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The Source with Kaitlan Collins
House Of Reps In Chaos After McCarthy's Ouster; GOP Burchett Says McCarthy Mocked Him For "Praying" On Decision, Tells CNN "That's What Sealed It Right There For Me"; Judge Issues Gag Order, Threatens "Serious Sanctions" Against Trump After Social Media Post Attacking Clerk. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired October 03, 2023 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ALYSSA FARAH GRIFFIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Someone who handed over security tapes from January 6th to a cable news host, to spread lies, somebody who ousted, before Speaker, but as leader, Liz Cheney, from her leadership post.
That is the defining mechanisms, around Kevin McCarthy, because everything was in pursuit, of becoming Speaker, not for the betterment of the Conference, frankly, or the country.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: We're going to pick up the conversation, again, shortly.
Right now, for viewers, who might be just joining us, we're talking about a day, unlike any, in Washington, since 1910. That's the last time House members tried to throw out their Speaker. And it didn't work then.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN CO-HOST: 113 years later, for the very first time, members tried to throw out their Speaker. But this time, this time, Anderson and Kaitlan, they succeeded.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN HOST: Yes. And Jake and Anderson, of course, Kevin McCarthy, only serving for 269 days. His speakership, undone by eight rebel Republicans, led by Congressman Matt Gaetz of Florida, using that rule, to force him out, that McCarthy himself agreed to, of course, as a condition to get the job, as House Speaker.
Now, a vote, at least an election, is expected, next week, a week from now, a week from tomorrow night. The jockey, for the position, though is already underway, tonight.
And CNN's Melanie Zanona is covering it all here, at the Capitol.
Melanie, what's the latest now that we just heard from Kevin McCarthy, saying he will not try to run, for Speaker, again. Who is now going to try to enter this race?
MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Kaitlan, that is the question of the moment, right now. And we've heard, from a number of Republicans, who say there are a couple names, floating around. And that includes Steve Scalise. He is the number two Republican, the House Majority Leader. He is seen as the likely next in line, the heir-apparent. And I am told that he has been calling members, tonight. His team has also been calling members. And that he is already lining up supporters. One of those members who heard from him tonight said he's getting a good amount of support, already, so, just to give you a sense of how quickly things are moving here.
But I'll tell you, there are some other names, in the mix as well. I'm told that there are some members, who have been encouraging Jim Jordan, to run. He is a conservative. He was a Co-founder of the Freedom Caucus. But he's also become a Kevin McCarthy ally. He is the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee. And he is someone, who is also seen as a potential contender here.
Now, it's unclear if he would run. He was asked by our Manu Raju, earlier, whether he would be open to doing so. And he said it is up to the Conference, so clearly, leaving it open, though it's unclear whether he would mount a challenge to Steve Scalise.
Now, we're hearing some other names as well. Kevin Hern. He's the head of the Republican Study Committee, which is the largest Conservative Caucus in the House.
But, at this point, Kaitlan, it looks like Steve Scalise is making moves, to become the next Speaker.
They have until next week. There's going to be a candidate forum, on Tuesday, for any Speaker candidates, to try to make their pitch. And then, they will move to try to elect a Speaker, on Wednesday. So again, things moving quickly. But, as of right now, the House is paralyzed. And they cannot conduct any other business, until they elect a new Speaker.
COLLINS: Right. They're moving quickly, but not necessarily that quickly, if they're going to wait over a week before they actually hold that election.
Given they have such a time crunch, with time to actually fund the government, when this temporary bill that they just passed runs out, I mean, is there a sense of why they are waiting this period of time, to pick a new Speaker?
ZANONA: Well, listen, they are in such a period of uncertainty. And they just didn't want to start ramming an election, down the Republicans' throats again. They wanted to give some time.
Especially now that Kevin McCarthy has stepped aside, it is really a whole new ballgame, unlike in January, where he was in the race, for round after round. No one else was willing to step up to the plate.
But someone, like Steve Scalise, for example, has long been waiting, in the wings. He never wanted to challenge Kevin McCarthy, outright. But now that he is out of the picture, he's clearly making his moves.
But I'll tell you, back to your earlier point, about government funding. That was a concern, raised by a lot of Republican members, today, about if they were to go forward, with the motion to vacate, and potentially oust Kevin McCarthy, as Speaker, which they did, that it was going to delay their appropriations process. The same appropriations process, we should point out, that Matt Gaetz had been fighting for. So now, all of that is delayed.
They were supposed to be marking up bills, this week and next week, trying to move towards that November 17th deadline. That's going to be a lot harder.
And I can tell you, whoever is going to be the next Speaker is immediately going to have to deal with that next challenge. And the question becomes what do they do away? Do they have to pass a short- term stopgap bill, to keep the government open, and avoid a shutdown, the very thing that Kevin McCarthy was punished for? So, a lot of questions, here tonight, in the Capitol, Kaitlan.
COLLINS: Yes. Not exactly an appealing job, Melanie. Keep us updated on who's in first, for that race.
I'm joined now, by Republican congressman, Tim Burchett of Tennessee, one of the eight Republicans, who voted against Speaker McCarthy, who we spoke to, last night.
Congressman, first, I want to get you to respond to something we just heard, from former Speaker, Kevin McCarthy, who was saying essentially that the eight of you, who voted to oust him, are not real conservatives. What's your response to that?
REP. TIM BURCHETT (R-TN): Well, that's, I'd say he's better. And I'll take it at that.
My concern all along has been that we took six weeks off, as you know, in August and September. We take in $5 trillion a year. We spend $7 trillion. We pass Continued Resolution after Continued Resolution. And the reason they do that is so we don't have a shot at it.
We're required, really, by law, to do a couple of things. Pass a budget and the 12 appropriations bills. Yet, they do a continuation, Continued Resolution, to hide a lot of things, in my opinion.
