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Doctor: Hamlin's Neurological Function Appears "Intact"; Soon: 8th Speaker Vote As McCarthy Path Remains Uncertain. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired January 05, 2023 - 14:00   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Happened before they can come to any long- term conclusion. Let's bring in chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta. So, Sanjay, give us the headlines you heard from your medical point of view.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, those were absolutely the headlines, Jake, two and a half days now roughly since this injury and since his cardiac arrest. That's a substantial amount of improvement that they're describing, not only in terms of his overall status but also as you point out, his neurological status in particular.

Jake, one of the things you worry about when someone has a cardiac arrest is that there simply wasn't enough oxygenated blood getting to the body including the brain. And as a result, you don't really know sometimes until someone actually is woken up from sedation and tested the way that he was being able to communicate.

He can't talk. He was on a breathing tube then -- but was able to communicate, shake his head, you know, no -- nod his head, things like that. And he's also moving his hands and feet because you worry about spinal cord injuries as well. So those things appear to be doing well. I mean, he does not appear to have any deficit there.

Still described as critically ill though, Jake, and I think that's important to remember. I mean, it's only been two and a half days, there may be sort of periods of a little bit of a roller-coaster to him in terms of recovery. It's what you sometimes see what's critically ill patients. They may not be a linear track towards improvement.

I think those are some of the -- some of the big things that I heard. I think this idea that he -- it was a very quick response, they kept saying that, but we got some details on what that means. On the field, he had CPR performed, he had defibrillation performed, a defibrillator was placed to shock and try and restore a normal heart rhythm, and he had a breathing tube placed. That was on the field. And I don't remember the exact number of minutes, Jake, in front of me and how long he was actually there.

But that -- you know, they did a lot. Paramedics came out, team doctors came out. It was a very coordinated plan. And that sort of planning takes place for all games, something that I learned, you hope you never have to use it and they hardly ever do have to use it. But in this case, when they did it appears to have worked pretty well.

TAPPER: All right, Sanjay, thank you so much for that update. Important news from the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

Meanwhile, there is history in the making in Congress. They are about to begin -- proceed to the eighth ballot in this race for a speaker of the House that Kevin McCarthy has managed to lose seven straight times. Let's listen in.


REP. DAN BISHOP, (R-NC): He's not an option today. I believe we've reached an existential crisis in this country. I look across and I see the left has captured virtually every institution. It is time that we reassert ourselves and put America back on the road to recovery.

And the person who I think is most capable and will do the most credible job to lead us back that way is my friend from Florida, the name of Byron Donalds, who am I pleased and proud to nominate as the next Speaker of the House of Representatives.

CHERYL JOHNSON, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES CLERK: The reading clerk will call the roll.


REP. ALMA ADAMS, (D-NC): Jeffries.

ALLI: Jeffries. Aderholt.


ALLI: McCarthy. Aguilar.

AGUILAR: Hakeem Jeffries.

ALLI: Jeffries. Alford.

REP. MARK ALFORD, (R-MO): Kevin McCarthy.

ALLI: McCarthy. Allen.


ALLI: Allen.


ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: All right, so we're in the -- we're in the eighth ballot now starting again, going through this. The Republicans obviously -- McCarthy doesn't want this, David, but here we are going again.

DAVID URBAN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: So, we're still -- you know we're still got a long way to 113. And you know I think we'll be doing this for a while. You know Scott points out correctly. You know Chip Roy is back there. Scott Perry's back there, allegedly, Byron Donalds is back there, and they're negotiating in good faith and trying to get some movement here. And when you see -- you know all of Scott guy want to (INAUDIBLE). Go ahead.

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, it would seems like that's -- it would seem pretty simple at this point, the Roy faction is negotiating with McCarthy. And until they come out of the room and say we have a deal we don't have to deal this vote tally is probably aren't going to change. So, let's just pretend for a moment --

BURNETT: But let's go through, I was just to be clear who you put in that faction. Is Roy?

