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State of the Race with Kasie Hunt
Day Two of Former President's Civil Fraud Trial Underway; Hunter Biden Pleads not guilty to Federal Gun Charges; Interview with Will Hurd; House Democrats Indicate they won't Help Speaker McCarthy; McCarthy Fights for his Job as Gaetz Pushes to Oust him. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired October 03, 2023 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KASIE HUNT, CNN HOST, STATE OF THE RACE: Could the Democrats rescue the Republican House Speaker. Today Kevin McCarthy is at the mercy of Minority
Leader Hakeem Jeffries, with the far right wing of his own party attempting to oust them. Plus right now, the Former President is attending day two of
the massive civil fraud case brought by the State of New York.
And later this hour, my interview with, Will Hurd Republican Presidential Candidate and the Former Congressman from Texas. Hello, everyone, I'm Kasie
Hunt to our viewers watching here in the United States and around the world. It's 11 am here in Washington, Tuesday, October 3, 398 days until
Election Day this is today's "State of the Race".
Its House Speaker Kevin McCarthy's move now that Florida's Matt Gaetz made good on his threat to try to oust him on the House floor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): I have enough Republicans where, at this point next week, one of two things will happen. Kevin McCarthy won't be the Speaker of
the House, or he'll be the Speaker of the House working at the pleasure of the Democrats.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: And we could find that out in a matter of ours. McCarthy telling reporters just moments ago, he's going to try and kill the Gaetz measure
this afternoon. That's called a motion to table. So it's not actually an up or down vote on the Speaker yet. Instead, it forces a majority vote on
whether Gaetz is challenged is allowed to proceed.
That vote is going to give us the first signs of where McCarthy stands. And at this hour, it seems pretty clear that McCarthy does not have the votes
that he would need to kill Gaetz's push. And what this should show very clearly, McCarthy will need Democratic votes to stay Speaker of the House.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): If you throw a speaker out, that has 99 percent of their conference, that kept government open and paid the troops, I think
we're in a really bad place for --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: That leaves so much up to Democratic leader Jeffries. He says this is the Republicans mess to clean up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. HAKEEM JEFFERIES (D-NY): We are in the midst of a Republican civil war. And it is undermining the ability of the Congress to solve problems on
behalf of hardworking taxpayers, and one way or the other that's going to have to end not necessarily in the context of what may be before us this
week, it's just have to end.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: Alright, let's dive into all of this with today's panel. Alex Conant Partner at Firehouse Strategies, he was Communications Director for Senator
Marco Rubio's presidential campaign, and a Former Republican National Committee White House Spokesperson.
Karen Finney, CNN Political Commentator and Former Senior Spokesperson for a Democratic Candidate Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign and
Tamara Keith, the White House Correspondent for NPR. Thank you all for joining us on what has turned into a very consequential news day here in
Hence, our presence on these special events set because Alex, I mean, what we're set to see playing out here on the House floor is unprecedented
potentially, or is unprecedented, I should say, in modern political history, which is the last time we saw one of these motions to vacate.
We're down in the procedural weeds now. It was 1910, Joe Cannon was Speaker I'm not sure I've walked into the Cannon office building how many times I
don't think I'd ever seen a picture of him until Manu Raju put him in his piece and there he was. But he basically invented this maneuver basically
to prove he had all the power.
It has since existed all this time. It's never been used. Gaetz is making good on this threat. McCarthy is in a really, really tough spot here. Do
you think he survives the day?
ALEX CONANT, PARTNER AT FIREHOUSE STRATEGIES: I think McCarthy does survive the day because there's nobody to replace him. There's literally -- .
HUNT: That's true.
CONANT: There's not another Republican in the House who wants McCarthy's job right now. I think if somebody wanted the job, they could have it. But
as McCarthy is proving it is a thankless job. It is the House is basically ungovernable with this sort of slim majority. When you have members like
Matt Gaetz, who are willing to blow the place up and don't care about their own leadership.