They grease their buddies, their lobbyist buddies, and the powerful stay in power. And they all say, "Oh, this is a terrible thing." And then, they say, "We're going to pass this Continued Resolution, so we'll have to pass another." And we've been --
COLLINS: So, when he says you're not looking to be productive, you think he's wrong?
BURCHETT: He's absolutely wrong. I want a budget. Why are they afraid of a budget? Jodey Arrington, out of Texas, is an excellent Chairman of the Budget Committee.
I was on the Budget Committee. I asked to be taken off, because we've never done any budgets.
Now, Jodey gets on. He brings a budget. They bring him before Conference. He gets his 10 minutes. They gave him a little complimentary golf clap, and they sent him on his way.
But we're required to pass a budget. Every State, in this great union, passes a budget. I come from Tennessee. We're a balanced. But I'd say your family has a budget. Mine does. Church, synagogue, your charity, your business, we have a budget.
But this place, back here, doesn't have a budget.
COLLINS: Did you bring this up? I mean, you had quite a, what sounds like, a testy phone call, with the Speaker, after you were -- after you and I spoke, last night.
BURCHETT: This morning, sure.
COLLINS: And you said you were praying about the decision. You say, he basically was mocking you, for saying --
BURCHETT: Yes, I think --
COLLINS: -- that you were being thoughtful about it.
BURCHETT: He belittled what I said. And I was, I thought well, I'll listen to what he said. And I thought to myself, well, maybe he'll change my mind. And then, when there's opening salvo, I guess, was that, I said, I think the Lord gave me my answer, right then, honestly, because I don't -- mock me, I don't -- I don't -- mocking God to me is it crosses the line. And I thought it showed his character.
But that's over. He's out. And we're looking ahead to a new Speaker.
COLLINS: Well, and of course that election is now not going to happen, for over another week. Are you happy that lawmakers are leaving town, without electing a new House Speaker?
BURCHETT: No, heck no. That's what I was angry. That's another reason I was angry at the Speaker before, because we left town, when we should have been working.
We took a long weekend, till a Tuesday. I realized there was -- there was a Jewish -- there was a Jewish holiday, which I think we ought to honor. Yet, we could have come back. We could have worked up to that point. And we chose not to.
And again, we passed a Continued Resolution, for 45 days. Here it is, day 42. And we're not -- we haven't addressed it up to this point. We come in late. We leave early. Rest of America's not. I can guarantee you, they're working.
COLLINS: Well that's going to be the challenge, for the next House Speaker. I mean, we're hearing names that --
COLLINS: -- people like Steve Scalise, Jim Jordan, Kevin Hern. Do you like any of those? Have you heard from any of them?
BURCHETT: I love them. They're all great. And I think --
COLLINS: Have you heard from any of them, tonight?
BURCHETT: No, I have not. But actually, I've been on the media trail, pretty hot and heavy. I think Elise Stefanik could be one, you could figure maybe, maybe Mark Green out of Tennessee. There's a lot of people that we have a very deep bench. I don't think that's going to be the problem.
And I don't think -- I think once we elect this person, I think we could probably do it in the first round. And I think, also, people will rally around them. And you'll see, just like when you put a new quarterback in, in the second half, after you've been getting beat up on a little bit, you start taking command.
COLLINS: Yes. We've seen that in Alabama, a lot, this season.
COLLINS: When it comes to what actually that's going to look like?
BURCHETT: Is that a shout over to me (ph) being a Tennessee boy, like --
COLLINS: And when it --
BURCHETT: Wait. Now, you all played -- you all played football at Alabama? I'm sure you did.
COLLINS: We'll get back to that in a moment.
BURCHETT: OK. It's perfect.
COLLINS: But when it comes to what the rules, for the next House Speaker, actually looks like, will you insist on keeping that one-vote motion, to vacate, for whoever's the next House Speaker?
BURCHETT: I don't know. I've thought about that a lot. But I haven't really reasoned that out, in my mind. I don't know that it's important. I think it served its purpose. And honestly, I don't know that it serves the purpose, it once did.
But it was on the books for years. I think it's maybe the 20s, until Speaker Pelosi had taken it out, so.
COLLINS: But it sounds like you're OK with it staying?
BURCHETT: Yes, I wouldn't mind. I voted for those rules. I thought that was a -- I thought it was a wise decision. And I think it served us well. I think it holds them accountable, to the people. And I don't have a problem with accountability, which is something this town lacks a lot of --
BURCHETT: -- in transparency.
COLLINS: Congressman Tim Burchett, thank you, for coming over here, to join us, tonight.
BURCHETT: Thank you.
COLLINS: I'll fist-bump you back.
Jake, of course, a lot of questions here about what that is going to look like, going forward.
TAPPER: Little fist-bump there.
COLLINS: Even though he is a Tennessee guy --
TAPPER: Liked it.
COLLINS: -- we don't play them.
TAPPER: It's very nice.
COLLINS: Alabama doesn't until at the end of the month.
TAPPER: It's nice to see.
COLLINS: So, we'll be able to do those.
TAPPER: It's nice to see, a little cross-border action there.
Even though this is playing out as a fight, among House Republicans, obviously, the interest, in having a functioning House of Representatives, is bipartisan. It's frankly non-partisan. And obviously, it does include everyone, including the Democrats, in the Executive branch.
And CNN's Kayla Tausche is at the White House, for us.
Kayla, what is the reaction, at the White House, this evening? There is not a Speaker of the House.
KAYLA TAUSCHE, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, the White House is trying to project an image of calm, and to strike a contrast, with the chaos, on Capitol Hill.