JENNINGS: Well, he's -- there's been --


JENNINGS: Conjecture that he's got about 10 people.


JENNINGS: And so, there's been 20 anti-McCarthy votes which would leave maybe 10 that are -- that are not supposedly in that faction. So, if -- let's just pretend he gets a deal, and now you're down to 10, so you're still not there, but you're closer. And then the hope would be that the pressure would build on them to change. However, I was texting with a member on the floor and he said, look like I told Kevin McCarthy three weeks ago.

There's a group of these people that will never vote for you. There's nothing you can do o that. And the question is is that more or less than five? And right now, there's more than five saying that.


JENNINGS: But could the pressure peel off one or two?

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: And he locked the door, he put them up -- you get the caucus you lock the door, you try to peel those off to just presence right and the lower the number of those --

BURNETT: To those present --

AXELROD: Yes, who votes present -- yes, get present and you get number. But to David's earlier point, you don't want to make it so -- you don't lower the threshold too much. And it was speaker Jeff -- you know, Hakeem Jeffries then.


AXELROD: So, it's a delicate balance.

BURNETT: But to your point, OK, you lock them in a room. What do you -- what do you have to give that they actually want to get them to even go present, David? That's the question.

AXELROD: Listen, I've been in the -- and when I asked to work in the Senate, right? The Republican Caucus -- well, it used to be at one point, they'd be able to exert incredible influence. And when you get down, you're just looking to flip one or two people. That point. You don't need to flip through a million you know one or two.

BURNETT: Every conversation is taking such you know importance, David, right? You just had a -- Andy Ogles have a conversation with Kevin McCarthy just two minutes ago as this was starting on the floor, so when saying what's that conversation about?


BURNETT: Or was it of course has been among the 20 who have been voting against McCarthy? So, every one of these conversations we've had today are even still occurring frankly, at this point matters.

AXELROD: Yes, it matters. I just don't know exactly what these conversations are all about because so much has been given away already. You know, if -- the question is just this one side of the other decide the cost of going on like this is too much. And I've been of the mind that, particularly those 20, are not the kind of people who say it's too much because they're basically not governing members.

URBAN: But your brand -- when your brand's chaos, you don't care.

BURNETT: So, Matt Gaetz just said, right, just told CNN right and this is starting, this ends one of two ways, either Kevin McCarthy withdraws in the race or we construct a straight jacket that he is unable to evade. I mean, that's --

URBAN: Probably a legislator but --

BURNETT: Let's see what -- let's just listen here, Lauren Boebert.


ALLI: Hern.


JENNINGS: She made a little speech, it sounds like. David, you just asked --

BURNETT: Go ahead.

JENNINGS: What are they giving away in the -- you know in some of what's going on, I suspect and these meetings is more than just negotiating technical details of a document. It's also building some trust. Because if you're negotiating something like this, it's not just something you're going to do today.

You have to -- if you were McCarthy, you'd have to follow through on that over the next couple of years. And so there has to be a trust level with the negotiators that you'll -- that you'll actually follow through on what you said. So, I think some of it is that team building, and trust building, in addition to the technical details are where --

AXELROD: The problem, of course, is -- the problem, of course, is as the trust goes up with those 20, the trust may dissipate among some others who are unhappy about what he's giving away. So, it's really -- it's really a very, very difficult process. And I just don't know. I mean, you -- this is your guys' world. I'm just living in it.

JENNINGS: Well, in --

BURNETT: We just heard another vote for Kevin Hern. And Lauren Boebert just voted for Kevin Hern. What is that? That's a new -- that's new.


JENNINGS: I don't know.

BURNETT: You know, I know it's like look at -- but I mean, this -- I understand this is where in. we had you know Getz switched to Trump and now you have Lauren Boebert, and I think I heard another for this Kevin Hern from Oklahoma.


