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CNN Live Event/Special
Now: House Taking Fourth Speaker Vote As McCarthy's Path Is Unclear. Aired 12:30-1p ET
Aired January 04, 2023 - 12:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Armstrong?
REP. KELLY ARMSTRONG (R-ND): McCarthy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: McCarthy. Arrington?
REP. JODEY ARRINGTON (R-TX): McCarthy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: McCarthy. Auchincloss?
REP. JAKE AUCHINCLOSS (D-MS): Jeffries.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeffries. Babin?
REP. BRIAN BABIN (R-TX): McCarthy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: McCarthy. Auchincloss?
REP. DON BACON (R-NE): Kevin McCarthy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: McCarthy. Baird?
REP. JAMES BAIRD (R-IN): McCarthy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: McCarthy. Balderson?
REP. TROY BALDERSON (R- OH): McCarthy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: McCarthy. Balderson?
REP. BECCA BALINT (D-VT): Jeffries.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeffries. Banks?
REP. JIM BANKS (R-IN): McCarthy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: McCarthy. Barr?
REP. ANDY BARR (R-KY): Kevin McCarthy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: McCarthy. Barragan?
REP. NANETTE DIAZ BARRAGAN (D-CA): Hakeem Jeffries.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeffries. Bean of Florida?
REP. AARON BEAN (R-FL): Kevin McCarthy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: McCarthy. Beatty?
REP. JOYCE BEATTY (D-OH): Hakeem Jeffries.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeffries. Bentz?
REP. CLIFF BENTZ (R-OR): Kevin McCarthy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: McCarthy. Bera?
REP. AMI BERA (D-CA): Hakeem Jeffries.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeffries.
REP. JACK BERGMAN (R-MI): McCarthy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: McCarthy. Beyer?
REP. DONALD BEYER (D-VA): Hakeem Jeffries.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeffries. Bice?
REP. STEPHANIE BICE (R-OK): Kevin McCarthy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: McCarthy. Biggs?
REP. ANDY BIGGS (R-AZ): Donalds.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donalds. Bilirakis?
REP. GUS BILIRAKIS (R-FL): McCarthy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: McCarthy. Bishop of Georgia?
REP. SANFORD BISHOP (R-GA): Jeffries.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeffries. Bishop of North Carolina?
REP. DAN BISHOP (R-NC): Donalds.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donalds. Blumenauer?
REP. EARL BLUMENAUER (D-OR): Jeffries.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeffries. Blunt Rochester?
REP. LISA BLUNT ROCHESTER (D-DE): Hakeem Jeffries.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeffries. Boebert?
REP. LAUREN BOEBERT (R-CO): Byron Donalds.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Donalds. Bonamici? REP. SUZANNE BONAMICI (D-OR): Hakeem Jeffries.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeffries. Bost?
REP. MIKE BOST (R-IL): Kevin McCarthy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: McCarthy. Bowman?
REP. JAMAAL BOWMAN (D-NY): Jeffries.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeffries. Boyle of Pennsylvania?
REP. BRENDAN BOYLE (D-PA): Jeffries.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeffries. Raskin? Donalds. Brown?
REP. SHONTEL BROWN (D-OH): Jeffries.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeffries. Brownley?
REP. JULIA BROWNLEY (D-CA): Hakeem Jeffries.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeffries. Buchanan?
REP. VERN BUCHANAN (R-FL): McCarthy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: McCarthy. Buck?
REP. KEN BUCK (R-CO): McCarthy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: McCarthy. Bucshon?
REP. LARRY BUCSHON (R-IN): Kevin McCarthy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: McCarthy. Budzinski?
REP. NIKKI BUDZINSKI (D-IL): Jeffries.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeffries. Burchett?
REP. TIM BURCHETT (R-TN): McCarthy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: McCarthy. Burgess?
REP. MICHAEL BURGESS (R-TX): Kevin McCarthy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: McCarthy. Burlison?
REP. ERIC BURLISON (R-MO): McCarthy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: McCarthy. Bush?