HUNT: Well, I mean, it does seem to me Alex, -- because you're my Republican -- as Karen what Democrats -- . But I mean, this, it feels to me
like I mean, John Boehner up and quit because of his faction. Paul Ryan also said, you know what, I'm out. He tried, he tried. But these people
have made lives for Republican Speakers so utterly miserable.
And it seems like McCarthy is finally you know he's not willing to say I want to leave Washington, he wants the job, and that's what he keeps saying
over and over again. But it seems like that's finally there's no other alternative.
CONANT: McCarthy really wants to be Speaker. I don't know why. That seems like a terrible job. But he really --
HUNT: -- has an aphrodisiac.
CONANT: He really wants to be Speaker and he's willing to compromise to maintain power so he's made compromise after compromise have to compromise
to stay speaker but now I think some of those bills are coming due and he just is out of political capital, which is why he is finds himself very
much at the mercy of Democrats to keep the government open over the weekend and now to keep the gavel.
HUNT: So, Karen, if you're Democrats, do you help this man?
KAREN FINNEY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, we do -- .
HUNT: Not this man in particular.
FINNEY: He is a person who was Speaker and a thin majority, who still managed to get some things done. Her name is Nancy Pelosi. I don't know
that she wants a job. I'm just saying it is possible. No, of course, Democrats don't help the Republicans at this point, a couple of things.
One of the fundamental problems with McCarthy right now is he's not even capable politically of keeping to any deal he might come up with the
Democrats. I mean, he couldn't even keep the deal he made with the President earlier this year. He has no credibility. It's very clear his
caucus, the majority of them, they don't respect him.
So even if Democrats came to him and said, do these 10 things, and we'll save you, there's no reason to believe he actually be able to take action
on it. So I think that's one problem. The second thing is Democrats have been handed a message for 2024 a culture of disruption, dysfunction and
We have saw it in the GOP presidential debate, we hit going on with Trump. We from the top to the bottom, we thought the hearings last week, were just
a joke. And now they can't even get it together to you know, get the budget down. We had this Democrats had to step in then Kevin McCarthy goes out the
next day and attacks them.
Why and particularly if no other Republicans want the job? Why should we, you know, why should Democrats take it up? Let them have it. And again,
then it gives a really important contrast for 2024 that they just can't govern. They're so dysfunctional, they can't govern.
HUNT: Well, so Alex, I mean, can you argue with? What's your argument, when you hear Karen lay that out?
CONANT: My argument is that when the Democrats have leverage, they should take advantage of it. And I think that I don't know what the deal looks
like. But I think that there are things that the Democrats could ask for it, for example, a vote on Ukraine funding in exchange for letting the
Speaker keep his job of effectively.
I think the Democrats have leverage, I think that they want to have policy wins. They want to have some political wins, too. And I think if they can
embarrass the Speaker by making him turn over power to them that is a win for them, at least in the short term.
FINNEY: This didn't have to figure out the politics. And I think this is probably part of what's going on behind closed doors of how do you then
make that happen on the number side, because you don't want any vulnerable Democrats to have to be part of that vote. So I agree with you if there was
something they just have to figure out. How do you do that in such a way you don't damage?
CONANT: Everyone in town thought the government was going to be shut down right now. Everyone in town thought there was no way that Democrats were
going to bail out the Speaker and give them the votes he needed to keep the lights on over the weekend. And nobody thought that Speaker would go to the
Democrats and accept their hope.
That happened very quickly. I think both sides are going to imposture and stay in their corners until very quickly, there's a deal. And I think we
know there's going to be a Republican Speaker, now the Democratic Speaker, and there's no alternative to McCarthy, as of now.
How we get from here to there? I think we're going to find out over the next 48 hours, and this can't be a mess. And a lot of people are going to
be very embarrassed. But we know how this ends. Kevin McCarthy is going to remain the Speaker.
HUNT: Well, so I actually I mean, I'm interested on first of all, I just want to tell everybody, we're having some technical problems with Tamara
Keith's microphone. So she's sitting here looking beautiful. She's only part, not part of our conversation for that reason -- join us later. You
should listen to her on NPR since you can't listen to her.
