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CNN Live Event/Special

Interview with Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX); Republicans to Take Another Vote for Speaker; Interview with Former U.S. Representative of Pennsylvania Charlie Dent (R). Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired October 20, 2023 - 10:30   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR, THE LEAD: You better watch out, you are making too much sense. I don't know how much of a future you have in this business.

REP. DAN CRENSHAW (R-TX): Yes, thanks. Thanks, Jake.

TAPPER: But just to give people an idea of what you're talking, it was actually just Sunday that we spoke. I know it feels like two weeks, but it was actually just Sunday. And there was an article about how Jordan's allies, with the apparent blessing of Jordan, had said there is going to be a pressure campaign. And it was not until Wednesday night that Jordan issued a statement to call off the dogs.

But in that intervening time, it was not just pressure that was, please support Jordan or why aren't you supporting Jordan or the rest? It was very, very hostile phone calls and texts. And in fact, I'm going to play a little bit, this is from a voicemail message left for the wife of one of your colleagues who didn't support Congressman Jordan. Take a listen to this.

CRENSHAW: I think I have seen it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's a -- warmongering piece of --. So, listen, you're going to keep getting calls and e-mails. I'm putting all your information over the internet now, everybody else's. And you will not be left alone, because your -- husband. Jim Jordan or more conservative or you're going to be -- molested like you cannot imagine. And again, nonviolently.


TAPPER: Again, nonviolently, you're going to be molested. And that's the wife of somebody. And you told me, Sunday, that that pressure campaign would be, "The dumbest thing that you can do." It looks like the pro-Jordan forces did not hear your -- heed your advice and that's one of the reasons he keeps losing worse and worse.

CRENSHAW: It is. It has certainly entrenched them. They're not moving. I mean, that is a fact you can take to the grave because of people like that, that beta male who makes the threatening calls to women, who lives in his mama's basement. He's is beta male. All of these online trolls are. You know, warmonger, they called me that, too, right. They're -- I think they've never been in a fistfight in their life. And they should know that I am calling them beta males right now, I want to make that very clear, because anyone who threatens women like that is beta male. And it's unfortunate where we're at. It has absolutely entrenched the opposition. We need a reset.


CRENSHAW: We need --

TAPPER: -- where does this end? Can -- it will -- will the conference come around just letting Patrick McHenry do the job until January? Just temporary powers just so -- I -- because I don't need to tell you there is actual serious business that needs to get done in terms of the appropriations bills, what's going on in Ukraine, what's going on in Israel, and on and on.

CRENSHAW: It does need to happen. If Patrick McHenry wants -- does not want to do it, and he stated very clearly, he doesn't want that authority -- well, you know, there's somebody in line who is designated after him. That list is not public. It was made by Speaker McCarthy. And there's a very good argument to be made that McHenry already has those powers to bring bills to the floor. There's nothing in our house rules that limits the scope of his power. That is a myth that has been perpetuated. It is not true.

Now, he has decided that would be the limit of the authority of his powers. And so, if that vote did take place, he may very well say, I don't want it. You need to go to the next person in line. That could happen. I think that's our best option now, and then we need a reset on figuring out who can get to 217, and there is talk about candidates, that is fine. Jordan -- it would have to wait until Jordan actually decides to step down.

And then we take a breath. And we have that conversation -- I think we should have that conversation while there is a speaker who can bring bills to the floor according to the process that we already. I am -- I'm very unclear why anybody is opposed to that though there are a lot of people opposed to that.

TAPPER: I am very unclear on a lot of the business, but I appreciate your time, Sir. It's always to good to have you on.

CRENSHAW: Thanks, Jake.

TAPPER: You are watching the House floor as Republicans prepare to take another vote for speaker. Former Speaker Kevin McCarthy will nominate Jim Jordan shortly. It seems as though we already know what's going to happen. But still, it's always fun to watch. Stay with us. Hear what he has to say.


[10:35:00] DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT AND CNN ANCHOR, INSIDE POLITICS: Welcome back. I'm Dana Bash on Capitol Hill, where we are waiting for Jim Jordan's third try to become the speaker of the House. This is day 17, day 17 with no speaker of the House, and there is no indication that Jordan has flipped enough Republican votes to win. In fact, the indications are that he is going to other way. Now, right now what you're seeing on the screen there is the House of Representatives taking a roll call, gathering everybody for the vote that we are going to see ahead.

