy that's driving up energy costs 40 percent. Utility and gasoline payments, pushing Americans
into energy poverty. We passed legislation to unleash --
GRAVES: -- America's energy resources, pushing back this administration's brainless policies on energy. We passed legislation to pull back, to stop
spending $4.8 trillion. There I want to make note, my friends that are carrying this, motion to vacate opposed.
We passed legislation to streamline regulations permitting environmental laws for the first time in 40 years. Again, my friends here opposed.
We strengthen work requirements for welfare to get people back into the workforce. Again, my friends over here opposed.
I keep pointing, what is going on?
Are we redefining what conservative is?
What's going on in this country today, in this body?
We have freedom works heritage, Chip Roy and Jim Jordan say something is conservative and these folks say it's not and they are right.
And all of a sudden, my phone keeps sending text messages, text messages saying, hey, give me money. Oh, look at that. Oh, look, give me money. I
filed the motion to vacate using official actions, official actions to raise money.
It's disgusting. It's what's disgusting about Washington.
Mr. Speaker, we've launched, as these folks right here, that have brought up this motion to vacate, have refused to pay our military service members,
refused to pay them. I want call out my delegation member, my senator from Louisiana, John Kennedy.
If we're not going to pay our service members, if they are not going to be there to protect us next time someone invades America, call a crackhead.
Let me know how it works out --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yield the gentleman another 30 seconds.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gentleman is recognized for an additional 30 seconds.
GRAVES: Mr. Speaker, I've heard people talk about bad faith here. I've heard them make reference to this January agreement. My friends from
Arizona, Virginia and Florida. Let me be crystal clear. Not a single one of them were in the room.
You know what?
You know what?
The Speaker didn't meet the targets of that January agreement, he exceeded them. The greatest savings in American history. The greatest savings in
GRAVES: Mr. Speaker, this isn't about fundraising. This is about our country. It's is about our children and our grandchildren. We need to stand
behind this --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- yield 30 seconds.
GRAVES: -- we need to stand behind the greatest speaker in modern history that has delivered the best conservative wins for this country.
I yield back.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The gentleman from Florida.
GAETZ: My colleague says we passed the strongest border bills in history. Well, guess what, look at the border right now. We didn't use sufficient
leverage in the debt limit or in any other thing to actually get results on the border.
The border is a disaster, really something I don't think you're going to be campaigning on, that you fixed the border.
Second, you said you streamlined regulations. What the gentleman from Louisiana doesn't tell you is that all of the regulatory reform he was just
bragging about is waivable by the stroke of a pen of someone in the Biden White House.
Do you really think you got anything for that?
It's a total joke. And then finally, the welfare to work that the gentleman from Louisiana said we got, the welfare programs that they said they
streamlined with their welfare to work stuff, they actually are going to grow.
Because while they did work requirements, they blew out those programs with expanded eligibility. I'm real glad you guys didn't put work requirements
on Medicaid. It probably would have resulted in Medicaid expansion.
And when it comes to how those raise money, I take no lecture on asking patriotic Americans to weigh in and contribute to this fight from those who
would grovel and bend knee for the lobbyists and special interests who own our leadership, who have -- oh, boo all you want -- who have hollowed out
this town and have borrowed against the future of our future generations.
I'll be happy to fund my political operation through the work of hardworking Americans, $10 and $20 and $30 at a time and you all keep
showing up at the lobbyists' fundraisers and see how that keeps going for you. I reserve.
QUEST: (INAUDIBLE) --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The chair would admonish --
QUEST: -- it's brutal. It's vicious.
With me is our panel to put this into some context. I want to start -- let's go to you, Alice Stewart.
What Matt Gaetz -- I mean, the gloves are off now in a sense, because they will know you have the parliamentary arithmetic of whether they can win or
not. The well is so poisoned, as we just witnessed.
STEWART: Oh, it is. And look, the bad reality is that we passed a continuing resolution to basically put a Band-aid on keeping the government
open for 1.5 months. The markets are tanking. People are hurting.
And Matt Gaetz, I got one of the fundraising emails as well. He's fundraising off of this and this was all on him. This was about him raising
money. This was about his personal grievance against speaker McCarthy. And it's extremely unfortunate.