HUNT: So, I wish I could ask you this question, Tamara. My apologies for that but let's I want to game out kind of what happens here, because I
think the thing that we may be on the verge of seeing that we don't have any real way to get our heads around, is having no Speaker of the House,
Because if they vacate you know, if Democrats and I agree with you, Karen, it is a tough political position for them right now, all signs coming out
of that caucus right now are that I mean, maybe they in the end will save him but they are not yet ready, like we are politically not in a place
where they are ready to save McCarthy out of the gate.
So if he lets you know this motion to vacate has to be dealt within 48 hours of Monday night when Gaetz didn't. So McCarthy has until then to
decide what to do. But he ultimately will have to bring it up. If he doesn't have the votes and Democrats don't save him. What then happens is
there's a list.
And it's almost random. Someone else has a temporary Speaker of the House and they have to vote over and over and over and over again until they get
to 218 votes.
HUNT: And we have never seen anything like that in this country. It's just never happened. And let's not forget that this person is second in line to
HUNT: So what kind of pressure does that create?
CONANT: Look, it's a huge mess for the Republicans. And I think Republicans were already looking at in the House very tough re-election next year,
given re-districting, given how vulnerable some of their members or none of this helps for that?
And I think that's why McCarthy was so eager to keep the lights on what why didn't want a government shutdown? And why he really wants to get through
this as quickly as possible, which is why, look, call me pollyannish or call me optimistic. But I do think that there's going to be a deal that was
made between the Democrats and McCarthy in exchange for something.
I don't know what it is. But it's for exchange for something whether it's just giving the Democrats a little bit more power, giving them a vote on
Ukraine funding or something else, that would be a big win for them at this point. And something that McCarthy frankly, wouldn't mind getting off of
Something like that it's going to happen. And ultimately, I think this will be good for McCarthy because it'll be able to he will have confronted back
gates and some of these outliers and he will have gotten hopefully an issue off the plate if it's Ukraine funding.
HUNT: Right. We're going to have too, very quick last word.
FINNEY: Probably one of the things though is what, will the middle do? Because really the middle of both of the Democratic Senator Republican side
has a lot more power than they had been willing to exercise at this point. They could actually be the key to getting us out of this.
HUNT: I think they probably will have to be.
HUNT: I think that's a very good point to end on. But we're going to have much more about this coming up later on in the show. Tamara will join us, I
promise. But next update to Donald Trump's civil fraud trial is underway. We'll go live to New York and look at how the Former President is turning
this into part of his campaign. That's next on "State of the Race".
HUNT: Right now day two of Donald Trump's fraud trial is underway in New York, the Former President and current candidate making a show of it
speaking to the media outside the courtroom.
He's accused of inflating the value of his properties and the future of his businesses and reputation are of course at stake. This we should note not
is a civil case, not a criminal trial. Trump doesn't actually have to be in court today. But as you can see, he's showed up anyway, as he complains,
the trial is taking him off the campaign trail.
Remember, Trump keeps skipping traditional campaign events like debates, and he appears very much in campaign mode, as he rails against the judge
and the Attorney General in this case, this was Trump yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, 45TH U.S. PRESIDENT: This has to do with election interference, plain and simple. They're trying to damage me so that I don't
do as well as I'm doing in the election.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: All right, we were going to go to Kristen Holmes in New York, but instead, Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries is speaking live let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEFFERIES: -- claim to be more traditional to break from the extremists end the chaos, end the dysfunction and end the extremism. We are ready, willing
and able to work together with our Republican colleagues, but it is on them to join us to move the Congress and the country forward. Thanks.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Kevin McCarthy going to be the Speaker after today -- ?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: One of the hallways outside of the meeting room where Democrats have just been convening to talk about what they are going to do, and whether or
not they're going to save Kevin McCarthy from Matt Gaetz, his attempt to oust him as Speaker. He said we're ready, willing and able to work with
But basically, it's on them. So we have Elliot Williams is with us. We're going to talk about Donald Trump here in a second. But let's just very
quickly explain to everybody what we heard here. Tamara since we weren't able to hear from you last time. What is Jeff let's talk through what
Jeffries is saying here.
