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State of the Race with Kasie Hunt

Second Republican Presidential Debate Set for Tonight; Trump to Meet Union Workers after Biden Joined Picket Line; Trump Makes Play for Working- Class Michigan Voters; Hutchinson: Trump "Grave Threat" to American Democracy; Manchin: In Tight Senate, I'm Welcome in Either Party; One More Thing. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired September 27, 2023 - 11:00   ET




KASIE HUNT, CNN HOST, STATE OF THE RACE: The elephant, not in the room. Front runner Donald Trump won't be there, with seven other Republican

presidential candidates set to take the stage in tonight's debate.

But in Michigan, President Biden picketed with auto workers and now Donald Trump is going to be making his own appeal to Union voters there. And

Senator Joe Manchin an important figure in basically every discussion about power here in Washington. I interviewed him I asked him about his

reelection and the President's.


HUNT: You say President Biden you think has moved too far to the left? So my question to you, if the election were being held today, would you vote

for Joe Biden for reelection?

SEN. JOE MANCHIN (R-WV): Well, I never thought about that.


HUNT: He never thought about that. We're going to have much more from that interview coming up. Hello, everyone. I am Kasie Hunt, to our viewers

watching around the world. It is 11 am here in Washington Wednesday, September 27th. Just hours until the second Republican debate and only 404

days until Election Day, this is today's "State Of The Race".

Thank you so much for being here. As we discussed the seven top Republicans not named Trump will be in California tonight for the second presidential

debate. Trump plans to skip tonight's event again.

Of course, virtually every poll shows him with a commanding lead over his GOP rivals. Candidates who dared to cross the President at last month's

debate were met with jeers and boos from a rowdy crowd in Wisconsin.

It could be a different and more formal atmosphere tonight at the Reagan Library in California. But let's be real, this really looks like a race to

be number two. And the challenge remains. Can any of these folks, any of these candidates have what it takes to be more than just a runner up?

Let's dive into this all with today's panel Kristen Soltis Anderson is a CNN Political Commentator, Republican Strategist and Pollster and the

Author of "The selfie vote: Where Millennials are leading America and how Republicans can keep up".

We also have Paul Begala CNN Political Commentator, and Author, also a Counselor in the Clinton White House, and Margaret Talev, Senior

Contributor at Axios, who serves as the Director at the Institute for Democracy, Journalism and Citizenship at Syracuse University.

I am so honored to have all of you here today for our inaugural voyaged on "State of the Race" which our international viewers can find on CNN I but

all of our viewers at home can also find on CNN Max. So our challenge is to help everybody understand what's going on today in this race.

And Kristen, I want to start with you because this is your party. And what we are going to see tonight is all of them as we outlined jockeying

basically right now to be the alternative to Donald Trump. What are you looking for through this debate, and I want to talk through each candidate

individually, but let's keep it big picture for now?

KRISTEN SOLTIS ANDERSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: The best news for Donald Trump will be if the debate tonight winds up being a draw, or if

it's a bit muddled who the "Winner" is because the best thing for Donald Trump is for the Republican field to continue to be him at 50 to 60

percent, nationally, and everybody else hovering around five to 10 percent.

If there's not a clear winner, that's what we'll get. But we thought of the last debate, Nikki Haley wound up doing reasonably well. She only went up a

couple of points in the polls. Let's be clear, she's not close to Donald Trump. But if she does a really good job in this next debate and

consolidates the field around her.

I still think she's a long shot let's be clear, but it would be the best news if you want to unseat Donald Trump for it to become crystal clear very

quickly who that alternative is.

HUNT: Paul, you're not alone.

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, Kirsten is right. She is very smart. I don't even -- be here. There's only one question and I'm just

going to be candid. I don't have any confidence in the Fox people who are - -

HUNT: It's on Fox Business debate network here in the U.S. you should note.

BEGALA: It's a conservative network. And I don't have any faith that they'll ask tough questions. Just tell the truth. There's only one question

we will see tonight. There's only one question. Why would you be a better nominee for our party and President for our country than Donald Trump


That's the only question. And most of these candidates don't want to answer that. Nikki Haley did -- I think Mike Pence did a good job in the last

debate too. Chris Christie is like a blowtorch. OK, so some of them do answer it. But most of them are like, oh, I just love Donald Trump. I love

-- if you love Donald Trump so much why you're running against Donald Trump.

HUNT: Well and here's the reality too Paul and your point is very well taken. If you dig into some of the polls that we have especially -- I think

the New Hampshire numbers we had sort of the most detailed on this.

Pence and Christie actually have incredibly high unfavorable numbers inside their own party and this is part of the reason. But Margaret, the reality

is nobody's going to beat Donald Trump if they don't figure out how to tell voters that they would be an alternative.


And, you know, let me show actually DeSantis' Super PAC put out an attack ad. It's almost -- it's strange to call it an attack ad, because it really

features like gauzy pictures of Ron DeSantis. And never actually mentioned Trump by name. But it is an attack ad, I want to show it to you and

Margaret will talk a little bit about it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 24 we have a choice. One band worked his way through Yale and Harvard Law one did not. One volunteer to serve his nation in

wartime one did not. One man stood up to Fauci and fought for freedom one did not. One man won historic reelection, and one did not. One man is the

right man to defeat Joe Biden, Ron DeSantis -- never back down and he's responsible for the content of this advertising.


