Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Live Event/Special

Any Minute: House Gavels In For Fourth Day With No Speaker; Now: House Back After McCarthy Rejected 11 Times As Speaker; Sources: McCarthy Tells GOP No Deal Yet, But In "Good Position"; Soon: 12th Speaker Vote As McCarthy's Path Remains Uncertain; Now: McCarthy Nominated For 12th Speaker Ballot; Now: Jeffries Nominated For 12th Speaker Ballot. Aired 12-12:30p ET

Aired January 06, 2023 - 12:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR, ANDERSON COOPER 360: In just a second, the House gavels in and stairs down the same problem for a fourth straight day to adjourn or to vote. Again, Kevin McCarthy is no good, very bad historically awful week as feature 11 straight defeats in the floor, 11 ballots that have ended without the election of a speaker of the United States House of Representatives. I'm Anderson Cooper in New York. You're watching live CNN special coverage.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR & CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Not just CNN special coverage, you're watching history. I'm Jake Tapper in D.C. Kevin McCarthy is living on a prayer that today is finally the day a deal will come together. We're going to shock you, McCarthy promised reporters last night. So far, shockingly no deal. Instead, only assurances of some progress. We were told that yesterday of course, and the day before and the day before.

The math today looks nearly identical to the math on Tuesday. Ballot one, ballot two, 19 rebels. Ballot three add another rebel to the resistance. Ballots 4, 5, 6, a present vote on top of the 20 hardliners. Ballot 7, 8, 9, the math remains the same. More evidence the opposition is dug in. Ballots 10 and 11, no show of momentum towards McCarthy. Something his allies said he needed to demonstrate then and still needs to demonstrate soon.

This farce in the House is also clashing with a deadly and sobering anniversary, lawmakers crowded the Capitol steps earlier today to mark two years since the mob embolden and excited by Donald Trump's many lies about the election, tried to prevent the United States government from continuing.

They tried to topple the incoming Biden administration, prevented from happening. President Biden also staging a split screen moment of his own. Later today he will award medals to defenders of the Capitol who held the line for democracy and for the Capitol on January 6, 2021.

Let's go right to the Manu Raju on Capitol Hill. Manu, I know you're looking - I know you're looking for members of Congress to get some information. Let's watch, let's watch. MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. He's standing right over here. We'll try to grab him as he walks by in from my camera position. He's a few steps away from me.

TAPPER: Go ahead. The camera is moving over. Go and get in there, buddy. Get in there.

RAJU: Unfortunately, the court doesn't allow that, Jake. Let me see if I can get over there a little closer and unclip from here. So, you'll lose some audio. We'll have to wait here, Jake, because it's really not - are not able to get any closer here. But the bottom line is that Kevin McCarthy at the moment does not have the votes to become elected speaker.

We do expect the fourth ballot, another ballot vote likely going to happen. Mr. Leader, do you have the votes now? Do you have the votes?

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY, REPUBLICAN LEADER: I think what you're going to find is the votes are going to improve right here. We have a couple people who are out for personal reasons, but you're going to see.

RAJU: But you don't have a deal yet, right? So, Jake, I've lost my audio. So, I'm just going to toss right back to you. But if you heard what he said is that I think what you're going to see here is some progress. He said we're going to have some progress. Couple more votes, he expects as well. A couple more votes. Couple people are missing. So, but he expects progress here on the floor, but not 218 votes. That's for certain, yes, Jake?

TAPPER: All right. No, no, you can't hear me better. Thank you anyway. Lauren Fox joins us now. Lauren, run us through what Kevin McCarthy is thinking about, giving away even further to these hardliners, if there's anything left to give?

LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I mean, he made it clear on this call just a little over an hour ago that there wasn't an agreement yet with those hardliners, Jake, and that's significant. But we do know what he's already given up. And it is so significant in terms of the power the speaker would have in the future.