Because what I heard and you tell me if you disagree, feel free to I heard him saying, OK, we still haven't decided that we're not ready to make a
deal. But you better come to us with a deal.
TAMARA KEITH, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT FOR NPR: Right, well, and I had been texting with a Democratic lawmaker this morning, who said, McCarthy
hasn't reached out to us that he hasn't asked us for support, he hasn't come to us to talk about what we could do. And so I think that they are
still in some sort of a holding pattern.
They're trying to figure out if there are concessions or if there is something that is needed, or if McCarthy even wants them.
KEITH: Because, you know, like, he's a really, really, really weak Speaker right now. If he is a speaker, who, by all accounts is not really like a
bipartisan dealmaker, and decides that he only way to survive is by being a bipartisan deal maker that makes him an incredibly weak Speaker in terms of
what has been his political -- .
HUNT: I mean, and honestly, it makes him kind of more hated by -- factions on each side.
HUNT: All right, let's take a break from this conversation, because we've got, much more coming up in a couple minutes. I want to check in though
with CNN, Kristen Holmes, because look, she's live in New York outside this Trump trial. The reality is all of this is tied together, right?
Everything that's happening here in Washington is in no small part due to the fact that Donald Trump was President. He's egging on this faction here
in Washington. And he's taking his show man personality and aggression toward our institutions to this courtroom. Kristen, what did we see today?
KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN U.S. NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Kasie and the other thing to note here is not only was the President he's running for president
again, and he still controls a large portion of the Republican Party. So everything is constantly tied together. Now when it comes to Donald Trump
himself, the political and the legal have completely mixed.
I've been asking advisers for really months now how they were going to handle these trials and run a political campaign. And it seems as though
they at least have one idea of how to do that. And that is turning his trials into actual political events. He is going up to the cameras at every
opportunity he has.
Talking about how this is election interference and talking about the case, talking about blasting out fundraising emails, as well as attack emails on
Letitia James. They are treating this very much like they are running in this legal sphere. Now, one thing that is interesting here, and I do want
to make sure that this comes across.
Just because they are doing that does not mean that Trump is not heavily invested, in this case. Trump brand that is how he has built his entire
life as a rich, successful business. And that's why he even got the show the apprentice, which really catapulted him into fame.
It's also how he sold himself to voters back in 2016, saying look at how rich and successful I am. I build Trump Tower I can do the same for you. I
get the best deals look at me I can make those deals for the United States. And he's still saying that on the campaign trail, and let me tell you, it
does resonate with voters.
However, if that is all proven to not be the case, but he insulated those numbers that hits at the very core of his brand as a person and as a
politician. So he is watching this very carefully.
Now we did not expect him to be in court every single day from now until December 22, I fundamentally don't believe based on what I've heard from
his advisers that he has the patience for that.
But also, he wants to campaign. He wants to be out there on the trail. He wants to be running for president. So that's what he's doing right now. But
it's interesting to see how we really have no longer lines or lanes between the legal and the political. It has all really merged into just one lane.
HUNT: Yes, for sure. All right, Kristen Holmes in New York, you've got quite a beat for the next year. Thanks very much for being with us. I
really appreciate it. Alright, let's get back to our panel now, as we said, Elliot Williams is our CNN Legal Analyst and Former Federal Prosecutor.
So Elliot, as Kristen walked through, this is pretty unprecedented territory here. But you know, she's right. I mean, this case has incredible
implications for him as a, the person that America first got to know as Donald Trump.
ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: And I think what you're seeing here is a defendant that knows he's going to lose this trial. And I don't say
that, the President or anything like that. But just number one, they already lost a really big ruling last week, and the rest of the case
probably isn't likely to go different way.
Now, when you're in that scenario, it's almost your choices or fight or flight. And I think what the president has chosen here to do is fight. And
make this into a political matter, because as a legal matter, he doesn't really have much of anything. And you can just go ahead and attack the
judge your audience of one and play to the cameras, not the court.
HUNT: And just remind, let's remind everybody what is at stake here, because you mentioned that ruling.
HUNT: I mean, it sounds, it seems like a lot of this case has already been won by the Attorney General and that the business licenses are likely to be
HUNT: then so what's still at stake in the trial?