HUNT: So I mean, Margaret, if he had been making this kind of argument right out of the gate, I actually think it might have gotten a lot of

attention. They're trying to do it now when the reality is, I mean, this is potentially Ron DeSantis' last stand on the debates.

MARGARET TALEV, SENIOR CONTRIBUTOR, AXIOS: It is the last stand. There are three things I'm watching for tonight. One is can DeSantis move the ball at

all, or is he stuck in the water, if he stuck in the water, then?

I mean, there's three months till the first caucuses and primaries like this is donnish so one. Two, can Nikki Haley make it two nights in a row?

She was the big sort of winner coming out of the last one, and it looked like for a minute couldn't be Ramaswamy and then things have gone down for


But three is this, the seven people on the stage have one superpower if they choose to use it, and their superpower is to all rally together to say

that Trump's background and current actions and baggage disqualify him from serving again. They -- only one or two of them, only one who's on the stage

tonight is very clearly said that.

HUNT: Right.

TALEV: If the rest of them don't say it, it takes that argument off the table. And then they're left with exactly what Paul talked about, which is,

if you all would vote for him again anyway, if he were the nominee, why are we all standing here or sitting in the audience or sitting here with our

notebooks covering this?

So seeing whether they collectively decide to sharpen and tighten that argument against the one guy who decided to counter program tonight and not

participate? That's the real question.

HUNT: Yes. No, I mean, Kristen, this reality that seems to be playing out here is you're really reminiscent of 2016, which was something that we

could see coming a mile away. I mean, Paul, I don't know -- I feel like six months ago, you and I were sitting on a set of a show here and talking

about this likelihood.

Because take New Hampshire, which Trump is polling at 39 percent ish in New Hampshire, which is lower than where he is nationally. It shows you there

are a little bit of an opportunity there. It was a place Nikki Haley got a couple points bump. But if they're all in the race at the same time, when

we get there, how is there any hope that it's anybody other than Donald Trump?

ANDERSON: Well, the thing that I hope people have learned from 2016 is in 2016, there was this kind of fantasy that if everybody else drops out of

the race, except Ted Cruz, or except Marco Rubio, that magically they'll defeat Donald Trump. And it turned out a lot of Marco Rubio's voters second

choice was Donald Trump.

HUNT: Right.

ANDERSON: And this time around, I'm hopeful that that fantasy has been blown up. You can't just hope everyone else will drop out, consolidate the

other people and you'll win. You have to take Donald Trump's number down.

And the only way to do that is going to be by making the case for why you're better. I'm a little more optimistic that the Fox hosts will ask

tougher questions in Donald Trump's not there but folks like Dana Perino and Stuart Varney are not necessarily in Trump's pocket.

I think that they're going to be able to you know -- if you had put is Fox going to ask a question about climate change on your bingo card last time,

you probably would have been like, oh, that squares not going to get filled. I hope they asked the question that you proposed, Paul, which is,

if you like Donald Trump so much, why are you running against him? Especially someone like Vivek Ramaswamy --


ANDERSON: -- I want to hear that answer.

HUNT: So Vivek Ramaswamy. Let's talk about him for a second Paul, because he is somebody that got a lot of attention. He's an entrepreneur. He has

really, like, just glued himself to Donald Trump in all ways. But as Margaret said, it seemed like people were maybe interested in him. And then

that sort of faded away as the days and weeks have gone on. What is his task tonight?

BEGALA: To switch to decaf? Alright, take a chill pill, dude. He is a lot of energy. I do like that and I respect that. But he did have this really

forceful performance in the last debate and he gained nothing from it, nothing because he's not drawing any distinctions.

He's got to move people off of that. I do think that Nikki Haley, she gained a little. She only one or did because she did say Trump ran up the

deficit and the debt. That's just a fact. And she said I don't like deficit and debt. I'm still a Republican. And that's a distinction.

And Ramaswamy is -- I'm not sure what his strategy is, except I guess, have a good time. He's very talented. But he's not gaining any votes by saying I

love Donald Trump more than people make Trump love Donald Trump. More and more and more pro Trump than Melania OK that's good but it's not exactly a

winning message when you're running against Trump.


HUNT: Yes, I mean, I guess the strategy as well, if Trump, you know, somehow ends up in jail before the Republican nominating conventions, then

Ramaswamy will be available. I know. But seriously Margaret, Nikki Haley briefly, I think she really, you know, I covered her first race when she

ran for Governor of South Carolina.

And I -- it really stood out to me that she stood on stage she has experience working for Donald Trump as his UN Ambassador. She was able to

speak very fluently on foreign policy issues, which was, you know, an evolution from the beginning of her political career.

And frankly she performed well enough to get a nickname from Former President Donald Trump who called her Birdbrain. He's very particularly

kind Kristen to --

TALEV: Women --

HUNT: -- candidates. But what is she? What's her task for tonight? And do you think that she can have a -- you know, a repeat strong performance?

TALEV: Look, I think we're talking about candidates who, even if they're on the rise are in the single digits with the exception of DeSantis -- I think

is in the double digits, but not by that much according to recent polls.