AXELROD: I mean, I just -- what -- we've seen seven different people give nominating speeches. We've seen all these different candidates. It's like everybody gets a turn, but it's not clear what's serious, you know.

JENNINGS: Well, these are just protest votes.


JENNINGS: Whether it's Hern or Donalds or Donald Trump or whoever, it's just a placeholder protest.



KAREN FINNEY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Wait a minute. At some point, the math is the math.


FINNEY: Whether it's Hern, whether it's Donalds, whether it's Trump whether they want to vote for David Axelrod.

AXELROD: And the question you've been -- if nominated, I will serve.

URBAN: And asked what work could have been given --


URBAN: It may not be what more can be given but what granularity that negotiations to taking. All right. To Scott's point, you know, whether you reducing the writing, whether you talking about the debt ceiling, whether you talking about appropriations bills, how far in the weeds are you getting right? How many people are going to be on the probe bills, who serves on what subcommittee, who's on what committees, right?


URBAN: And that's very greener. Who's going to be in the Labor --


URBAN: Who could be in the Labor HHS subcommittee, right?

AXELROD: The fiscal issues are going to be paramount to him and his negotiations. That's what --


URBAN: And so that may take some time -- that may take time as you have to find, OK, we're willing to stick this -- you know there are -- their cardinals are at the midpoint, right, these -- the appropriations chairs haven't been -- haven't been -- haven't been given out yet, so the subcommittees are tough to do so it's hard.

FINNEY: Yes, go ahead, I'm sorry.

JENNINGS: You know, that Gaetz tweet that you read, the sends one of two ways. You know, it's interesting. I would think that if Chip Roy and his group come out with some good faith agreement, and you -- and you go from 201 to 211, 212, 213, and you are that close. Boy, I tell you to have that attitude, when you've got everybody with five people in your conference or five or six people that want to do something, that is a -- that is quite a -- that is quite a thing. And I would think there could be some pressure brought to bear externally, but I don't know.

URBAN: Matt Gaetz, he's not changing -- he's not changing, you know. The question was asked, handy head on Lauren Boebert --

BURNETT: Let me just actually -- because Manu just had a chance to speak to McCarthy. Manu, what did he say to you?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: He's defined. He's saying that he's not going anywhere. I asked him, why is it so hard to get fewer than 20 opponents to vote against you? Why can't you peel any of these 20 opponents toward you? And he said, well, it's not -- it's because we don't have a deal. He said that once we have a deal, that's when the votes will change. And I said, well, you know, how long are you willing to keep this going on for? He said until I win.

So, he is not going anywhere. He was just making it clear that that is his posture. That's been his posture from the very beginning. He is under the impression that these talks that are ongoing behind the scenes right now will eventually bear some fruit. And so far, have not, while some -- there have been some positive notes been sounded yesterday. Today, things have not gone in his direction. Some have been pretty upset about the way things have gone.

But the talks are still ongoing. There is a meeting that's happening throughout the course of these votes on the first floor of the Capitol, in one of his top deputies' office Tom Emmer. These members including Scott Perry, Byron Donalds, and Chip Roy, Dan Bishop, people who voted against McCarthy continue to have these meetings.

That is getting McCarthy some hope that he may eventually get there but that is why he says that look, the votes are not going to change. I think he expects 20 votes to go against him again here on the eighth ballot, but he said until we get a deal, that's when the votes will change. But again, he's saying -- he's saying he's not going to drop out. He says this is -- he says he's going to win here. And he says that's when things will change, Erin.

BURNETT: All right, let's --

URBAN: Well, we can all agree he says we're not -- he's not going anywhere. I think we can all agree on that. We just don't know what it means.

BURNETT: Right. All right. So, Kevin Hern, you know, you've heard Lauren Kolbert vote for Kevin Hern, and then I've heard the name again. Melanie Zanona, he is obviously a Republican from Oklahoma. Who -- tell us about him. What's this about?

MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: So, he is the chairman of the Republican Study Committee. That is the largest conservative caucus in Congress. There's a lot of Freedom Caucus members who were also members of the Republican Study Committee.

And this is a name we actually, me and my colleague, Annie Grayer had been hearing for the past few days, the hardliners have been batting the same round as somebody -- as someone else, they might nominate. There is talk yesterday of doing it. We finally saw it today that they're nominating him.

But what I want to point out again is he doesn't have 218 votes either. He's backing McCarthy. There are no signs that he's interested in this job either. So, this is just another sign. But the hardliners don't really have a plan B. They don't have a strategy. They don't have a viable alternative at this moment. But you're starting to see as we both drag on, other names got brought up. You heard Donald Trump's name get mentioned by Matt Gaetz.

To be honest, I'm surprised it took that long for him to get mentioned. But these are not serious nominations. These are just additional ways to protest and to show that Kevin McCarthy doesn't have the votes.

BURNETT: And, David, here we are as we're back here in the --hearing that Kevin Hern got a vote. We are now at five votes against McCarthy in this and it just turned to six.


BURNETT: So, there you have it for this eighth round which we can see where it's going.

AXELROD: Yes. Well, it is -- it is what is described and we're locked in this sort of Groundhog Day scenario until something changes it. And I think part of what's going on here is going through the exercise of these votes is creating time for these guys to sit behind closed doors and try and hammer this out while people vote again and again and again. And we'll see if it produces something.

BURNETT: So, with all the time you've spent on Capitol Hill, can we just talk about that, right? Right now, we're watching this ugly sausage being made.


BURNETT: But everyone watching saying OK, you have people going on the floor to vote and you have their top deputies and sometimes them behind closed doors and you might say to yourself, well, how can you be having serious negotiations that actually move the needle on this when you're running back and forth into this room to vote? So, how does this work?

JENNINGS: Well, it sounds like they're having direct conversations among the members like this is a principal level of conversations. They're hammering out ideas. And it sounds like that the Roy group has appointed him and Perry and maybe one or two others to speak on their behalf.



URBAN: But it feels that way. And so that's a good thing. There are a bunch of go-betweens here. This is principle to principle, so that in theory could expedite this. But then, when you -- and you know this, when principles make an agreement, it has to be reduced to writing, right?



URBAN: Then you get -- like, we both want the same thing, and then it gets reduced reading Well, that's not what I wanted. And then you're back -- you're back at the beginning --


JENNINGS: (INAUDIBLE) of the conversations I was talking about earlier. I mean, you could shake hands on something, you could write down on a piece of paper, but that doesn't make it true next week if you don't follow through on your word.

AXELROD: And we should point out what their -- they have leverage and what they're negotiating for us is much power as they can get, seats on the Rules Committees, seats --

URBAN: Right.

AXELROD: You know, Appropriations -- senior appropriations positions. And so, as I said earlier, whatever happens here, it feels as if this group of 20 has played their cards pretty well right because they are going to have a much more important role in the -- in the House.

BURNETT: Well, here we are as we now take another brief pause. As we're watching the House floor, we are now on vote eight and it appears once again that McCarthy has failed to secure the speakership, and already has amassed more than 8 -- six votes against. So, we're going to take a break right now as ballot number eight is continuing to track, a loss for Kevin McCarthy, no Speaker for the House of Representatives. Our special coverage will return in just a moment.


TAPPER: And, right now, the House of Representatives is voting again on an eighth ballot to choose a House speaker and for an eighth time, this will end with Kevin McCarthy, the Republican House Leader losing. The never-Kevin hardliners have been holding the line eight times straight.

The fear now among top McCarthy lieutenants is that the ne-Kevin raucous which is the people who are not never Kevin but who have been voting against -- but -- I'm sorry, the better with him but unenthusiastically so. The ne-Kevin caucus will start with effect.