And just this evening, the Administration releasing a statement, urging House Republicans, to elect a Speaker, quickly, so that, both sides of Pennsylvania Avenue can get back to the business of governing. But aides tell me that President Biden is going to aim, to strike a tone of business as usual, throughout the rest of the week. Tomorrow, he has a policy-focused speech, on student loans.
And today, in messaging blasts that the White House, has put out for many weeks, in today's, they announced a split-screen, of President Biden touting his negotiations, for lower drug prices, contrasted with Republicans, trying to repeal the legislation, that authorizes the President, to do that, not highlighting the motion to vacate, or any of the drama that was happening, on Capitol Hill. But that's the White House trying to stay above the fray, Jake.
The Democratic National Committee, posting on social media platform, X, has reacted somewhat with glee, calling the GOP, a three-ring circus, and posting movie memes. And in some of those same split- screen images, taking their own liberties and pointing out that chaos, for that motion to vacate.
TAPPER: Well, it was chaotic. And for some reason, a reason that eludes my understanding, the Republicans have decided to take a week- long break, before picking their next leader, although they could be doing it, right now. Presumably, I'm not the only one asking this question.
Is there -- and I realized that even if you know the answer to this, the Democrats, in the building, behind you, might not want the answer public. But is there a particular Republican, in the House of Representatives, that the White House might think would be the easiest to deal with? In terms of let's think of two pressing issues, Ukraine aid, and avoiding another government shutdown, which is coming down, in just like 43 days?
TAUSCHE: Well, certainly having a week off is not going to help the effort, to avoid a government shutdown, by any stretch of the imagination.
And securing more aid for Ukraine would be seen as the Administration's first priority. Just today, the Administration suggested, once again, that it was assured by, House leadership, and the Chairs of the relevant National Security committees, in the House, that there would be support, for that aid.
But Jake, when you look at their voting records, which is one of the things that the White House points to often, you sort of have a spectrum of support, and a pretty wide range, if that, among the names that have been floated so far.
Tom Emmer, based on his voting record, and his public statements so far, would be seen as the staunchest supporter, for Ukraine aid.
And you have Steve Scalise, the number two Republican, who would be somewhat in the middle. He's made some neutral statements, recently. And it's unclear whether when John Kirby, the NSC spokesman, was saying that there was support, among House leadership, whether he was referencing Steve Scalise, as part of that bucket. And then, of course, there's hardliners like Kevin Hern, and Jim Jordan, who would be seen as anti-Ukraine, based on their voting records.
But again, Kirby has suggested that those are a very vocal few, and they're in the minority, and they still believe that there would eventually be support.
TAPPER: All right, Kayla Tausche, at the White House, thanks.
Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell, just weighed in, quoting from his statement, which reads, in part, quote, "Speaker McCarthy has my sincere thanks for his service to our nation in what is often a thankless role. The Speaker's tenure was bookended by historic fights, but as he reminded his colleagues, when he took the gavel, 'our nation is worth fighting for.'" Minority Leader, McConnell, from Kentucky, tonight.
Back with the panel.
And Dana Bash, I wonder, if there are viewers, voters out there, who are thinking to themselves, "Boy, if I worked for an organization that couldn't get its act together, I don't know that I would then immediately be taking a week-long vacation."
That doesn't seem to me, to be the response that every other person, in the rest of the world, would immediately be doing. Taking a week off. "Good job, everybody. We just did the first ever motion to vacate. We no longer have a Speaker of the House. Let's all go to Barbados."
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I don't think they're going to Barbados, although that does sound really nice, right about now. But --
TAPPER: Well they're taking a week off.
BASH: Well they're taking a week to pick a new Speaker. I don't know the answer. And I think --
TAPPER: Do they not know each other?
BASH: -- we're in all, we're in that --
TAPPER: They need to get acquainted?
BASH: -- new territory, about whether or not committees are going to happen, and organize tomorrow, and things --
TAPPER: No, they adjourned. They adjourned.
BASH: No committees tomorrow?
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR, CNN HOST, "CNN POLITICAL BRIEFING" PODCAST: I think they all went. I think they all went.
BASH: They all went off then?
TAPPER: They House adjourned.
BASH: All right. All right. So, I don't know that it's a vacation.
But it is, I think, the point that you're making, and what I had been wondering is why weren't they ready for this? I mean, this is, everybody's like "Oh my gosh, it's shocking. It's unbelievable." No.
We knew, starting on Sunday, when Matt Gaetz told you, that he was going to make a motion to vacate, that it was very likely that this would happen, very likely. So, why wasn't there a backup? Why wasn't there -- why weren't there already discussions, about who would be the person to go in there?
I think the answer is because the people, who might want to be Speaker, didn't want to get out, ahead of Kevin McCarthy, because that would look bad. And it would probably sync them, with the very people that they need, that I'm sort of answering my own question.
But you're right. It doesn't necessarily take an entire week to do it. You saw, and you mentioned, the fervor with which Patrick McHenry hit that gavel down. And --
TAPPER: I thought it was going to sprain --
BASH: And --
TAPPER: -- sprain his wrist.
BASH: And, to me, looking at it, he's trying to get everybody -- he's trying to lower the temperature, get everybody to calm down.
My experience, on Capitol Hill, is that? And I don't know if you agree with me. And Audie, we covered the Hill together as well. When you send people home, it stirs people up, rather than keeping people in town, sometimes. It has the opposite effect.
AUDIE CORNISH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, one, you're sending them back to their constituents.
CORNISH: Who were going to call offices, Matt Gaetz included.
Two, shock and awe. These people are shocked. They, as much as they shouldn't be, it was very clear that they thought they were calling some sort of bluff. And that did not happen. And they all looked like they couldn't believe it. And that is just weird. It's just like one of those weird moments, on the Hill, that is unexpected.