So for Nikki Haley, if the task is can she unseat Donald Trump's stature in one debate night? It's an astronomical task. But what are the measures of

success for her? There are donors in the Republican Party who are looking for a Trump alternative and trying to figure out whom to coalesce around.

Should they coalesce around Ron DeSantis? Should they pick someone else? It seems like she's the other choice if it's not DeSantis. So that's a big

opportunity for her that's really important. The other is that she does have a special role because she's a woman and because if you look at

national polls, which have their limitations, they're not state by state polls.

If you look at national polls, it's -- the early polling certainly suggests that she could give Joe Biden a run for his money in a head-to-head general

election. She is not a supporter of abortion rights. But the way she talks about abortion is much more moderated as a political or a putative a

criminal justice issue than a lot of the other guys on that stage. And those are all important assets for her.

HUNT: Yes, it's really, really very interesting. And honestly, Margaret, I don't think it's a problem to cite national polls. I mean, more than ever

before politics, all politics is national, instead of all politics being local every single time. So I do think we can take a lot from those


All right, we're going to switch gears here. Donald Trump is going to speak with auto workers in Michigan a day after President Joe Biden did. And even

the Biden campaign is gearing up for a tight rematch there in 2024, we'll show you why.



HUNT: Welcome back! As we've been discussing Donald Trump won't be in California for the debate tonight instead he's speaking to auto workers in

Clinton Township outside Detroit. He also found out of course, hours ago that a judge in New York ruled he committed fraud and stripped his business

licenses there.

We're going to have more on that in just a bit. But right now, let's zero in on what's going on in Michigan. It's a critical battleground state that

is part of the Democrats so called blue wall across the Midwest. After Trump announced he was going to visit Michigan, we saw this President Biden

beat him to the punch, walking the picket line with striking auto workers one day before Trump's scheduled visit.

Republican primary voters of course haven't had a chance to weigh in yet. But obviously, Trump has this massive lead in the polls. And really, what's

this about? He's acting like he's running in the general election already.

For that matter the President Joe Biden's campaign is acting that way too. They're going after his 2020 rival Trump, with their first anti-Trump ad.

This is going to be airing in Michigan on national cable and on Fox Business during the debate. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He says he stands with auto workers. But is President Donald Trump passed tax breaks for his rich friends, while automakers

shuttered their plants in Michigan lost manufacturing jobs. Joe Biden said he'd stand up for workers and he's delivering passing laws that are

increasing wages and creating good paying jobs. Manufacturing is coming back to Michigan because Joe Biden doesn't just talk he delivers.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm Joe Biden, and I approve this message.


HUNT: Our panel is back with me. Paul Begala I'm going to ask you straight up. I mean, what do you think of that, that strategy, that message from the

party of which to which you belong?

BEGALA: That's the first I've seen it. And for the first time I approve of that message. And I mean that -- previous Biden ad I haven't liked at all.


BEGALA: They'd been like; I did such a great job. Mommy, give me a gold star. People are not in the mood. Kristen, I could tell you doing polling

people not in the mood to hand out gold stars. 70 percent of Americans think we're moving the wrong direction. Should we run an ad that says I did

great? I did great. People don't like it.

But when you say the other guy stinks. And the way to go with Trump is this way. He's a billionaire plutocrat, who sold out the decent people who voted

for him. Not, see it's not about all the indictments and the criminal acts.

Everybody already knows all of that. I think shifting it back to. He's a billionaire who hurt the middle class in order to cut taxes for his fellow

billionaires. That's a powerful message in a blue collar state like Michigan. So I for once I love what they're doing.

HUNT: Kristen, what's your sense of where Republicans are right now in Michigan, because, you know, just to remind everybody, Donald Trump won

there in 2016. Debbie Dingell tried to kind of alert everybody send up some fliers nobody really listened to her at the time.

Obviously, President Biden went on to win it in 2020. But there clearly are openings there for Republicans to exploit and Donald Trump's going there,

he must know that. What are those openings? And do you think that there is a real chance for Republicans to win over more of this working class,

particularly white voters in states like Michigan?

ANDERSON: Well, there's a chance because it's already happened. I mean, 10 years ago, if you asked who's the base of the Republican Party. The answer

would be more kind of upscale, predominantly white suburbs. That's really where Republicans get a lot of their votes.

HUNT: -- country club Republicans, right?

ANDERSON: And if you asked who the Democratic base was? Its voters of color and its working class white voters in many of these sorts of blue collar

states. And the Donald Trump Hillary Clinton election sort of scrambled a lot of that. Republicans have lost some of those upscale suburbs. But at

the same time Donald Trump has put a dent in Democrat support with voters of color and with white working class voters.

The question is in Hillary -- the race against Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump was able to pull enough to pull it off. He was not in 2020. And so

which party can both rebuild their old coalition while keeping the new prize that they've picked up from the other side that's the big question?


HUNT: Yes. Well and Margaret to I mean, first of all, Joe Biden, you know, I do think him with a bullhorn on the picket line, like, it doesn't look

dissonant to your eye, right? It's like he's a guy who has this persona as working class, Joe.

Yes. Obviously, people in Washington are talking about his age. There's all these other issues. But he makes sense in that context, right? And the

reality is, for all of the bluster around Donald Trump and the realities that he was able to win over some of these voters, he's going to hold this

event at a non-union facility in Michigan.