Let's go to another part of the Capitol where our Lauren Fox is. And Lauren, I know you've been talking to members all morning about where we think this is going to end up today. I know I have heard pretty strongly from some of Jim Jordan's fellow Republicans that they think that 22, the last vote, the second vote, that number of votes against him will likely to go higher.


LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's exactly right, Dana. And that is why there is some debate within the conference, even among the supporters of Jim Jordan about whether or not he should try to force repeated votes today and into the weekend.

You heard from some of his colleagues yesterday that that was potentially something he was looking at doing. And I just talked to one representative, Malliotakis, who told me that she called Jim Jordan today and told him that she thought he should keep fighting this out over the weekend, to keep members in Washington, to keep them on the floor, to try to grind them down, essentially. But you and I both know, Dana, that that kind of strategy can absolutely backfire.

In fact, I just talked to another Republican, Representative Molinaro, who told me that he is not going to be voting for Jim Jordan on this ballot. And in fact, what he thinks Jordan should do is just go back to conference, have another closed-door meeting, and let Republicans sort out who the next candidate should be to be the speaker.

So many varying opinions about what the strategy should be right now. But dana, you can imagine that if it ain't go round after round today, tomorrow, into Sunday, that that is probably not going to help Jim Jordan warm himself to any of colleagues who are saying and have told him over the last several days, they are not voting for him. They are never voting for him. And that he needs to step aside. Dana.

BASH: Yes, Lauren. I mean, at one point does it become the definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over, hoping for a different result. Auren, let us know if you hear anything more as you talk to members going in and milling around waiting as this roll call vote is being taken on the house floor.

I'm joined now by our experts. And Scott Jennings, you are a Republican. This is your party that is displaying a stunning example of, I think, chaos. We need a much better word for chaos because this is just beyond. SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, and it's another example of refusal to accept outcomes. I mean, Jim Jordan has been told he's not going to have the votes. It doesn't look like he's going to have the votes. And what do you hear from the people who are helping him? We're going to keep you here all weekend. We're going to keep voting. And essentially, we're going to keep punishing you until you change your mind.

That attitude is exactly what's hurting him. It's why he's going the wrong direction. This attitude of we're going to punish you and this attitude of bullying that has taken place. You hear from all corners of the Hill, this bullying is not -- this -- even people who are voting for Jordan are highly uncomfortable with it because some of these folks are their friends, and they don't like that members of Congress are being harassed in this particular way.

BASH: And their families.

JENNINGS: It's absolutely --

BASH: I mean, that sound --

JENNINGS: -- terrible --

BASH: -- that voicemail that Jake played --


BASH: -- for Dan Crenshaw --

JENNINGS: Just terrible. And so --

BASH: For Don Bacon's wife.

JENNINGS: -- so when you think about the impact that it has on institutional in -- most of these guys aren't famous. They didn't come here to be on TV. They came here to grind and to legislate and to work on the issues they care about. All of that is being put on hold so we can bang our heads against the wall. Ridiculous.

BASH: But it does speak to what has happened in the House of Representatives, with gerrymandering, with the fact that you have so many dug-in districts. Blue, blue, blue. Red, red, red. And so, what has happened -- particularly on the Republican side, it's on display, is that it's the outside group, the ecosystem, the echo chamber. I mean, pick your word. Also, groups that make money off of this that are continuing to stir this and to prevent the idea of some kind of solution, which is what we saw yesterday in the House Republican conference where there was an attempt to say, OK. Let's give Patrick McHenry the power to be speaker and get stuff done. And conservatives, I don't know if you would call them that, but the Matt Gaetzes (ph) of the world who just want to blow things up, said no.

ASHLEY ALLISON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, Scott, when you were talking, it made me think, where is the adult in the room? Really, where is the adult? You're talking about bullying. You're talking about -- I mean, the threatening calls that we have. And I think your point is right about what has happened to the House because of gerrymandering.

But let's also remember that the Democrats had the same slim majority under Nancy Pelosi. And whether you like the Speaker Pelosi or not, she was able to keep a very diverse group of Democrats together to become speaker and to govern. And that's what leaders do. That is what adults do. And right now, I am sorry, it's not politics. It's just the fact right now there are not adults in the room right now. Calling the question. Enforcing Jim Jordan to come down. It is absurd. It is embarrassing to call a vote right now knowing you are going to lose, probably even worse.