I think one thing I'd like to say is that this is not Kevin McCarthy's problem. This is our problem, as a country, because in 40-something days, we will be discussing the budget, all over again, the Continuing Resolution all over again, and whoever Speaker will have had to have made some sort of concession, to be leader that will directly affect that discussion, again.
So, it's not like everyone can be like, "Oh, Kevin McCarthy is gone. I guess this thing is solved."
GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: No. They really have to figure out how to reconstitute themselves. I mean, this is a big discussion, not only about "Oh, who's the person you like to be the next Speaker?" They have to figure out how they change the rules. As McCarthy said, change the rule. Do they?
TAPPER: Well, there's that one rule that needs change.
BORGER: There's that one rule about the motion to vacate.
BASH: But it's a rule that he acquiesced here.
BORGER: Right. So maybe --
BASH: In order to get the Speaker's gavel.
BORGER: Well if you're -- if you're -- want to be Speaker, next time, do you want that rule? I don't think you -- I don't think you do.
Then, the question is, of course, on substance. What do you do about Ukraine, which has been -- which has been raised here? And what do you do about the recalcitrant eight people? What are they going to demand?
So, it is really, I mean, and it's reconstituting the party, in the House of Representatives, but it's also taking a look at the Republican Party, writ large, here.
CHALIAN: While a presidential campaign --
BORGER: Is going on.
CHALIAN: -- is playing out, with Donald Trump as the dominant --
CHALIAN: -- Republican front-runner. And I would imagine --
TAPPER: While Donald Trump is in court.
CHALIAN: While Donald Trump was in court. And rather silent on this issue today, I would imagine he's not going to be so silent, once all the candidates for Speaker be coming out.
BORGER: That's another issue.
CHALIAN: And he may want to inject himself into this, going forward.
BORGER: You think?
CHALIAN: But remember, he is the leader of this party. And you were right to note. He's leading it from courtrooms, and leading it under indictment. But he is the leader of this party.
And I know we're focused today on Congress. But I don't think we can disconnect that this is a -- there's a backdrop, of a Republican presidential nomination race, that is underway, as well, here, and you know.
TAPPER: He was reprimanded, by the judge, today, for posting things, on social media that were false smears about the judge's clerk. Just to give you a little update, that of course, is not the number one story, because what we have is the historic removal of the Speaker of the House.
CHALIAN: Yes, though a significant story, no doubt.
CHALIAN: And the removal of the House -- I agree, people were a little more shocked, I think, today, like that "Oh, this is actually happening."
One person not shocked, it seems to me was Kevin McCarthy. I think over the weekend, as soon as he made the decision, that he saw no path, to keep the government open, without making a deal, with Democrats, he understood he sealed his fate. And I don't think he was surprised at all.
TAPPER: So, he tweeted yesterday, literally 24 hours ago, "Bring it on" to remain in a --
TAPPER: -- knowing that they were going to bring it, and he was going to lose?
CORNISH: I mean, that's very happy-warrior vibes.
CORNISH: Like that's a thing he would do. He's already --
TAPPER: You really thought --
CORNISH: I think he was --
CHALIAN: Matt Gaetz told you he was going to bring it.
TAPPER: No. But you really think he said "Bring it on" knowing that he was going to get?
CHALIAN: I think he said "Bring it on" to have bravado, and enter this day in a position of trying to fight.
TAPPER: Knowing that he was going to lose?
CHALIAN: I think he was well-aware that he's going to lose.
BORGER: I think he was.
BASH: I think he was in a --
BORGER: Now, one other --
BASH: -- I think he was in a "Put me out of my misery" situation, and that's why.
BORGER: One other interesting thing is that Gaetz has said that he talked to Donald Trump, although he hasn't said what Donald Trump said to him. We don't know if McCarthy talked to Donald Trump, and what hand he played in all of this.
BORGER: And as you were talking about, what is he going to do in the future? Will he endorse someone? Because remember, this was "My Kevin" as he used to call him.
TAPPER: So, let me just say, I'm going to do something that I've never done before. I'm going to say something nice about the New England Patriots, which is the New England --
BASH: Oh, I can't wait for this segue.
TAPPER: -- the New England Patriots got shellacked by the Cowboys, 38 to three. And I'll tell you something that the New England Patriots are not doing, after that shellacking. They're not taking a week off. That's what they're not doing.
CORNISH: Well I'd be devil's advocate.
TAPPER: They're not taking a week off.
CORNISH: You keep calling it a week off.
CORNISH: They literally need to figure out where the exits are.
BORGER: Where the party is.
CORNISH: They need to figure out. People have to start making phone calls. BASH: Yes.
CORNISH: People have to start counting votes.
TAPPER: What are you talking about?
CORNISH: Because if there's one thing it's clear, they have not been able to do, for many, many months, is count votes, and figure out when they have support, and when they don't have support.
BORGER: And they have to reorganize.
TAPPER: Sweet, naive friend.
CORNISH: And I -- no, no, I do --
TAPPER: Oh my goodness.
CORNISH: I think --
TAPPER: You don't think that Jim Jordan --
CORNISH: I think if they were ready --
TAPPER: -- has been secretly talking?
CORNISH: I think if they were ready, they would have done it already. I think it's that simple.
TAPPER: Patriots fans, I hope you enjoy that.
We're going to take a quick break.
Coming up next, how this is being received in Congressman McCarthy's district, in California. He's still their congressman. He's still their congressman.
Later, more on that Judge, telling Donald Trump, to keep quiet, "It's not cool to smear my clerk. I'm in charge of the trial here." We'll tell you why. And what happens if Trump doesn't? Which is where my money is. Stay with us.
COOPER: Welcome back.
Before the break, Audie Cornish talked about lawmakers going back to their districts, before coming back, next week, to choose a new House Speaker.