And I want to show everybody what the UAW president there, remember, the UAW is on strike against all three big automakers right now, hence the

Biden visit. Shawn Fain has developed a reputation as a pretty pugnacious union leader, and he had some pretty tough words for former President

Trump, take a look.


SHAWN FAIN, UNITED AUTO WORKERS UNION PRESIDENT: I find the pathetic irony that the former president is going to hold a rally for union members at a

non-union business. And you know all you have to do is look at his track record. His track record speaks for itself. In 2008 during the Great

Recession, he blamed UAW members; he blamed our contracts for everything that was wrong with these companies. That's a complete lie.


HUNT: Tough words, Margaret, you've got a pathetic.

TALEV: Yes, Shawn Fain went on to say that Trump serves the billionaire class. So if UAW members were all listening to what he says and voting the

way he said to vote, they probably will not turn out a mask for Donald Trump. There's two things.

HUNT: But he hasn't, the UAW is not endorsed, I think we should point to.

TALEV: That's exactly what he's going to say. They have withheld endorsement, it doesn't seem like what they're trying to do is decide

whether to go with Biden or Trump. It seems like they're holding out the endorsement for Biden, making them dance a little bit more for it or

deciding whether to make a recommendation at all.

But there's another question and it really comes down to identity. And I think this is what we're going to see so much of in the closing months of

the general election, which is, yes, union members are disproportionately people of color today. But not by that much, six and 10 union members still

wait, half of union members about or men slightly more than half.

You're looking at a lot of white men in the middle of the country who happened to be union members, but also happened to be white men in the

middle of the country. Who is speaking to them? Who are they taking their cultural cues from? Where do they get their news? What podcasts are they

listen to? Who are their heroes? Who are their leaders?

HUNT: Yes.

TALEV: Where do they belong? Where do they feel a sense of belonging? And then those questions in addition to their economic interests as union

members, they're going to help shape their decision about whether to vote and who to vote for.

HUNT: It's so smart. I mean, Paul, weigh in, because this is like kind of the central challenge for your party.

BEGALA: It is. Well, Kristen referred to it that we used to call it the black and blue coalition. African Americans have blue collar workers. And

systematically the Democrats have alienated those blue collar workers and Trump has gained them into his credit, he appealed to them. But I think

Shawn Fain is pointing the way here.

Right, he says, which is true, he blamed us, and he blamed unions for the economic collapse. He blamed us for our contracts. I think, I think Biden

is spending time with Shawn Fain is very good thing. I think the way to go at Trump is this economic populism. Democrats always want to just attack

his character, which is appalling.

OK, but everybody already knows that. That's news from nowhere. When you go to those voters and say, you're good people, you voted for Trump and you've

built this country, he betrayed you. That's a very different message than saying, shut up, you're a racist, and you're not pro Trans, right, which is

what a lot of Democrats say to those Trump voters.

I would rather win them over on their shared economic interests. And it looks like Shawn Fain and also Joe Biden, God bless Joe Biden seems to get

this because he is middle class Joe.

TALEV: Trump is not going to make the case that he's the greatest supporter of union politics of all time. He's going to make the case and

environmental policy that Joe Biden and other Democrats are promoting hurts union workers economic interests. I think Biden has figured out how to play

defense on that question, as well as play offense on the question of who is taking care of you.

ANDERSON: And Trump has always tried to separate union members from Union leaders. So I think the leader of the union coming out and saying, Donald

Trump's not your guy is one thing. But will workers show up to this non- union facility rally and actually give trump the exciting, you know, rally type atmosphere that he thrives on? That's going to be interesting

counterprogramming to tonight.

BEGALA: Biden did win union households by 16 points against Trump, so he does have real appeal and real comfort there. I'm sure his people want to

boost that 16 point victory to 20 or more.

HUNT: Yes, well, I was going to say I mean 16 for the Democratic Party, that's actually not huge.

BEGALA: Historically terrible. JFK probably won the 85 percent. But it's a different party.

TALEV: If it erodes further, its --

BEGALA: If it erodes further he's through it.

HUNT: Right. And of course, this ultimately, we think these states if Democrats cannot hold the blue wall, I mean, we already know Arizona and

Georgia likely to decide the presidential election. But that Democrat have to keep the margins that President Biden had in the states with a lot of

these workers, if he has any hope of retaining the White House for Democrats.

All right, a potential government shutdown is now less than four days away here. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy basically gambling on the House floor

later today when he's set to bring up a bill that would fund the government temporary.


But at this point, it is more likely than not that it will become another embarrassing day for him, he can only lose four votes, and we can't really

see any indication that much of this has changed. McCarthy has dismissed the idea of passing a bipartisan Senate proposal and instead he's pressing

ahead with this short term bill. You'll hear him mention it. It's known as a continuing resolution, or a CR that's what he's talking about here.



REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): I'll bring up the CR regardless, because remember what it is, this is a stopgap funding to keep government open and

securing the border. I don't know anyone who is opposed to that. I think that's where people would want to be.


HUNT: Panel is back. Kristen, fundamentally, is Kevin McCarthy putting keeping his job ahead of keeping the government open here.

ANDERSON: Imagine the government's going to shut down. And I don't know that that means that Kevin McCarthy's job is perfectly safe for the long

term. This is a really raucous caucus; he's got to deal with very fine margins.