One of those things, of course, lowering that threshold of how many votes it takes to call for a vote to House the speaker to just a single member. Other major concessions is more equal representation on all of the committees across Congress. And that isn't just the powerful rules committee that dictates the rules for how a bill goes to the floor. How many amendments can happen, and which bills actually get a vote in the House of Representatives.

But also, the committees of budget, the committees of appropriations, committees that are key to doing basic government functioning, like making sure the government is funded, Jake. These are huge concessions. He's also promised members votes on a couple of pieces of legislation, a specific border policy plan as well as legislation that would limit how many terms in Congress members can serve. That is a huge concession Jake, and certainly something that could weaken the future speaker if he can finally clinch the votes. TAPPER: All right. Lauren Fox, thanks so much. Let's talk about this all with my august panel continuing strong on day four of this - wild crumpets makers, you, while you look strong anyway. So, he just promised progress. That could be one vote, you know, he needs 17.


DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I'm sorry. Before we do that, can I just speak for all people who have roamed those hallways to say how masterful so that choreography was on the fly. It was the Manu walking backwards. The only needed was heals, without the IV and then Ted listening to the rest. So that was amazing. Great reporting.

But yes, I mean, what he said was that they're making progress. He did talk about, Kevin McCarthy talked about the wrench, not that they needed more wrenches in this. But one of them is that some members are there because they have family and other obligations.


BASH: So that changes the whole voting dynamics. So, one of the questions right now is, whether or not they're going to even go through the motions that we've seen in the last several days and have the vote after vote after vote, or whether they're going to do something that shows a little bit of a change, and then vote to adjourn. Democrats would have to agree to that.

TAPPER: Yes. It seems as though, just based on what I've heard in terms of Ken Buck, having a medical situation---

BASH: So, he says he is coming back.

TAPPER: he says he's coming back. But other members Kevin Hern, mother passed away. Her funeral is this weekend. There's another member of Congress whose wife just had a baby and other one whose wife is sick. There are a number of members of Congress who are not going to be there beyond today, and some won't even be there today, which would bring McCarthy's total even further in the wrong direction.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, and also the question of amid all of this for the members who are still there is how long this can last for them. And whether or not, they're going to be patient with Kevin McCarthy. I spoke to one of them this morning, he said he's still fully committed to voting for Kevin McCarthy.

Some of the questions they have, though, are what is he giving away in these closed door negotiations, because they're not all in there, the people who are voting for him. So, a few of his allies, a lot of the hardliners as well.

And one of the things that they were concerned was that they had heard he was giving away two seats on the Rules Committee to House Freedom Caucus members. He got to pick the House Freedom Caucus members was the agreement the last time they had heard what was coming out of these rooms, but it speaks to what kind of tours trading is going on behind closed doors.

They're not fully aware of what all the concessions are. And so, the question, I think, in the end is, do the ends justify the means. And David Valadao, who I spoke with today, you know, he's been here since when Boehner fell. He's been here for a lot of this. He was saying that he believes Kevin McCarthy still despite these concessions can be an effective speaker, maybe not a powerful one, like someone Pelosi.

KASIE HUNT, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, and that's the question at hand, right? And I think that's the real test for McCarthy today. I mean, you said he is living on a prayer. I feel like, I'm really having to resist asking if he's halfway there. But you know, I think the idea here, it seems to be to show a little bit of movement with some of these hardliners.

And there's some real questions about what the hardliners have been up to for the last 24 hours and who's been involved in those conversations? If he can't, then I think the question becomes what happens over the weekend to those people who are concerned about the concessions that he's making.

Who are fed up with the fact that this process has dragged on for as long as it has, it's made Republicans look the way it has, it's made our government look the way it has to our allies and adversaries around the world. And if that starts to shift under Kevin McCarthy, I think you're going to start to see more questions about whether it has to be him.

JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: It also speaks to is this the dysfunction to come every single day down the road because there's always going to be this balancing act. I just want to talk about this making progress. GOP sources are still saying to me to paraphrase a line from James Carville, it's about the math stupid. And so, even if he shows some progress, he gets 10, 11, 12. We cannot say this enough and no one seems to know by the way, how many solid never Kevin, but he can only lose four.

TAPPER: The clerk is just gaveled in. Let's take a listen to see if there's anything we need to pay attention to here.

CHERYL JOHNSON, HOUSE CLERK: The chair counts 275 members present, a quorum is present. The question recurs upon the election of a speaker. The tellers will please come forward and take their seats.

TAPPER: All right. We are waiting for members of Congress to come in. Interesting story in Yahoo News about the House Freedom Caucus meeting at a place called the Conservative Partnership Institute, which is basically the organization of what you call, John, the chaos of caucus. Its former Senator Jim DeMint, former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and others' people who liked the chaos.


JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. And Mark Meadows, again, this is January 6. Mark Meadows, who is Donald Trump's chief facilitator two years ago on this day, in trying to steal the Americans democracy and trying to overturn a democratic election, when the math was crystal clear, when they had exhausted every legitimate legal avenue to contest the election.

And so, the same people who tried to topple the American democracy, and then stood by for hours is that building you're looking at right there, that chamber you're looking at right there was under siege, are now trying to subvert another democracy in the sense that if this were a pure democracy, Kevin McCarthy, whatever you think of him at home, has the most votes. He has the most support.

I think you said yesterday, it's around 95 percent of its own members. The question today is they have shown zero respect for him the holdouts. They have shown zero respect for the institution. Do they agree to a pause? Do they agree to a timeout? Do they agree to go home for the weekend? And let this settle however it ends up or do they continue to flog Kevin McCarthy because they have enjoyed it?

TAPPER: Let's listen in?

JOHNSON: For what purpose does this gentleman from California rise?

REP. MIKE GARCIA, (R) CALIFORNIA: Madam Clerk, I rise to nominate Kevin McCarthy for speaker of the House.

JOHNSON: The gentleman is recognized.

GARCIA: And while I rise to that, and I think it's critically important to note that this is actually not about Kevin McCarthy. Kevin is a good man. He's a man of God. He's a patriot. He's a leader who has led this conference to our current majority over the last four years. Those things are unassailable, but this isn't about him. This isn't about Kevin McCarthy.

I put no single human being on a pedestal and certainly not before God and not before the gift that he has blessed us with, with this grand experiment that we call the United States of America. This isn't about Kevin McCarthy, but the matters before us are of stupendous magnitude.

A federal republic such as ours, it's a dynamically unstable one. It's a wobbly top that's just a few mere revolutions away from falling down at any given moment. Except for the exertions of men and women who are willing to serve her with pure and selfless intent, just as our founding fathers did, just as Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan did with pure and selfless intent.

And as our nation today and over the last two years has seen, we are certainly a wobbly top. Today we have a southern border that is wide open. As a result of that and as a result of our executive branch policies, today 200 fellow Americans will die of fentanyl poisoning. And roughly 5,000 illegal immigrants will be victims of human smuggling.

Today, our nation's debt is $31 trillion. And that will go up just in this day alone by roughly $2.1 billion. Today we are seeing one of the worst crime spikes in our nation's history. Our law enforcements are direly underfunded, and they are hurting. And on that topic, I want to thank our law enforcement. I want to especially thank the Capitol Hill police for what they do. We thank them not only for what they've done. Our police also serve with that pure and selfless intent. They do it every day, and we should thank them every day.

Today, the Chinese Communist Party will orchestrate the theft of another $1 billion of intellectual property from American companies. And the Chinese Communist Party is still today, not being held accountable for the deaths of millions of people around this planet deaths as a result of a genocide within their borders and deaths as a result of COVID outside them.


We are today losing on multiple fronts against China. So today isn't about a single human being, it's not about Kevin McCarthy, it's about the 13 gold star families who still suffer today mercifully without clothes and without accountability after the unnecessary the loss of their loved ones in Afghanistan over a year ago.