REP. CORI BUSH (D-MO): Hakeem Jeffries.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeffries. Calvert?
REP. KEN CALVERT (R-CA): McCarthy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: McCarthy. Cammack?
REP. KAT CAMMACK (R-FL): McCarthy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: McCarthy. Caraveo?
REP. YADIRA CARAVEO (D-CO): Jeffries.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeffries. Carbajal?
REP. SALUD CARBAJAL (D-CA): Jeffries.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeffries. Cardenas?
REP. TONY CARDENAS (D-CA): Jeffries.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeffries. Carey?
REP. MIKE CAREY (R-OH): Kevin McCarthy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: McCarthy. Carl?
REP. JERRY CARL (R-AL): Kevin McCarthy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: McCarthy. Carson?
REP. ANDRE CARSON (D-IN): Hakeem Sekou Jeffries.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeffries. Carter of Georgia?
REP. EARL CARTER (R-GA): Kevin McCarthy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: McCarthy. Carter of Louisiana?
REP. TROY CARTER (D-LA): -- Hakeem Jeffries.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeffries. Carter of Texas?
REP. JOHN CARTER (R-TX): Kevin McCarthy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: McCarthy. Cartwright?
REP. MATT CARTWRIGHT (D-PA): Jeffries.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeffries. Casar?
REP. GREG CASAR (D-TX): Hakeem Jeffries.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeffries. Case?
REP. ED CASE (D): Jeffries.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeffries. Casten?
REP. SEAN CASTEN (D-IL): Jeffries. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeffries. Castor of Florida?
REP. KATHY CASTOR (D-FL): Jeffries.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeffries. Castro of Texas?
REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO (D-TX): Jeffries.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeffries. Chavez-DeRemer?
REP. LORI CHAVEZ-DEREMER (R-OR): Kevin McCarthy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: McCarthy. Cherfilus-McCormick?
REP. SHEILA CHERFILUS-MCCORMICK (D-FL): Jeffries.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeffries. Chu?
REP. JUDY CHU (D-CA): Jeffries.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeffries. Cicilline?
REP. DAVID CICILLINE (D-RI): Jeffries.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeffries. Cicsomani?
REP. JUAN CISCOMANI (R-AZ): Kevin McCarthy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: McCarthy. Clark of Massachusetts?
REP. KATHERINE CLARK (D-MA): Hakeem Jeffries.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeffries. Clarke of New York?
REP. YVETTE CLARKE (D-NY): Hakeem Jeffries.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeffries. Cleaver?
REP. EMANUEL CLEAVER (D-MO): Jeffries.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeffries. Cline?
REP. BEN CLINE (R-VA): McCarthy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: McCarthy. Cloud?
REP. MICHAEL CLOUD (R-TX): Byron Donalds.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Donalds. Clyburn?
REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D-SC): Jeffries.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeffries.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: So at this point, Congressman Byron Donalds, Republican of Florida, has received five votes. We do not know how many members of the House are actually on the floor voting right now, which makes it more complicated to declare that Congressman McCarthy, Kevin McCarthy, the Republican leader, has already lost because it has to do with the majority of those present.
But assuming that it's 434 members, as it was for all three votes yesterday, then McCarthy is on point to lose his fourth vote to attempt to be speaker of the House. Dana Bash?
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It sure looks that way. The question now is by how much whether or not this costa ploy by Chip Roy to nominate Donalds will actually raise the number from 20 even higher. Frankly, whether that will matter because the McCarthy people wanted to delay this vote, it was not possible because you need the votes of 218 to do that. So they're just kind of going through the motions right now.
This is one of those times which happens so often in Congress, but not with this kind of white hot spotlight on it where what you're seeing on the floor is important, but what's really more important, it's what may or may not be going on behind the scenes.
TAPPER: Kasie Hunt would it not have been a more credible play by the rebels, Congressman Chip Roy, Republican of Texas, to put forward the name of somebody who actually could supplant Kevin McCarthy and be the next Republican Speaker? I'm thinking somebody like, for instance, his number two, Steve Scalise or his number three, Elise Stefanik, at least as of right now.