HUNT: Yes. I mean, Paul, if you were him, what would you be doing here?

BEGALA: I would be worrying about the 18 members of his party who hauled districts that Joe Biden won, many of them by double digits.

HUNT: And that form his majority.

BEGALA: They are his majority mix, exactly right, Kasie. Instead, he's catering to the eight or 10 most extreme Republican members, and he seems

very, very weak. And it's not a good look for our country. It's not a good look for his party.

HUNT: And well, he's basically daring them to vote against him, Margaret. But like, so far, they haven't shown any like fear.

TALEV: Yes. So far they've indicated they will.

BEGALA: Yes, like hold my beer.

TALEV: I don't, I don't see any way that you would avert at least a short term shutdown. I think the question is, is there a tipping point at which

the raucous caucus, as you put it, has gotten what they needed to get out of it and then can move on? Or literally does Kevin McCarthy have to cut a

deal with Democrats?

I don't think we know that yet. My guess is there's probably some tipping point where people can explain why they won and come around. But I don't

know how many days it takes. I don't know if America can wait that many days. He does.

And he started out with the 15 votes at three in the morning. In a weakened position, he was hoping to use this time to strengthen his grip on

leadership. This shows why that hasn't happened yet.

HUNT: Yes. I mean, it seems like it's going to be torture for him from here on out.

BLUE: Neither side thinks that if they shut the government down, that voters will punish them until one side feels acute political pain. This is

going to drag out.

BEGALA: I remember when Newt Gingrich shut the government down and Bill Clinton was losing in the polls, and he swing shot at around that and won

reelection a landslide.

TALEV: And won the next year.

BEGALA: So I want to thank Newt again for helping -- Bill Clinton. That's what's going to happen here. Kevin McCarthy is going to be the MVP of the

Biden reelection campaign.

HUNT: Well, I was going to say one of the things that I think Mitch McConnell probably also remembers those new showdowns. Because he is out

there saying exactly what you are saying, which is that hey, like we lose these fights politically, it's about plan. It doesn't seem to be doing

anything to keep us from the clip though.

All right coming up, Former President Trump faces new legal trouble in a New York State fraud case that involves his sons and his businesses. Stay

tuned. You're watching CNN "State of the Race". Plus, my interview with West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, does he have a future in the Democratic



HUNT: Are you considering leaving the Democratic Party?

MANCHIN: I'm not I'm not sure.




HUNT: Welcome back to "State of the Race". I'm Kasie Hunt, we're live in Washington. Former President Trump has more legal trouble surprising no

one. In a ruling, a New York state judge says Donald Trump and his adult sons are liable for fraud and that they bear responsibility for inflating

the values of Trump's assets for years.

As a result, the judge cancelled the Trump organization's business certificates that allow them to operate. And in theory, this could

potentially end Trump's control over some of his key New York properties like Trump Tower. Donald Trump's attorney said that the family would appeal

and call the ruling a miscarriage of justice.

And again, we want to be clear here. This is a civil case. And it's unrelated to the four criminal cases that president has been indicted in,

those involves accusations of election fraud and interference. My panel is back with me here. And we're also joined by Elliot Williams, thank you very

much for as I was saying, we're going to need a lot of your expertise, I think over the course of the next year as we try to cover a four times

indicted, likely Republican nominee.

But this is a pretty peculiar situation, because this case, right, Letitia James, she basically went and said, is trying to prove that this fraud was

created, it was, it is still set to go to trial. But this judge essentially looked at it and said, like, you don't need to prove anything to me. It's

already obvious this fraud has been committed; I'm yanking his business certificates. Why does the judge have that power? You can help us

understand like what happened here.

ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It's called summary judgment. It's an important step in a lot of civil cases where a judge can just on the papers

rule that there is no meaningful question of facts as to a core provision of the case.

And what the judge said is, so take the example of the triplex one of the apartments in New York. Trump had assessed it at many 10,000 square feet.

Pardon me, it was 10,000 square feet, he reported that it was 30,000 square feet, right.


WILLIAMS: By a factor of three, it could not possibly be anything other than you are fraudulently truck claiming the size of this apartment. A

judge can actually make a ruling early in a case saying that, you know, this is fraud, and we can decide on the damages and the specific dollar

amounts later.

But on the core question of did you as a party engage in acts of fraud as a legal matter that can roll that right off the bat?

HUNT: Fascinating. Kristen, politically speaking, does any of this matter?

ANDERSON: No, it doesn't matter; because these are not the criminal cases for this just for Republican voters, this is just throwing another one on

the pile. Look at the system coming after him. I actually think if you could rewind the tape, like eight years, if someone had kind of prosecuted

this case against Donald Trump, back in the early days of his presidential campaign really undercut his brand as, oh, I'm a winner. I'm this rich guy.

I'm the smart businessman; maybe there was a chance there to poke a hole in it. Eight years down the road, Republican voters think this guy's a rich

guy who's a winner, he's successful at business, and this case isn't going to change that.

WILLIAMS: Along those lines, I think the mere fact case that you had to explain well, this is a civil suit brought by the state of New York, which

is different than criminal suits brought by the state of New York, which is also different than federal suits brought by the federal government in

Washington or a state prosecutor in Atlanta, who has the ability to bring a suit. It's just too confusing for people.