WILLIAMS: Well, I think money, the big question of damages, and how much and how they're apportioned is the big one. But what the judge has ruled,
and to be clear, this is what's called a bench trial parties can choose to not bring their case in front of a jury. That's what they did here.
And so the judge's ruling on questions such as how much money off the Trump Organization actually have to pay, whether it's up to the full $250
million, more or less, or whatever else. And there'll be spending these weeks sort of figuring out where the damage is, and the harm were and how
much needs to come back to them.
HUNT: Should they, do you think they're going to regret doing a bench trial?
WILLIAMS: Well, I don't know. Because the problem is that juries in Manhattan also tend to not view the former president that favorably, now
look on a jury you just have to get into some of the jury.
HUNT: They do not pull the jury pull plenty from all -- there are plenty of Trumpy places around New York.
WILLIAMS There are Trumphy places around, but overwhelmingly, odds are it's probably not a great jury for the former president.
HUNT: All right. That's fair enough. Alex, let me give you the last word in this block. I mean, in terms of the politics of this. I mean, there
obviously are Republicans, a significant segment of your party is desperate to get somebody other than Donald Trump to be the standard bearer. And
honestly, these pictures and the way he's acting through this show exactly why now.
CONANT: Yes, that right I mean, my firm did some polling last month, about 25 percent of Republican primary voters are not going to vote for Trump,
they are going to vote for somebody other than Trump. And then you got about 50 percent of Republican primary voters who like Trump, but they're
open to somebody else.
Right now he's winning those voters. I think he is beautiful. But you're right. There's a lot of Republicans that just really don't like him. Of
course, there are about 20 percent of the Republicans who would vote for him, if he shot somebody in the middle of Fifth Avenue.
As he said, or if he got convicted in all these cases, they're still going to vote for him. It's a big problem for Republicans is part of what I think
we're seeing playing out on the House floor today, where the party is really divided.
HUNT: Yes now, it's remarkable. Let's also now go to this, which is something that Republicans also are spending a lot of time focused on,
because frankly, it's easier for them to do that, than to focus on all the divisions we've been talking about here.
The current president's son, Hunter Biden, has left a federal courthouse in Delaware, he pleaded not guilty to three felony gun charges, including
lying to the ATF and possession of a gun while using an illegal drug. It's all related to a gun purchase he made in 2018. Hunter Biden was released on
several conditions, including not using alcohol, drugs or a gun.
Elliot, let's talk about this for a moment. I don't, you know, we're not making equivalence here. This is we're covering this because it's news.
This is the son of a president. It is somewhat unusual for this to be prosecuted in this way. What are we going to see next in this case,
obviously, the judge said Hunter had to show up today.
HUNT: He didn't want any signs of special treatment this, of course, because it's a criminal trial.
WILLIAMS: I think you're likely to see two things. Number one, he can still plead guilty at some point. I think the mere fact that a former plea deal
fell apart doesn't surprise me, it happens all the time. And I think something 96, 97 percent of federal cases end up pleading out. And this one
still can they'll just get back to the drawing board and try to avoid having this go to trial, number one.
Number two is Hunter Biden's attorneys I think are going to challenge the constitutionality of the very law that he's charged with because of the
fact that there's a movement in the law, particularly on the right, but it's, you know, you know, where the Supreme Court is to strike down some of
these gun prohibitions as violating the right to bear arms.
And what he's been charged with possesses a firearm while using drugs, which is the kind of thing that I think is on the chopping block legally,
and they're going to do it.
HUNT: Tam, let me give you the last word here because you've covered this Biden White House. I mean, when they see this, how are they thinking about
what's going on with Hunter in the context of him having to run for reelection .
KEITH: Right, so this is a deeply personal thing for the president. His relationship with his son is incredibly close. They talk all the time. And
you know, it goes back to the car accident that killed President Biden's then wife and daughter and that relationship and tie is so tight.
And yes, this is a giant headache for the White House. But it's also one that, you know, they say as a personal matter, they circle the wagons. And
when it comes to the president and his family, these are things that are not susceptible to strategy necessarily.