CNN's Kyung Lah is in Kevin McCarthy's district, in Bakersfield, California. What were some of the reactions there?
KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, I was actually sitting with one of McCarthy's most ardent supporters, at the Kern County Republican Party. And as that final vote was announced, I can tell you that there was extreme disappointment. And frankly, she was pissed.
This is a district that largely has united, around Kevin McCarthy. He's enormously popular here. In his last election, he won by 60 percent -- he won 60 percent of the vote. That's more than double what the Democrat was able to gather.
So, what we saw, throughout the day, we were sitting with people, as they're watching all the drama unfold, in Washington, they were reminded that he's born and bred here, that he is one of them. So, there is a lot of concern about what happens next, not just for the party, but what happens to Kevin McCarthy, what happens here in the district.
But we also heard this that there is a silver lining, for moderate Republicans, who hope that some of this right-wing fever may be broken, by what McCarthy is going through.
Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CATHY ABERNATHY, MCCARTHY BAKERSFIELD ALLY: Some of these folks that made this battle today may find trouble, when they run next year, in their own party, let alone, if the Democrat convinces the Republicans, in those areas, you've got a member, who's crazy, the whackjob. And if they -- if they convinced that, we're going to lose seats. But that's the price that these folks are willing to pay.
MARK ANTHONY RAIMONDO, BAKERSFIELD REPUBLICAN: You know, I have to give him some credit, for finally standing up, for what's good for all of us.
What's this saying in America? E pluribus unum, out of many, we are one? And I think the politics of today of "All for us, one for all. And the other side is just completely evil," has got to end, and it brings us to too many extremes.
You know, our country's about compromise, and slowly making inch-by- inch progress. I think Matt Gaetz just trying to burn it all down was very disappointing to me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LAH: Now, Raimondo there, the last one that you heard, he stopped voting for McCarthy, last election. He says he will vote for him again, if he runs.
Anderson. COOPER: California has the highest number of federal workers, after Washington, D.C. What are people saying about McCarthy, averting a shutdown, over the weekend, and the possibility of another shutdown, in less than 45 days?
LAH: Yes, that's the first thing that they thought about, right? They need this government to function.
Here, in McCarthy's district, there're about 14,000 federal employees. We're talking about the FAA employees, the people, who work at the military bases, here, the contract employees. They need the government to be funded. They are worried about being able to pay the bills, to pay the electricity bills. And so, that is a concern.
They're looking at the clock. They say, they need a Speaker of the House, not just for government to function, in Washington, but for them to continue to be paid, as federal employees, Anderson.
COOPER: All right. Kyung Lah, thanks so much. Appreciate it.
COLLINS: Speaking of California, Anderson, I am joined now by California Democratic congressman, Adam Schiff, and 2024 candidate, of course.
Congressman, thank you, for being here.
Does it make sense to you why the House is going to wait until next Wednesday to elect, or at least try to elect a new House Speaker?
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): Well, it tells me they had no backup plan, for what happened, today. It certainly appeared, from McCarthy's comments, on Sunday, he wasn't expecting to be voted out.
And so, it doesn't surprise me now, that they're in total disarray. They need time to figure out what's next. Can they unite behind someone? Or are they going to leave Patrick McHenry, to play Speaker pro tempore, on a more indefinite basis?
COLLINS: What was the -- I imagine, there were a lot, but including with you, personally, you were kicked off the House Intelligence Committee, by Speaker McCarthy, back in January. What was the deciding factor, for Democrats, not to try to help him, or save his speakership?
SCHIFF: Just a complete lack of trust in him. We don't trust him. His own members don't trust him. His word is not worth anything. He gave the President his word, over the budget deal, and couldn't honor it.
He initiated an impeachment proceeding without merit, in order to buy off the right-wing. I think my own censure was designed to do the same thing. All of those sops to the right-wing ended up just feeding the beast, and the beast ended up taking him down. But, at the end of the day, we need someone, who can govern, who if they don't have our confidence, at least they have the confidence, of their own members. There are too many challenges that the country are facing, to have the House continue to be in chaos.
COLLINS: There was reporting that during your closed-door caucus meeting, today, you quoted "The Big Lebowski," while speaking with colleagues, and that you said you agreed with Matt Gaetz, about McCarthy. You said Gaetz quote, "Isn't wrong. He's just an a-hole." Is that an accurate quote?
SCHIFF: It is one of my favorite lines, from "The Big Lebowski," which, as applied to Matt Gaetz, in this moment, seemed to be very much on point, and the caucus certainly thought so.
COLLINS: Are there any Republicans that you think could be a good House leader, in your estimation? Obviously, you're a Democrat. But you think that could lead the House?
SCHIFF: I think there are. There are a great many Republicans, I've worked with, over the years, who were people, who were very conservative. We didn't agree on a lot of policy positions.
But we also agreed on delivering, for California, and working together, and others who, like Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, I had great respect for, because I knew they were people of conviction. And if they gave me their word, I could trust their word.
There are Republicans, who I think could be trusted with that responsibility, where we could fight over policy, but at least they could govern. And we could --
COLLINS: Which ones?
SCHIFF: I don't want to identify them. It certainly wouldn't help them, within their own Conference, if I did.
But I think there are Republicans, who could serve the country well. At least they could govern. And that would serve the country well, even if the policies they would want to bring about are ones that I think would ultimately not be in our best interest.
COLLINS: What did you make of what -- you mentioned, Patrick McHenry, of North Carolina, who is now essentially temporarily filling in. He issued a letter, to former Speaker Pelosi, tonight, asking her to vacate her hideaway office, these offices that are in short supply, in the House, as you know. But she's not here. She's in California.
What did you make of that move, that being his first move, as taking over, in this position?
SCHIFF: It's a bad omen. I mean, it seemed like a very petty thing to do.