And yes, these are all serious allegations against the former president. But it's sort of a jumble to the point that Kristen's making, I think

people sort of lost what he's actually being held accountable for.

HUNT: All right. And you know what, to that point, I want to show everyone a little bit of an interview that my colleague Jake Tapper did with Cassidy

Hutchinson. So you all may remember, she testified bombshell testimony to the January 6 committee, she was Mark Meadows, then the Chief of Staff's

top aide.

On January 6, she was privy to in her new book, she lays out that Meadows was burning documents in his White House. She saw everything. And she

ultimately decided that she was going to make this testimony and was ultimately, you know, thrown out by Donald Trump world, so to speak.

This was her assessment of what Elliot was exactly talking about whether or not and how voters will or won't hold him accountable for his actions, take

a look.



CASSIDY HUTCHINSON, FORMER TRUMP AIDE: People have been holding him accountable for the past few years, but obviously not accountable enough,

because we are in a position right now, where it's looking more likely than not that he could be the Republican nominee. And he has also been indicted

four times.

To me, it is sad that we're in this place as a country where we are looking at somebody who has executed this horrible assault on our democracy, and we

are continuing to give this person a platform that's not what we should stand for as Americans. And I think that Donald Trump is the gravest threat

that we will face our democracy in our lifetime, and potentially in American history.


HUNT: Eliot, what do you hear when you hear her talk about that?

WILLIAMS: You know, when she speaks about the gravest threat, there's a lot behind that. I actually think the biggest issue wants to purge the future

government that he might oversee of his enemies or of his opponents.

That to me and as someone who has served both as a political appointee and a career official in the federal government, it's a big deal when and the

kinds of stuff of autocrats when someone pledges to come in and get rid of the people or remove them from government that disagree with him. That to

me is a threat to democracy.

HUNT: Well, and Kristen, we've talked a lot today about the Republican primary and how voters stick with him. But the reality is he lost his

election to Joe Biden, because independent voters were very upset about these things.

ANDERSON: Absolutely. And I think that there's a real risk that if Republicans nominate him, they're walking into this horrible trap. But at

the same time, Republicans look at many of these national polls that we were talking about earlier in the show.

And despite all of this criminal case, 1,2,3,4 and so on and so forth, he's still holding it neck and neck with Joe Biden. When Republican voters say,

I think Donald Trump could be the next president again; they're not irrational for thinking that.

BEGALA: They're not. But there have been 27 special elections since Biden was elected. Democrats have won 21 of them. 21 in six, despite bad polling

for Biden, the performance has really outstripped the polling. Why? I think in part because the message that Ms. Hutchison was saying, there's a lot of

voters not in the core base. They're bulletproof.

He could shoot a man on Fifth Avenue he, he sexually abused a woman on Fifth Avenue. We know that from a court of law in New York, a civil case,

and he didn't lose any Republican votes. But these swing voters who determined these national elections, they don't like a threat to democracy;

by the way, they don't like a threat to their abortion rights, either. And those two issues have propelled Democrats above their polls.

HUNT: Yes, now it's very smart. All right, right now in New York, embattled U.S. Senator Bob Menendez has just appeared in federal court, where he pled

not guilty to bribery charges. His wife Nadine and the two co-defendants also were there. The New Jersey Democrat is facing calls to resign more

than half of his colleagues in the U.S. Senate calling for that.

He is accused of taking thousands of dollars in bribes. Menendez has temporarily stepped aside from his post as Chairman of the Senate Foreign

Relations Committee, but he's refusing to step out of the Senate.

All right, he is the Senate's most contentious Democrat right in the middle and at one point not too long ago. He was the most influential; I would

argue he still is pretty influential. Joe Manchin talks to me about his future next.



HUNT: Welcome back to "State of the Race". And on our first day here, we're so honored to have Senator Joe Manchin. He is of course Democrat from West

Virginia, but part of every single conversation here in Washington, whether it's the presidential race, or the future of the Senate. Senator Manchin,

thank you so much for joining us today.

MANCHIN: Kasie, congratulations on this. It's an honor to be with you. And I'm so proud of you and just wish you much success. I know it's going to be

a great show and people can't, probably can't wait to hear.

HUNT: You're very sweet. This is of course; I think we should note we're going to be both on CNN International, and on the new CNN Max. So we're

going to have audiences listening to our conversation from both sides of the Atlantic. But here in the U.S., we're just days away from a government


And you are someone who talks a lot and really values bipartisanship. And the reality here Speaker, Kevin McCarthy, he could easily keep the

government open with a little bipartisanship. But he won't. Do you think he should?

MANCHIN: I do think he should. And he did it before three months ago with President with President Biden; they sat down and talked about the FRA how

we can move forward. That was done almost with even support from both Democrats and Republicans in the House.

Now the 150 of each passed overwhelmingly, they should do the same thing again. Kevin McCarthy as a good person, I enjoy working with him. But I

would -- my recommendation would be to Kevin, don't be held hostage. It's not a place you want to be.

And it's going to happen time and time again, unless you break from that. And let them know that you're going to basically lead the house, you have a

majority of Republicans, but you're going to need Democrats for help for you to help them to help run that operation over there.

HUNT: Yes.