Like what, why put forward Congressman Donalds impressive though he may be, is only, I believe, in his second term. He's fairly inexperienced, fairly unknown. He's never -- he's not going to be speaker of the House no matter what happens in this, I mean, maybe in the future someday, but like in 2023, he's not going to be speaker of the House. Would that have not been a potentially more credible play to say, hey, look, we are serious about governance and we just don't want Kevin McCarthy, we're not committed to him?
KASIE HUNT, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: I mean, I think that that's -- I think you're right, Jake, that would have certainly, I think, raised more eyebrows and some more questions about what could happen here. I mean I think this is a pure test of whether they really have managed to generate additional opposition to McCarthy inside the conference. If this number rises above the 20 that we saw yesterday when Byron Donalds actually, you know, flipped his vote, I think will be probably more telling when it's a candidate like this who is, as you say, somebody they've thrown out there.
It's also potentially, you know, a risk for them to put Scalise's name forward at this stage. I mean I think people do view Scalise as a very serious possibility here, as a consensus candidate. But I think those who really don't want McCarthy recognize Donalds post for himself.
TAPPER: Donalds has voted for himself, interesting. OK.
HUNT: So, you know, I think the Scalise play needs to be made at the right moment if they actually do feel like they want to take out McCarthy.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: But I do think they have kind of given away the game here. I mean at this point, they're willing to put anybody's name forward. None of those people are going to get 218. I think that that kind of reveals this for what it is, which is, as Jamie was saying, it's a personality issue. It's the fact that they don't like Kevin McCarthy personally. As far as I'm aware, Congressman Donalds hasn't said anything differently about how he would run the House of Representatives.
He voted for McCarthy twice before he voted against him. And in fact, I think that's -- I mean for some of these, as we've been calling them, rebels, it is, I think, a legitimate question whether they have gotten assurances from anyone about how the House would be run in a way that is different, that is less swampy, that is more appealing to them.
So far, that has not been said. And I think that they're revealing what underlies all of this, which is just personally, McCarthy is unpalatable to them. They want to humiliate him. They want his head on a platter. And how long are they going to continue with this in order to get to that end? I think that's where we are.
JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Byron Donalds just had a chance to tell them to stop. Byron Donalds just had a chance to say enough and vote for Kevin McCarthy and say it's time to get serious. But remember Mike Gallagher again, Kevin McCarthy has rolled out for every one of these votes, a prominent conservative that all of these rebels like and respect to nominate him, hoping it would make a difference. And it has changed nothing. What did Congressman Gallagher say? It's time to get to work. They're not interested in work.
The people voting against Kevin McCarthy here are not interested in the work of government. They are interested in personal ambition and getting Kevin McCarthy scalp, not just to get it, but to send a message to anybody else who gets that gavel that at any moment, we might come for you.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I talked to Byron Donald this morning -- Donalds this morning, we were talking about and what he was going to do with McCarthy after he did vote for him twice and then voted for Jim Jordan. He was open this morning to voting for McCarthy again. He was saying essentially that if McCarthy was viable and he could actually get the path to the speakership, that he would switch his vote for him. And now he's just voted --
BASH: That was before he was an option.
COLLINS: For himself. Yes, yes, I guess I should have asked if he was going to vote for himself today. He did say McCarthy did not reach out to him yesterday after he switched his vote. And Lauren Boebert just said that McCarthy did not reach out to her also, so it does, you know, that puts a lens on what the negotiations looked like last night after they adjourned.
And we should note McCarthy just said they don't want to adjourn anymore. They want to keep voting some of the Republicans on McCarthy's side. So they did think it was a mistake to adjourn as quickly as they did yesterday.