We are -- we are joined by an ally of Kevin McCarthy. Not a ne-Kevin, a pro-Kevin supporter. Former Republican Congress Dan -- Rodney Davis of Illinois, whose birthday it is today. You're close to McCarthy. What effect are these negotiations having on the 201 Republicans that continue to vote for McCarthy and on the core group that is enthusiastically for him?

RODNEY DAVIS, FORMER REPUBLICAN REPRESENTATIVE, ILLINOIS: The core group of those who are enthusiastic that Kevin has actually grown. That's why there's no one that can get to 218 right now. You're seeing in the 20 right now, Jake, they're scrambling, they're talking about negotiating. Maybe Ken Buck was right. Maybe they do have the plan to stick together.

But I would hope that a few of them are negotiating in good faith because they're getting a lot of things that they asked for. But in the end -- in the end, the pro-Kevin forces, that could keep this going for days and days. If the 20 continue to not accept the deal, they're growing in numbers, they're growing in strength.

And as I talked to one of my good friends who's in the Democratic leadership team today, and they said, the Dems are enjoying this. So, this isn't going to end soon unless we see a break.

TAPPER: How long can Democrats enjoy this spectacle? I hate to point it out, but it historically, there have been 15 of these that have gone to multiple ballots, although the last one was 100 years ago. One of them -- we're on the eighth vote right now. One of them went to 133 ballots. Now, that was quite some time ago in the -- in the mid-1800s, but how long are Democrats going to be putting out popcorn emojis and laughing about this?

DAVIS: Well, I would have liked to have seen the Twitter feeds 100 years ago. But this is real-time. It should -- the American people should begin to put pressure on their member of Congress to say let's get together, let's get -- let's get together and govern.

But to answer your question now, Jake, there's going to be some real concerns on both sides as we get into the weekend. There were things that the freshman members of Congress had planned and conferences that are being put on outside of Washington, DC that are going to be impacted. Their families are here.

So, with Democrats start to begin to feel OK, this isn't enough, that's when you start to look at what's happening on the floor during what would be the 12 13, 14th round of the vote. You know you look is it Don Bacon carrying a pocket card with the pen and talking to Democrats?

Is a Brian Fitzpatrick and that is the Dave Joyce doing that, or moderate Democrats that are coming over and talking to Republicans? Most of the conversations I think, if this drags on through the weekend, that your viewers have got to take a look at and begin to consider the bipartisan impact this may be having on both sides.

TAPPER: All right, Congressman, we're going to let you go celebrate your birthday. Thank you so much for being with us today. And let's chat about this. Dana Bash, let me ask you something. We are seeing that basically the numbers are staying solid.

Basically, it's 201 for Kevin McCarthy, Congressman Jeffries, the Democratic leader, is about to have this eighth straight plurality victory, although it's meaningless. And although except for the fact that indicates how much Democrats are sticking together on this.

And again, we're going to have 20 people voting against Kevin McCarthy. Some of these votes now were have been shifting from Congressman Byron Donalds of Florida. We have two now going for Congressman Kevin Hern who was the newly elected chairman of the Republican Study Group, which is a group of conservatives in Congress. Matt Gaetz just voted for Donald Trump again.

At what point can any sense of shame as you heard Rodney Davis talking about being brought to bear? Do any of these 20 have any feedback loop in which they can be set -- they can be told and hear from anybody that might actually change their mind, OK, enough already, this is stupid, this is embarrassing, this is making your party look ridiculous, which is what other members of Congress other Republicans are saying?


DANA BASH, CNN ANCHOR: They don't care.


BASH: They want this to look ridiculous. They want the chaos. They thrive on the chaos. And that word, shame, I kind of love that word because a couple of years ago, shame left Washington and I don't think it's ever coming back. Because the notion of shame is what kept so many people in line, what kept so much of the -- at least on the facade, the Civility intact, and that's gone. And Donald Trump took shame and throw them in the garbage. And he made it OK to not feel bad.