And today speaking of our military, today roughly 40 active duty, and veterans of our military will commit suicide. These, Madam Clerk, these are the matters of stupendous magnitude. This isn't about a man in a suit in the halls of Congress, it's about 330 million Americans, it's about the preservation of the Constitution and the liberties guaranteed therein.

It's about the 246 years of pride and providence that we have enjoyed as a nation. And above all things, it's about ensuring that this beautiful journey exists for generations to come. That doesn't happen if we don't address and rise above the multiple existential crises that we experienced today, we must be victorious in this cause.

Victory begins with allowing this body to get to work it begins today. Now, winning isn't easy, OK. Winning isn't easy but winning is necessary. And of all folks in this chamber, I know that that winning isn't easy. I represent a district. We're only 29 percent of my voters are registered in the same party as I.

But I engage and I communicate with the other 71percent because it's the only way that we all win. And in the end, it's the only way that the nation wins. It ain't easy, but it's necessary. But the noble wins, the most important wins, never are easy. But we take on these missions, just as passionately, as Colonel Chamberlain did at Little Round Top in Gettysburg.

We must hold this line because if we don't hold this line, the entire union is at stake. We don't hold the majority for bragging rights, we hold the majority to govern responsibly, we hold the majority to protect the American people to coalesce around the foundational constitutional principles that I've been willing to give my life to defend since the age of 18.

And to my Democrat colleagues across the aisle, I want him to make sure you understand and make no mistake. We are in fact on the verge of a very important victory, a victory for the PIP people, a victory by the people, and most importantly, a victory for the future of our nation. And it dawns on me as I look across the aisle after being here for nearly three years that I haven't had the pleasure of meeting many of you because you've chosen to stay at home and not vote here in person electing instead to proxy vote.

JOHNSON: Is reminded to direct his remarks to the chair.

GARCIA: Well, it's a pleasure to see 212 what you here today. It's also a pleasure to see the end of the proxy voting. And let me end with this. Let me end with this. I'm extremely proud of my colleagues on this side of the aisle, the last four days, they haven't been ideal. They've been difficult. But I do see fighters. I see patriots who love this country and want to make things better.

I see folks who are willing to do whatever is necessary to ensure that we better serve the nation. I see men and women who are willing to serve her with that pure and selfless intent even if that service means undergoing the dentistry that we've experienced over the last four days. And in the wake of the last 20 meetings over the last two months.

Oh, he'll be clear. These are not concessions to the rules. These are critical evolution of the rules for the good of the nation. And I'm proud that we as a party have decided and been willing to extend the time aperture so that we can get to a solution, a product of compromise, but also a product that will fix the ills induced by the Democrat majority over the last four years.

And this product will hopefully end the multifaceted legacy of reckless and toxic behavior in the swamp. And so, this isn't about Kevin McCarthy. It's not about the 434 members in this chamber. It's about the 330 million Americans across this beautiful land and it's about our nation's future.

The person who will lead us on that journey will be Kevin McCarthy. He has earned this position and I have the honor of nominating him at the direction of the Republican conference as the speaker of the House of the 118th Congress. God bless the United States.


JOHNSON: For what purpose does the gentleman from South Carolina rise?

REP. JAMES CLYBURN, (D) SOUTH CAROLINA: Madam Clerk, I rise to nominate my friend, colleague and leader of the House Democratic Caucus, Hakeem Jeffries for speaker.

JOHNSON: The gentleman is recognized.

CLYBURN: Madam Clerk, I want to begin by thanking you for your contribution to maintaining the dignity and honor of this august body, the eyes of the country. The eyes of the country, our own us today, let us consider what they will remember. I often refer to this whole as America's classroom. The proceedings we undertake in this body and our actions to serve as lessons for those who may be watching and or listening.