TAPPER: All right, well, Kevin McCarthy looks well on his way to his fourth defeat in the last day or so, running for speaker. Four votes, four times. It looks as though, the House of Representatives will not have a speaker. How much longer can Kevin McCarthy keep his bid to run the new Republican majority going? Is there a better chance of Jenny McCarthy becoming the next speaker? More CNN special coverage ahead.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: And welcome back to CNN's special live coverage. Kevin McCarthy's try and try again strategy suffering another defeat on the House floor. Right now, the House is still voting for speaker. And it looks as if there are enough anti-McCarthy votes to deny him the top job yet again. I want to go to Capitol Hill. CNN's Manu Raju who is standing by. I know CNN spoke to McCarthy before this fourth vote. He seemed to dig in.
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I spoke to him right as he was walking into this vote, and I asked him about the concern within his camp that the opposition could grow. Yesterday, he lost 20 votes, we'll see if more occurred. Yesterday, he seemed to think that perhaps he had peeled away some of those opponents. So I asked him, what happens if you lose more votes here on the fourth ballot. And he said, it doesn't matter, I still have the most votes.
Now, Hakeem Jeffries actually has more votes than him, but among Republicans, he has the most votes. And he added, we can go through every name in the conference. At the end of the day, we'll be able to get there. So he still believes, despite the firm opposition among that block of members who are denying the votes for the speakership, that eventually he'll be able to get there. Now, the problem has been that the negotiations have not produced the result that he has wanted.
The emissaries of his have reached out to some of those key detractors. They have yet to get a full sense of what everything they want in exchange for supporting McCarthy. Some of them just simply will not get there. And Jim Jordan, who is a McCarthy ally, who had been pushed by those dissidents, told me that he went to them and urged them not to nominate him here. He had been nominated twice yesterday, despite his opposition for challenging McCarthy. They listened to him. They decided not to nominate Jordan but by nominating Byron Donalds.
Once again, they are showing that they are not moving anywhere near the McCarthy camp. So the question now is, what happens after this vote? The vote automatically would happen in the fifth ballot unless they seek to move to adjourn. I was told by an Aegis now it's unclear exactly what will happen after this.
So a lot of questions for McCarthy, his future and he indicated to me he's still pushing ahead. He believes he can get there, even though he hasn't been able to now have a full balance here.
COOPER: And is there still talk about possibly adjourning sooner rather than later?
RAJU: That has been a talk that's been going on all day. There have been some discussions about delaying it until tomorrow, having an adjourn -- allowing that those discussions to continue to play out, give more time for those opponents to explicitly say what they want. But the Democrats would have to agree to that because they need 218 votes to adjourn the chamber.
And there are several Republicans who won't vote to adjourn. That means they need support from Democrats. Democrats have no incentive to do that. They want McCarthy on the floor losing ballot after ballot after ballot. Now, there may be a point later today where they do decide to adjourn. At the moment, that has not been their posture. They want McCarthy to go through what has been a pretty painful exercise for him and his allies. But this is a very fluid situation, Anderson, that this could change pretty rapidly. But what is not changing are the votes.
McCarthy looks like he's on the way to losing. It looks like the same group of members here. Twelve votes in counting. He can only afford to lose four on his way to probably losing 20. We'll see if that opposition grows, something they fear may happen.
COOPER: Yes. Manu, we'll check back in with you. Back with the team here in New York. I want to start with our two congressmen, former congressman Mondaire Jones. I think this is your first full day not being member, a Democratic member of Congress. What do you make of what you're seeing so far today?
MONDAIRE JONES (D), FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: Well, I think it's telling there would not be enough support to adjourn this proceeding without having some Democratic support for that. And that is because you've got these 20 plus, let's see how many votes Byron Donalds gets today if that number increases. Really want to continue embarrassing on the House floor, Kevin McCarthy. And that's telling about their strategy, which increasingly seems not to be one of getting any additional concessions from him, but rather, as others have said, already getting his scalp before pivoting to another nominee.
COOPER: Right. I mean Manu saying that they've reached out to some of those who are discontent saying, you know, for a full range of what their demands are, and they still haven't gotten word back.