And the irony is that at this very moment in time, he is one of those calling those 20, saying come on, go with Kevin McCarthy now. I know you're reporting say that's -- a set of sort of tepid lobbying campaign, but at least he's doing it.

TAPPER: Is he still calling?

BASH: He hasn't called anyone as of today. The last time that I had heard that he had spoken with people was after the first day of failed voting on Tuesday that he had spoken with some of these 19 I believe.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN HOST: but he got the back of the hand rhetorically from Lauren Boebert on the floor yesterday.


BASH: I'm not going to do that again.

COLLINS: Yes, I mean --

TAPPER: Although she voted for him in the seventh round.

COLLINS: Which was I don't think --

BASH: That was not intentional.

COLLINS: Unintentional --

BASH: Yes.

COLLINS: Because you heard Zinke saying earlier today, who worked for Trump uses interior secretary, the two things that Trump hates the most are to be ignored and to be called out. His call to vote for McCarthy yesterday was ignored. And Lauren Boebert called them out on the House floor and saying he should -- she wasn't not only not voting for him, McCarthy, he should not tell people to vote for Kevin McCarthy.

Trump has been sitting back more and I think watching all of this. He knows that his calls are going unheated. It's not like he's calling you these 20 specifically, it's like, you must vote for Kevin McCarthy. He understands what's happening here, and I think that's why he's sitting back more than McCarthy and then would like for him too.

KASIE HUNT, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Yes, I mean, the reality is that the person that should be most afraid of Donald Trump right now, or is most afraid of Donald Trump, right now is Kevin McCarthy.


HUNT: Because he actually I think does care a lot about making sure that Trump does not do more to seem to break away from him that they'll take tepid for right now over potentially the alternative. And you know, the shame word really -- is really interesting because Trump's administration, Trump's Washington was a shameless place.

And the reality is these people may not be listening to Trump, but they're acting like he acted, right? They are essentially saying, this is about me. This is about my personal brand, my notoriety. I mean, I think anyone that has covered or worked with Matt Gaetz would not hesitate to describe it that way, and they are doing it at the expense of the institution that they are, in theory, a member of whether that institution is the Republican Party or even now the House of Representatives itself.

TAPPER: And, John, one of the things that you hear from a lot of the McCarthy supporters, who again might not even be super enthusiastic about him but just want to get down to work is that the rules changes that these rebels have already exacted from McCarthy or whoever ends up to being speaker because it's not like the next person is going to go back on that are going to make legislating close to impossible.

JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: And so, whoever wins the speakership will that person be Speaker for a week, a month, by August when you have to do the debt ceiling, and that means you have to be responsible -- and responsible, I think it's the word here, respecting the system, the organizations and government. Dana, I think, by nature (INAUDIBLE) as you can, they don't care. They don't care.

Especially when you have a small majority, you have to accept your responsibility as a member of the team. Pick your -- pick your business, pick your sport. Imagine if a baseball team goes on the field and after two pitches, the right fielder decides I want to pitch. It can't work that way. Someone has to be in charge. Someone has to be in charge of any organization. That doesn't mean you always agree with your boss, you don't always agree with your manager. You don't always agree with your coach.

Imagine those two doctors we just listened to who treated and all the people in the field who cared for that Buffalo Bills player, if somebody said no -- or no, I want to do the other job, it doesn't work that way. When you're on a team, you have to yes. Yes, you go to the boss's office and you say I want this, I want this, I want this, but eventually, somebody has to make a decision. And you have to accept the responsibility of the government.

They don't want that responsibility. They don't care about that responsibility. They don't respect that responsibility.


KING: So, 58 days after the American people, everybody thought every historical marker said Republicans would win 20 seats, maybe 30, maybe more, they won 10. They lost the seat in the Senate. Why? Because the American people said we don't want crazy. It will take a center right, but we won't take center crazy. What are we getting in the House right now? Crazy.


JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: And we don't see any song that it's changing.