Hopefully, that which they see and hear, will help them gain understanding and appreciation for the greatness of America and the goodness of the American people. This body has a unique role in this government. What we do and how we do it, will determine whether our pursuit toward a more perfect union can continue in earnest.

No day in recent history, underscores the importance of that pursuit more than January 6, 2021. Exactly two years ago today, our resolve was tested when the violent mob of insurrectionist attacked our Capitol, threaten the integrity of this democracy and underlying mind our constitution. The greatness of this country and the resiliency of our democracy were put at peril, but we survived.

The preamble of the constitution explains that the document was established in part, to secure the blessings of liberty, not just for ourselves, but also to posterity. In this body, we're tasked with protecting our nation's hard-earned principles of liberty, justice, and freedom for all.

Every two years, the American people they evaluate our stewardship and render a verdict. Last November, they invested their time and resources, going to the polls and casting their votes. They expect and should get a just return on their investments.

For a minute, maybe most Americans, this is the only investment they will ever make to help preserve the greatness of this country. For the first time in over 200 years, after 11 rounds of voting, we are unable to organize and begin to work on behalf of those who elected us to serve.

Democrats are offering a candidate for our speaker Hakeem Jeffries, who is not just prepared to lead but committed to preserving this democracy and enhancing this august body. Madam Clerk, there is some dispute among historians as to whether Alexis de Tocqueville said this, but I consider it to be true regardless.


The Tocqueville is credited in some quarters with having said, America is great, because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great. The greatness of America lies in the goodness that exists within the American people. Today, the greatness of our nation hangs in the balance because the goodness of the American people is at stake.

We Democrats, offering the people of America through this unique body, a good man who has the best interest of the American people at heart, and is committed to preserving the fundamental principles that make this country great.

Madam Clerk, I am honored to carry out the directives of the House Democratic Caucus and submit to this august body, the name of Hakeem Jeffries to be speaker of the United States House of Representatives.

JOHNSON: For what purpose does the gentleman from Florida rise? REP. MATT GAETZ, (R) FLORIDA: To submit a name for a nomination for the position speaker of the House.

JOHNSON: The gentleman is recognized.

GAETZ: Thank you, Madam Speaker. My colleague from California Mr. Garcia knows the incredibly high regard, I hold him in. He is a patriot. I deeply, deeply admire him, but I must take some exception with some of the comments he made in his nomination of Mr. McCarthy.

First, he said that Mr. McCarthy has earned the position. You only earn the position of speaker of the House if you can get the votes. Mr. McCarthy doesn't have the votes today. He will not have the votes tomorrow, and he will not have the votes next week, next month, next year.

And so, one must wonder, Madam Clerk, is this an exercise in vanity for someone who has done the math, taking the counts and is putting this institution through something that absolutely is avoidable? My colleague Mr. Garcia did not say this, but many of my other Republican colleagues have. They believe that Mr. McCarthy has earned the position of speaker of the House because he raised half a billion dollars to get Republicans elected.

JOHNSON: The gentleman is not recognized. Mind it not to engage in personalities against other members of the House.

GAETZ: Several believe that one earns the position of speaker by raising enormous sums of money and there is no doubt that the individual that was nominated by Mr. Garcia is the LeBron James of special interest fundraising in this town. There is nobody better, but I would suggest that there are qualifications for speaker that are far more important. There are attributes that are far more important.

Jim Jordan has those, and I am submitting his name for nomination at this time. I heard my colleague from California Mr. Garcia say that we seek pure, selfless intent. And I could not agree more with that assessment. Mr. Jordan, indeed, is reflective of pure, selfless intent.

I don't know that the same can be said for the Republican alternative. Let's start with purity. Many of you have seen the reports that there are negotiations to determine whether or not on this side of the aisle there can be a deal, a meeting of the minds, a grand bargain that would allow us to proceed with the speakership.

And I want all of my colleagues to know regardless of your perspective on me, how impure some of those negotiations have gone and I want the country to know.