MANCHIN: And I think they're willing to step up to the plate. He's got a good man and a keen Jeffries to work with; I think they can do it.

HUNT: I'll see it. He clearly thinks his job is on the line. But look, I want to talk about your political future, because it's really an

existential question for so many powerful people here in Washington. For our viewers, you could run for reelection in the Senate.

You could run as a Democrat, you could run as an Independent, you could also run for President. I want to start a little bit big picture, though.

First, do you still feel welcome in the Democratic Party?

MANCHIN: Well, definitely when the numbers are so tight, like 50, 51 back and forth, everybody's welcome. Even people they might not feel that

they're aligned with. But they're welcome, because basically, from the business model in Washington, if you have the majority, then basically, you

have the ability to set the agenda. And that's what they care about.

HUNT: Right.

MANCHIN: And so with that, I must welcome in either party. They both invited me and I try to work with both of them. And I don't --

HUNT: Do you think you could get reelected in West Virginia as a Democrat?

MANCHIN: I do. It's going to be challenging. It was challenging the last time but I've been there an awful long time. They know me in so many

different capacities. And hopefully they look at the performance.

HUNT: It should be a more likely to win as an independent in West Virginia, are you considering leaving the Democratic Party?

MANCHIN: I'm not, I'm not sure. I think more or less like, would I be more comfortable as an independent because I truly am an independent. So I got

to make that decision. And when I say that, I don't look at my Republican friends except as my friends and colleagues, I might not agree with some



And I might agree with a lot of other things with them. And I work with them very honestly, upfront, and I'm not a threat to anybody. I don't go

out and campaign against Republicans, I only give money to Democrats against any setting colleague, and I won't do that from my back.

And on the other hand, those things that the Democrats in time do that I like, and there's things I don't like. I think the president has truly

moved too far to the left, he's been pushed to the left by what I would consider the extreme of the Democratic Party. And I think the extreme of

the Republican Party is pushing people like Kevin McCarthy, too far to the right. And if you're going to lead you got to lead.

HUNT: So let's talk about the White House for a second. And I'm glad you raised this. You say President Biden; you think has moved too far to the

left. So my question to you, if the election were being held today, would you vote for Joe Biden for re-election?

MANCHIN: Well, I never thought about that, because I have not gotten to that point yet. I think there was an awful lot to be sorted out before, you

can come down to.

HUNT: So you're not saying yes, you're not saying yes, you would vote for him for re-election today.

MANCHIN: I'm not saying yes or no on this, I'm just saying that I'm looking at the state of my country, where I believe that we need to be, we need to

have our financial security. We need to secure our borders, we need to be tough on crime, we need to have financial security, and we need to have

energy security.

And I have a lot of concerns with as far left, as the Democratic Party, and this administration has gone. There are a lot of good things that they have

done, I agree with. But I tried to work with whoever the president would be, what's best for the country, not just my politics. And I think that's

my job.

HUNT: All right.

MANCHIN: And my job is to represent the state of West Virginia, but to make sure my country is strong, and I support the constitution, and I defend

that constitution.

HUNT: So let me ask you, there's obviously been a lot of conversation about President Biden's age concerns the Democratic Party. I don't actually want

to ask you about that. But a piece of that debate has to do with Kamala Harris as his vice president concerns among Democrats that should something

happen to the president, she's the next in line.


HUNT: Do you think that President Biden should replace Kamala Harris on his presidential ticket?

MANCHIN: That's the president's choice. And you say whatever they have to look and make strategic decisions. The numbers aren't looking good right

now, if you believe the numbers, but polls haven't always been accurate, but they don't look that good.

So with that, they have to evaluate their internal polling to show what really the facts and the numbers that they believe, and they'll make those

decisions or strategic decisions. I know Kamala Harris, I sat with beside her in Intel, and we got along great. We know she's very bright, and we

were able to have good conversations. But right now, that's not being, the numbers don't look good. Let's put it that way.

HUNT: Would you vote for her if she were running for president?

MANCHIN: The bottom line is I'm going to see where our country is. I want to vote for what's best for my country. And right now, that's too early.

HUNT: All right.

MANCHIN: Only in America. Only in America case, it was a next election start, the day after the last election; we're still more than a year.

HUNT: You and I both know that that's our works. We've been, you've seen this really a --

MANCHIN: That's works, that's the way I work.

HUNT: Alright, well, let's talk about how you work.

MANCHIN: Let me just say this Kasie, as soon as I announced, whatever I'm going to do or not do, I'll become a target. Right now, I still have so

much work to do for my state. And I think to help bring our country together. And whatever I do, whatever I choose, I can tell you, it's all

about bringing the United States of America back to the United.

HUNT: Right.

MANCHIN: It's called the United States. I want to unite bring us together.

HUNT: So let's --

MANCHIN: We have gotten so far apart. And I feel that people, all the people are watching us. They're not divided. Washington government,

Washington politics, and Washington political parties, Democrats and Republicans both are guilty of playing on dividing us further and making

you pick a side.

There's only one side, that's the American side, don't let them force you and picking a side that you don't think is good for your country.

HUNT: Right. So fair point, well taken, however, I do want to dig in on you know, you have said and you've acknowledged that you are not taking

anything off the table. You've talked about potentially making a bid back by no label.