CHARLIE DENT, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, they're not going to get and they're not going to be able to offer any more concessions. And frankly, these guys just want to take down Kevin McCarthy. But McCarthy's strategy right now is to split this group and try to pick them off one at a time. Now, that's a tall order because they would need to pick off 16 of them because there are 20 defectors. We'll see what the number is today. But 20 defectors, though they needed not take that many back. So they want to isolate them, try to get each one to flip on their own.
Frankly, you have to use pretty heavy handed tactics, I think, to do that at this point. I'm not sure this is one of those -- I don't think you can use carrots right now. I think it's now they're bringing out the sticks and, but we'll see if it's --
COOPER: Which McCarthy tried to do yesterday morning, yelling at folks, and that didn't seem to --
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: It didn't work. I mean, that very much backfired. And we saw people dig in more and coalesce. They've got probably received they get the 20 today. If they get more than the 20, frankly, they just need to kind of do what they're doing over and over again. They whipped him three times, four times now. And they are just going to keep doing it. It's telling that he didn't reach out to Donalds. He may have been able to peel off Donalds. He didn't reach out to Boebert either.
So this idea that they're trying to split people and isolate people, they don't seem to be trying very hard if they didn't go for Donalds or Boebert. The other thing that I think is unhelpful is Bacon has been out saying, well, maybe there's going to be some coalition speaker. We'll get some Democrats. I think if you're that 20, you're going to say, listen, this is just proof that Kevin McCarthy is part of a UNA party, right?
This is why they don't want him in the first place. So, I mean, I think just strategically there isn't much of a strategy. There isn't much of a plan on the McCarthy side, and there is a very, very effective plan among the rebels.
ALYSSA FARAH GRIFFIN, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: And I can't help in watching this but wonder, how long are we going to just frankly feed Kevin McCarthy's vanity? Because that's what this is. It's an exercise in thinking of magically, he's going to get there where the votes are not moving in his favor. What I would say is that we'll calm the rebels. What they're wanting to do is just they've put up three different names now, Jim Jordan, Andy Biggs, now Byron Donalds. They just want to show that all of those options are better than Kevin McCarthy for those 20 votes.
What they should do if they want to move on to governing, but I don't expect that's the case is put up someone like a Steve Scalise, somebody who could credibly get potentially more votes than Kevin McCarthy. I'm not sure there's a sitting Republican who could get 218 votes in this moment, but I think that there may be some who could get closer to it than McCarthy. Stefanik, I would put in that category as well.
DENT: But that speaks to the issue of I don't think they should be negotiating with these 20. You're dealing with some real hardliners. This is the time to lay off. Ordinarily in a functional Congress, you'd say, OK, if I can't deal with these 20 members, I have to go talk to the Democrats to get the votes. Now, will the Democrats provide any votes to Kevin McCarthy?
JONES: No. Doubtful.
DENT: Yes, very doubtful. But the point is, just yesterday, by the way, while this was going on in the Pennsylvania State House, they elected an independent speaker, evenly divided, 19 Republicans voted for the Democrat who became speaker, and he became an independent immediately, the chambers evenly divided.
JONES: That's not going to happen in the House of Representatives.
DENT: I'm just saying it happened in Texas where they elected -- they had bipartisan votes.
JONES: Before Democrats would support Kevin McCarthy enough, let's say 218 Republicans would rally around an alternative nominee.
GRIFFIN: Can I just say though this is not John Boehner's House or Paul Ryan's House, Kevin McCarthy has carved himself out as a uniquely bad historical figure in the way that he handled January 6th in no way tried to be someone who worked across the aisle, somebody who tried to get things done with Democrats. This is -- I'm sorry, I don't think there's any moral high ground for those who are in the only Kevin camp in this. They're being as intractable as those on the rebel side of this. And it's time for somebody who's willing to actually step up and govern. Time for Steve Scalise's name, I would say.
COOPER: Next, more CNN live special coverage chaos in the House of the Republican on Republican clash for speaker leaves Congress paralyzed, more ahead.