Speaker Pelosi is in California, to attend the funeral, of Dianne Feinstein, who is not only a giant in California, but also a lifelong, dear close friend of Speaker Pelosi's.
And to do this as what it seems like his first act, as the Speaker Pro Tem is to take away one of her offices? That seems very childish. I don't know whether this is a decision, he made on his own, or one Kevin McCarthy wanted, as a bit of payback. But it doesn't portend well.
COLLINS: Nothing can happen, in the House, until another Speaker is elected. I mean, what do you envision the next week looking like? Are you concerned that whoever's the next House Speaker will be constrained, when it comes to Ukraine funding, or what their speakership power actually looks like?
SCHIFF: I mean, I think, in theory, actually, we could continue with McHenry, in that position. It wouldn't be ideal. But I think they'll arrive on someone, who at least can try to fill that role.
And I would hope that we can bring up a vote, on things, like Ukraine funding, which enjoy broad bipartisan support. When people say that Washington is broken, it's because of things like this. The vast majority of Americans, the vast majority of Democrats and Republicans, in the House of Representatives, want to see U.S. aid to Ukraine continue.
So, why don't we do it? Because they won't bring it up for a vote. And why won't they bring it up for a vote? Because a handful of their crazies don't want them to. Well, they shouldn't be running this place. But they've been running the Republican Conference, for some time.
COLLINS: Yes. And we've certainly seen the support soften, in some of the CNN polls as well.
A busy week ahead of you. Maybe not for Democrats as much. We'll see.
Congressman Adam Schiff, thank you, for coming over here, tonight.
SCHIFF: Thank you.
COLLINS: Of course, coming up, why the former President has been noticeably silent, today, to save the job of the man he often refers to, as, quote, "My Kevin?" Kristen Holmes will join us, next.
TAPPER: Since the early days of Donald Trump's campaign, and presidency, Kevin McCarthy stood by him. Trump would go on to call him, quote, "My Kevin." It is a relationship that Trump would lean on, after the January 6 attack, when McCarthy flip-flopped, on whether Trump bears responsibility, for what happened, on that horrible day.
So, where was Donald Trump today when "My Kevin" could have really used his support?
Kristen Holmes is outside Trump Tower, in Manhattan, and joins us now.
Kristen, where was Mr. Trump? Why didn't he intervene, publicly, to help Kevin McCarthy, save his job? He certainly could have swayed some votes, I would think.
KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, he obviously could have. Since we know, back in January, once Trump swooped in, in the 11th hour, after more than a dozen of failed Speaker votes, on McCarthy's part, that he was able to convince, some of the opposition, to McCarthy, to change their votes. I mean, this was, what he does is.
And what we are told is that there's a multitude of reasons.
One is that, one ally told us that he can't always stick his neck out, for McCarthy, whenever there's a problem, on the Hill, particularly given that he has allies on both sides of this issue. He is very close with Matt Gaetz. And we know he spoke with Matt Gaetz, before he even brought this motion, Gaetz, over McCarthy. So, there is a lot going on there.
Now, the other thing, we are told, is that he hasn't even really been paying attention. He is fixated on his trial. We know he's going to come for two days. Now, he's again going back to trial, tomorrow.
He is enjoying the media coverage. He is blasting out tweets. Just a few seconds ago, he posted, on Truth Social. I was looking to see if it had anything to do with Kevin McCarthy. And instead, it just said, "Change the border," or "Fix the border."
So clearly, he is not weighing in. And he is intentionally not weighing in. He could have swayed some of these votes. He could have helped with this. And he did not.
TAPPER: Kevin McCarthy, need I remind our viewers, is credited, or blamed, with resuscitating Donald Trump, after January 6.
It looked as though the Republican Party was going to turn away, from Donald Trump, after January 6, 2021. And then, Kevin McCarthy went down to Mar-a-Lago, and did a photo-op with him, and breathed life back into him.
And, I mean, I guess, we've always known that loyalty is a one-way street with Mr. Trump. But I guess that doesn't matter to him at all?
HOLMES: I think if you look at Donald Trump, and what he believes loyalty to be, let's take a look back, to about two months ago, when McCarthy was on air, on CNBC, and he was asked if Trump was the best candidate, in 2024.
And he very clearly said he didn't know. He thought that Donald Trump was strong. But he didn't know he was the best candidate in 2024. That was something that Trump and his team took a huge amount of issue at.
Now, we are also told that Kevin McCarthy has given a list of excuses to several of Trump's allies, as to why he hasn't endorsed Trump in 2024. Some of it is about fundraising, or about the fact that he didn't want to impact certain sections, of Republican voters, on the Hill. But that has still irked people close to Trump.
I'm even told at some points that people have said, told Trump, that they don't like Kevin McCarthy. But yet Trump stood by his side, again, in the Speaker's race.
So, I do believe there is somewhat of the loyalty being a two-way street. I think that Trump did give him some loyalty, back in January. And then, he is very quick and very fickle, as we know. And I don't think that he has really recovered, at least doesn't seem to have recovered, since he did -- since that McCarthy said that he was not the strongest candidate, in 2024.
TAPPER: Yes. But then he quickly took it back.
Anyway, I take your point. Kristen Holmes, thanks so much.
COOPER: Now, also joining us, The New York Times' Maggie Haberman.
Maggie, what do you think about the former President's not exactly stepping in to help McCarthy?
MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think it was clear, this is where it was headed, Anderson, last week, when Matt Gaetz was threatening a shutdown, and Donald Trump was encouraging a shutdown, and had been for days and days and days.
Whether his intention was to give cover to Matt Gaetz, or not, that is what it did. And it gave cover to other people to join Matt Gaetz, in this push against McCarthy. And so, that is how we ended up here.