Look, we've seen, one after the other of rational conservatives, real conservatives, Republicans stepping up to the microphone there at the well
and outlining articulate reasons why Kevin McCarthy should continue as speaker.
What he's done at the border, fighting against the Biden climate change policies, what he's done to help cut costs across the board. And these are
articulate, real reasons. Yet Matt Gaetz refuses to accept what -- the good McCarthy has done and instead is willing to -- he's the one working with
Democrats to put more control in Democrats' hands.
And it's not Kevin McCarthy. And look, some people can look at this as upheaval. This is bad. This is messy. This is democracy in action. I will
certainly take this over violence at the state capital, at the U.S. Capitol but this is messy democracy in action.
QUEST: Jim, let's take that point to Jim Sciutto, who also, of course, is our national security correspondent.
Jim, it is -- but it's very dangerous times to be having this sort of debate, particularly, for example, with Ukraine. Anybody pro-Russia
watching this will be, thinking got 'em just where we want them.
SCIUTTO: And Ukraine funding has been at the center of this, as you'll remember, Richard. The deal that kept the government open for 45 days,
reached on Saturday, does not include new funding for Ukraine, which is going to run out in a couple of weeks.
There's some discussion that perhaps McCarthy made a side deal to bring that up at a later date. But McCarthy might not survive the next hour. So
it's unclear where that stands.
I had a long conversation with a Republican member of Congress yesterday, who was making some fairly specious arguments, bothsides-ism on the war in
Ukraine, saying both Ukraine and Russia are fighting war, destroying a country.
Even as I reminded him, it was Russia who invaded that country. But those politics have invaded the debate of Ukraine. And just as we watched Matt
Gaetz continuing to speak there, some of the strongest vitriol we're hearing is Republican on Republican, right?
These are Republicans attacking each other here, which shows the division within this party, which already has the slimmest of majorities in the
House. And that's what has brought us to this moment here where the Speaker might, well, less than a year in this job, might lose his job as speaker.
QUEST: And Jessica, as our congressional correspondent, let me come to you. Just talk me through the next half an hour.
DEAN: Well, the next half an hour is going to be quite interesting, Richard. We know they are closing their one hour now and we're being told,
at this moment, it going to proceed immediately to that motion to vacate.
Now again, that could change. It gets a little weird after this because we are in a bit of uncharted territory. But at this point, what we're being
told is that they are going to move forward into that, that it will be a voice vote; that each members' name will be called.
They will stand up and record their vote on what they want to do with Kevin McCarthy as House Speaker. So that's what we can anticipate moving forward.
One more thing I wanted to add, back to Matt Gaetz and Alice's point from earlier. I was speaking to a member of Republican Congress yesterday.
There is so much frustration among a lot of House Republicans, who do support Kevin McCarthy and aren't, you know, are pretty conservative but
they are not part of this kind of hardline group, Matt Gaetz' cohorts, that are going to vote to oust him. They feel quite frustrated.
They feel like they have been able to achieve a lot with McCarthy and that this is just going to derail their agenda, inject chaos and make them look
like they can't govern to the American people. So there is quite a bit of annoyance, frustration, whatever word you want to use, at Matt Gaetz as he
proceeds with all of this.
QUEST: Thank you. We'll continue to watch.
Allow me to just bring to some to you of what is happening -- I thank our panel -- for the drama that's unfolding on the House floor at the moment.
You're hearing the -- or you will be shortly -- the final comments of Matt Gaetz.
Then the voting starts, as Jessica says. It's a voice vote. There's all the drama of that. It will take longer than an electronic vote but you'll see
the tallies on the screen. And then, well, it's uncharted territory.
QUEST: If McCarthy goes, out comes the list; there is an interim and, basically, the House does nothing else. If McCarthy stays, which is
unlikely, if we're talking reality here, not theoretical, then it's some interesting to see.
It looks like the voting is about to begin. I'm Richard Quest. I thank you. Jake Tapper joins us to continue our coverage because the news never stops
across the world at CNN. This is CNN.