HUNT: So we're just going today that out there for everybody, that's a question that's been asked and answered many times and you've said again,

hear --

MANCHIN: Let me make sure you understand about no labels. I believe in no labels when they started in 2010 because that was the only thing I could

find in Washington DC that brought, that encouraged and welcome Democrats and Republicans to work together.


MANCHIN: There are platform they're no different than the DNC of the RNC, whatever they're doing. Whoever becomes a candidate whoever's weren't

running will be running on their own as an independent not as a label.

HUNT: Right, right. OK. So you're running as an independent potentially, that's what you're turning over in your mind. However everyone I talked to

in Washington both sides of the aisle, Mitt Romney has said he has told you this many times.


He said, according to The Washington Post, that if you were to run as an independent, you would all but guarantee that prep former President Donald

Trump, should he continue this apparent glide path to the Republican nomination would become president again, because you would siphon votes

from Joe Biden.

And I just want to tell everybody, I watched another recent interview you did with the Texas Tribune, where you called Trump a danger to the country

and you said that if he were reelected, we would be in an autocracy. So my question to you is, if you were to run and he were to be reelected, could

you live with yourself considering you think we would then be in an autocracy?

MANCHIN: Well, first of all, that's an awful heavy assumption, because.

HUNT: Is it though?

MANCHIN: There's something yes, the assumption is that there are favor one over the other. I guess I could say that when Ross Perot was an

independent, that he definitely intended to get Bill Clinton elected, I don't think that was the intention. But that's what people assumed.

OK, because they said it hurt George H. Bush at that time. I think that basically what happens, I am not going to be a spoiler. I've never been a

spoiler; I've never run to be a spoiler. I whatever I run for I intend to win. So my game plan would be how do you win the whole darn thing, whatever

you're involved in. Being small is not --

HUNT: What does Ms. Manchin have to say about this? I now, your daughter's into, you're running for president. But what does your wife think about you

potentially being a spoiler?

MANCHIN: You know, my, my wife has been very supportive of me. There's nobody, everybody knows me, knows I'm going to be a spoiler. You're

assuming that something's going to happen, that just their assumptions. And while they're assuming that I have no idea, I haven't seen any polls.

I haven't seen any of that, assuming that and right now being 14 months out, or 12 months out, 13 months out to the next election. Is that's just


HUNT: All right. Well, it's going to come up sooner than we think. Senator Joe Manchin, thank you very much for coming on the program today. It's

wonderful to have you on our inaugural broadcast. I really appreciate

MANCHIN: Thanks, Kasie. Congratulations and good luck.

HUNT: Thank you very much.

MANCHIN: Very much like --

HUNT: I very much appreciate it.

MANCHIN: Wish you the best. Bye, bye.

HUNT: Thank you. All right, coming up, we're going to bring back the panel to get their thoughts on the week ahead.


HUNT: Welcome back to "State of the Race". And our panel rejoins us. Before we go, we're going to ask them for one more thing that's on their minds.

Washington, the debate stage of the campaign trail what are you watching for this week, Kristen?

ANDERSON: This one's a little bit odd, because I'm going international for this one. That's perfect for the audience. I really love watching what

other democracies around the world are doing. And in New Zealand, their elections are coming up very soon, early voting has started. And that's

going to be an interesting referendum on the Jacinda Ardern.

She's you know, rose to global prominence as their Prime Minister, she then stepped down as leader of their party. It's looking like the Nationals, the

center right may form a coalition with a further right party there. I'm really keeping an eye on it, because I think it's going to be interesting

to see how post COVID politics are playing elsewhere around the world.

HUNT: Fascinating. Paul.

BEGALA: Ralph Nader a blast from the past.

HUNT: Blast from the past.

BEGALA: He was left wing third party candidate that many Democrats like me believe swung the Electoral College from George W. Bush in 2000. He has

come out and said I'm no longer going to support the far left Green Party in America. I'm going to support Joe Biden. That's a big deal because Biden

is enormously vulnerable to a left wing challenge.

Dr. Cornel West is now running under Nader's old banner in the Green Party, and he's got a lot of talent and he's getting a lot of support. And so for

somebody like Nader to say, no, I'm not he doesn't love Biden, but he is his word, not mine. He says Trump in the Republicans are "Fascists". That's

not my view. But that is Mr. Nader's view, and it'll swing some people on the left I think.

HUNT: Margaret, what do you watch him for?

TALEV: I'm watching in the next few days what is going on with the case with Bob Menendez. For our domestic audience everyone knows he's the

Senator from New Jersey. And he is now being charged in a bribery allegation.


And it has a massive potential for domestic problems for the Democrats for Menendez himself, a lot of Democrats jumping ship and saying he's got to


HUNT: Right.

TALEV: But internationally, this is raising questions because of the role of Egypt. And concerns and questions and now the U.S. government starting

to look into whether this was an intelligence operation job whether U.S. national security or intelligence or military policy has been compromised.

HUNT: Now it's a good point. I'm looking to see whether or not Kevin McCarthy is going to have another embarrassing defeat today on the House

floor as we try to stave off a shutdown. I am Kasie Hunt that is the "State of the Race" for today Wednesday, September 27th. You can always follow me

on Instagram and the platform formerly known as Twitter. "One World" is up next.