Donald Trump will always leave as many options open as possible, so he never has to foreclose anything, and then he can end up on the side of where something is going. That is often how he decides what he's doing. I think he waited to see where McCarthy was. He didn't especially feel like waiting in, for all of the reasons we just heard.
And another one, which is that McCarthy? And this, Trump did raise a lot. And frankly, this came up more than the endorsement issue. Trump wanted his impeachments expunged, from the record. He wanted McCarthy to introduce this, and push this. McCarthy did not do that. Impeachment of Biden was less of an issue for Trump than his own record.
And so, you put all of this together. And I think it is true that Trump had not been especially focused on this, in the reason -- the days leading up to this. I think he's pretty focused on it right now.
Because, I think that he sees this as some kind of an activity that he can be talked about in, witness people are talking about him, running for Speaker, which, Donald Trump has a long history of people, running non-organic drafts, for him. This has the same feel. But it's not surprising to me, because I think that he's -- somebody said to me, close to Trump, last week, he doesn't think Kevin needs rescuing, now. And I messaged that person today, and said, do you still -- does he still think Kevin doesn't need rescuing? And I didn't hear back.
But he decided he was not going to invest capital in this. And, I think, he saw where this was headed. And McCarthy's not good for him, in a primary, of his own. And I think that's something else that gets missed here.
COOPER: Alyssa, you agree?
FARAH GRIFFIN: I think that's spot-on. Listen, anyone who, any of the candidates that are considering running for Speaker, are going to have to deal with the Trump factor.
And I think you're going to see a lot of jockeying, and vying, to see who can appeal the most, to Trump, and potentially, if not get an endorsement, get sort of the tacit endorsement, or at least get him to not endorse someone else. And that's going to come with concessions.
That's a really good point, because we forget about this.
The impeachment inquiry into Biden, that was, sort of an organic House thing that members truly wanted to do. But the former President has wanted his own impeachment expunged, and no one is going to move forward with that, I would suspect, of the candidates who are putting their names for it.
So, I think that's going to be one of the biggest things that people are deciding. It's not just the number of 218. It's how far am I willing to go to get it, both to appeal to those eight members, but also with Donald Trump?
COOPER: You don't think Jim Jordan would move to try to expunge? Is that even a thing?
FARAH GRIFFIN: Well that's a --
COOPER: I mean, expunging the records?
FARAH GRIFFIN: You'd know better than me. I'm not sure that's.
CHARLIE DENT, (R) FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE, PENNSYLVANIA: Well, look, some of these guys are capable of just about anything. So yes, they could move to try to expunge. But again, these more pragmatic Republicans want no part of that at all.
And this whole palace intrigue is kind of interesting. And it's dramatic. But we've been seeing this for years. It's not to this point with overthrowing of a Speaker.
But the party's got two big problems, right now, Donald Trump and abortion. When you get beyond those two issues, all the stuff that we're dealing with, right now, this is going to be resolved sooner or later. But those are the two issues.
And every one of those Republican House members, most of them, I should say, or those who aren't drinking the Kool-Aid, but those -- they understand the liability that Trump is to all of them, to their majorities, and particularly, to those, in those swing districts, and swing states. Everyone knows it. And we'd have that -- we're not (ph) having that conversation right now.
COOPER: Scott, I mean?
SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well --
JENNINGS: Well, I've never understood this expungement business because he was acquitted, in both trials.
FARAH GRIFFIN: Right.
JENNINGS: He got impeached, and then he was acquitted. So, he effectively won, on the question of impeachment.
HABERMAN: Doesn't matter. It happened in the first place.
JENNINGS: I know.
HABERMAN: He has to get rid of it, from his mind.
JENNINGS: But how do you expunge it from every article that was written about him, the history books, or every television show that we've ever done on it? So, you can't like erase it from people's memory, nor can you erase the fact that he was acquitted. So I've never understood this.
I don't know if there was a thing in the world, by the way, Kevin McCarthy could have done, to have staved this off. Well he had to agree to the rule that led to his downfall, to get it in the first place, except for one thing.
There is some reporting, that maybe if he had wanted to go down the road of working with Dems, on this, that his "Face the Nation" appearance on Sunday?
COOPER: That seems to have been a big, you know?
JENNINGS: It seems to have turned some people.
And so, now, he said in his press conference, "I didn't want to make a deal with Dems. I didn't want to be that kind of a Speaker, and turn on the Republicans. I'm a Republican." And I get that messaging now. But if you had to go back and sort of go back and to build a DeLorean, and go back in time, and redo it, maybe you leave the Democrat messaging out, and keep that option open, so that you don't lose right out of the gate.
JAMAL SIMMONS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. I don't know if there were really that many Democrats, who would have sided up to, with Kevin McCarthy.
But I watched all this today. And I think about, at the White House, today, the President was getting drug companies, to negotiate, for prescription drugs, for seniors.
The Vice President was in the Senate, swearing in Laphonza Butler, as the new senator, from California, who's going to be in that seat, as a standing, for Senator Feinstein.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump is getting a gag order, from a judge, because he's smearing people online. Kevin McCarthy is getting kicked out of the Speaker's chair. It's, I wouldn't trust these people to run my daughter's preschool.
Like, I think -- I think the government -- the people who are watching this, are seeing a government that is working, that is being led by Democrats. And they're seeing a government that is falling apart, at the seams, which is being led by Republicans.
JENNINGS: Jamal, let me read you some numbers. 40.
SIMMONS: You keep talking about polls.
SIMMONS: It's not about --
SIMMONS: The polls said Democrats were going to lose --
JENNINGS: 42. 39 --
SIMMONS: -- the 2022 election.
JENNINGS: -- 43.
SIMMONS: Democrats won the 2022 elections.