BASH: Well, that's the thing. I know -- I want to go to Manu Raju. Manu, speaking of calling votes over and over again, you just had a conversation, I know, with Former Speaker Kevin McCarthy. His ouster 17 days ago was what prompted what we're seeing right now. I know he's going to give the nominating speech for Jim Jordan. What did he tell you?

MANU RAJU, CNN ANCHOR, INSIDE POLITICS SUNDAY AND CNN ANCHOR AND CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, he's still indicating that Jordan potentially could get there. He's counseling some patience. He says that, you know, we'll see what happens on this vote. I pressed him time and time again about the expectation that he is probably going to lose even more Republican votes. He's -- he did not want to entertain that at this moment, but that is exactly what is expected here at this moment.

He said this is chaotic. We need to elect a speaker. Then he went on to criticize the eight Republican who voted with Democrats to oust him from the speakership. He continues to call them the crazy eight. And he says -- and I said, well, if Jordan can't get there, then what's next? He said, well, who can get 217 votes? And that really remains the key question.

But, Dana, I can tell you also, I talked to several Republicans on the way in to vote, including one of them Congressman Mike Garcia of California who's sticking with Jordan for now, but said if Jordan continues to lose votes, then they're going to have to reassess his candidacy. That Jordan should, himself, reassess things. So, you're seeing some concern from Jordan's supporters themselves that he can no longer continue in this race if he continues to bleed support.

So, expect that pressure to mount after this vote if he does in fact lose more than 22 Republican votes which we expect for him to not continue in this race from even the people who are now backing him. That is going to be a real issue that he will have to navigate even as his most ardent supporters are telling him to fight on, battle this, potentially take this through the weekend, into next eventually to try to get there.

Some of the -- now, those members are simply getting weak-kneed, are getting tired about this very bitter process that we have seen unfold over the last couple of weeks. That is going to be his huge challenge in the days ahead. Will it be time for him to step aside after this vote, or will he try to continue on? That will be a question for him, but as you can see, a lot of members losing patience, Dana.

BASH: Yes, I think patience left the building a long time ago. Manu, thank you.

I want to go to Former Congressman Charlie Dent, bring you into this conversation. Do you think that Kevin McCarthy really believes what he is saying to Manu and others that he just thinks that Jordan can grind this out? Do you think he really believes that?

CHARLIE DENT (R), FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE, PENNSYLVANIA: No, I don't. And frankly, Dana, what we're really witnessing here is the fight I was hoping that this party would have had years ago. This is a fight between the institutionalists and the Trump populists. And the battle lines are drawn. What's really interesting today is, how many more people are going to join the institutionalists and vote against Jim Jordan?

That is really what we're witnessing. The House Republican conference is deeply fractured right now for the whole world to see. I mean, to watch Jim Jordan this morning at that press conference, talking about making the appropriations process work, he spoke -- he was speaking to his detractors, Kay Granger, Mario Diaz-Balart, Steve Womack, Mike Simpson, these are institutionalists. Serious people who want to govern.

And they must hear that, they are immovable objects right now. And so, this fight must occur.

BASH: Congressman --

DENT: This is party who want to be about policy and ideas --

BASH: Patrick McHenry --

DENT: -- or does it want to be about --

BASH: Forgive me for interrupting, Patrick McHenry is gaveling in the house. Let's listen.

REP. PATRICK MCHENRY (R-NC), SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE: If the tellers will please come forward.

BASH: OK. As we wait for them to get their ducks in a row, as they get ready to give their nominating speeches again for Jim Jordan and, of course, again, for Hakeem Jeffries. You know, we're looking at Patrick McHenry, Scott Jennings, and this time yesterday, we thought it was likely that he would end up being a temporary speaker. And in this meeting that House Republicans had, they blew it up because -- first of all, let's be clear, Patrick McHenry doesn't want that role. And he definitely doesn't want to be put in a position where he will get it with a lot of Democratic votes. Let's just put aside what that says about the institution, and God forbid you have bipartisan support. MCHENRY: The House will come to order.

BASH: But that's where we are. And Dan Crenshaw said earlier that, you know, there is -- the reason he's -- forgive me. Let's listen in.