JENNINGS: I know you don't -- I know you don't want anyone to hear these numbers, because what I'm reading are Joe Biden --
SIMMONS: It just doesn't matter.
JENNINGS: -- are Joe Biden's approval rating.
SIMMONS: It just doesn't matter.
JENNINGS: You don't think it matters that the President of the United States --
SIMMONS: It doesn't. It doesn't, because --
JENNINGS: -- has an approval rating charitably at 40 percent?
SIMMONS: Because Bill Clinton had bad approval ratings before he went --
JENNINGS: What government is working?
SIMMONS: -- into his reelection. Barack Obama had bad approval ratings before he went into his reelection. I think George Bush had bad approval ratings before he went into his reelection. It doesn't matter, a year out.
JENNINGS: No. We had good approval ratings, actually, and one with victory (ph), in the popular vote, the last one, the last Republican to do it.
COOPER: Everyone, thank you.
Up next, the gag order that Jamal Simmons, just mentioned in the Trump New York fraud trial, and why the judge imposed it, next.
COOPER: Earlier in the hour, Jake, and his panel, talked about former President Donald Trump's day in court. And it was indeed quite a day, the judge rebuking the former President, for his social media comments. He's seemingly unfazed though. He's already fundraising off this into the courtroom, calling it a sham trial.
A reminder, Trump is one of several defendants, in this $250 million civil fraud case. And he's in the courtroom of his own volition.
More now, from Kara Scannell.
So, what happened today?
KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There was an unexplained 45-minute delay. And then, the judge got on the bench, this afternoon, and said he was issuing a gag order, in this case.
That was after Trump had posted, on his social media, a photo, of the judge's clerk, and Senate Majority Leader, Chuck Schumer, suggesting that she was his girlfriend.
Now, the judge said that that was an untrue post, and Trump did not post any evidence to this. But he said it was unacceptable, saying, "Personal attacks of any member of my court staff are unacceptable, inappropriate and I will not tolerate them. Consider this statement an order forbidding all parties from posting, emailing or speaking publicly about any members of my staff. Failure to abide by this will result in serious sanctions."
And the judge said that he had warned the counsels, for the defendants, yesterday, about this, because Trump had spoken in the hallway, about this clerk. And this clerk is the judge's right-hand person. She sits often next to him, just to his side, on the bench. So, someone that he works very closely with.
So, after that testimony continued, it was Trump's former longtime accountant, on the stand. His defense lawyers got a chance to begin their cross-examination of him.
Trump saying, today, he will be back in court, again, tomorrow.
COOPER: All right, Kara Scannell, thanks so much.
TAPPER: Thanks, Anderson.
And joining us now, to discuss, CNN Senior Legal Analyst, Elie Honig.
Elie, I mean, obviously a disgusting smear, by Donald Trump. But do you think that that statement, the smear, about the judge, and his clerk, warrants a gag order?
ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: I do, Jake.
Because, what Donald Trump did here is he violated a courtroom commandment. You do not go after the staff. You don't go after the clerks. You don't go after the deputies. You don't go after the court reporters, the marshals.
When you're a prosecutor, or a judge, you take on that role, knowing that sometimes, you may be attacked, verbally, that there may be insults and criticism, thrown at you. Fine. That's part of the job.
But these folks, who work in the courtroom, they are public civil servants. They did not sign up for this. They need to be protected. I think this gag order was very much appropriate.
TAPPER: And need we remind our viewers that there is a trend, Donald Trump does this. He puts this information out. And these individuals, quite frequently, then start experiencing death threats, and not just trash talk, on social media, but actual legitimate death threats, that require police and Secret Service protection for people.
HONIG: Yes, it's a trend. It's a multi-times-per-day trend that we're seeing from Donald Trump, now.
And if we look at the nature of this posting? I don't want to give it too much attention. But what he's suggesting about this courtroom staffer is A, completely false, according to the judge, B, completely inflammatory, and C, quite likely to result in that kind of attacks and threats.
Special Counsel, Jack Smith, in the separate cases, the criminal cases, about January 6, and the classified documents, he has a pending request, for a gag order, in the January 6 case, for Donald Trump. How does the gag order he's requesting compare to this one in a civil fraud case?
HONIG: So, I think the judge, in D.C., in the criminal case, Judge Chutkan, can absolutely look at Donald Trump's statements, in this other case, the New York fraud case.
I do have to say though, what DOJ is asking for in the D.C. case is, in my view, overbroad. They are asking the judge to prohibit Donald Trump, from making disparaging or inflammatory comments, about anyone involved in the case.
Look, I was a prosecutor. You're allowed to make a disparaging comment, if you're a defendant, about a prosecutor. You can say, "These prosecutors don't know what they're doing. This case against me is worthless." That's OK.
So, I do think Judge Chutkan is going to issue a gag order. But if I was in her shoes, I would say, "You cannot make statements that could intimidate or threaten or pose a danger to a witness, or to a juror, or to a staffer." I think it needs to be narrower than what DOJ is asking for
TAPPER: Trump's defense team, they claim he's eager to testify, in his own defense.
Do you think his lawyers are actually excited about that prospect?
TAPPER: How likely do you think it is that he'll actually testify?
HONIG: They can't possibly be excited about it.
He doesn't have a great choice here, Jake. Because, this is a civil case, the plaintiffs can force him to testify. And he's only got two options. One is testify. That's a risk. The other is take the Fifth. He's entitled to do that. But because this is a civil case, this can be used against him, if he takes the Fifth, in the civil case.
So, if I'm his lawyers, I don't like either option. It's a rock and a hard place, here. I would prefer he take the Fifth. But it seems like he is intent on testifying.
TAPPER: All right, Elie, thanks so much.
HONIG: Thanks, Jake.
TAPPER: We're going to -- we'll be right back.