HUNT: Yes, no, of course not. It's the father and a son and drug addiction challenging for many American families who've been through that. Alright,
Elliot, thank you so much for coming in today. Really appreciate your time.
All right, coming up next, as we've been discussing, will Democrats ride to Kevin McCarthy's rescue, we're going to take a closer look live from the
Capitol with our panel coming up next. This is "State of the Race".
HUNT: Welcome back to "State of the Race". I'm Kasie Hunt. We're live in Washington and all eyes are on Democrats as proceedings loom to oust
Republican Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Congressman Matt Gaetz offered a motion last night to vacate the chair that's procedural speak for throwing them
Gaetz says he has enough Republicans on board to remove McCarthy as speaker or at the very least forced him to cut a deal with Democrats to stay in
power. So the question all morning has been will Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries and his Democrats come to McCarthy's aid, or will they let him
twist in the wind?
Jeffrey spoke just moments ago seemed to indicate the latter. CNN's Lauren Fox is live on Capitol Hill. She's been running around the hallways. As you
can see she's standing right outside where Democrats or perhaps Republicans were just meeting Lauren, correct me on where you are. But it sounds like
we're kind of getting a pretty definitive read from Democrats on what they're going to do here.
LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, this meeting with Democrats just wrapped actually Kasie and member after member after member
who exited, made clear there is no trust for Kevin McCarthy. There is no support from Democrats for Kevin McCarthy. And Peter Aguilar, a Democratic
member of leadership said that at this point, Democrats are not planning to bail out Kevin McCarthy.
Now we are still waiting on an official statement from Jeffries. But you also heard him talking about how this was a moment for Republicans to
decide to stand against Maga extremism, he did not indicate that Democrats were going to be coming to aid that effort. Obviously, this is a moment
that a lot of Democrats have been waiting for.
But I told, I was told that there were more than 30 members who got up in the Democratic caucus meeting and spoke about their distrust for McCarthy,
making very clear that while this is an individual decision, the caucus seems very united on how to move forward right now.
And obviously, Kasie, this has been, you know, sort of the question -- for the last month ever since Matt Gates had been threatening that he might
move to vacate the chair tried to oust McCarthy. We've been asking Democrats, you know, was there something that they wanted? Was there some
kind of legislative promise? Would there be some kind of power sharing agreement? What could be negotiated?
But McCarthy made clear just about an hour ago, that there would be no power sharing agreement with Democrats that he's a Republican, he's a
conservative, he didn't want to change the way he was governing. And that obviously could mean that at this moment, if there's no negotiation, if
there's no gift from McCarthy, Democrats seem to be headed in the direction of they're just going to let this play out on the House floor with
Republicans responsible for McCarthy's fate.
HUNT: Lauren, do you get the sense that this is kind of the final answer from Democrats? Or is, is there a little bit of discussion around? Let's
hold our, basically, keep our powder dry. And let him kind of hang for now twist in the wind for now, hang out there. I mean, and then if things get
really bad for him, perhaps they step in later? Or does this feel very definitive to you?
FOX: A lot of Democrats seems pretty resolute. I mean, Kasie never say never. Things change so quickly on Capitol Hill, as we've seen time and
time again, when we woke up Saturday morning, it seemed like there was going to be a government shutdown. By midnight, that wasn't the case,
So things can always turn on a dime up here. But members very clear that they don't trust McCarthy and if that is the premise that you're going into
this with, then it's very hard to imagine a situation in which Democrats might find a way to negotiate a deal with McCarthy, and actually believe
him enough to make a step to save him.
Now, I think one of the key questions is, if there's a procedural vote today on what is known as a motion to table, and Democrats do not vote for
that there's going to be a final vote on whether or not McCarthy should keep his job. If that happened tomorrow, perhaps there would be time to
have a conversation between Jeffries and McCarthy. But the two of them did speak yesterday.
And there is no resolution to this point that McCarthy and Jeffries would have been able to reach an agreement. So it's hard to imagine, over the
course of the next 24 hours, that would change but I always throw in the caveat. Never say Never up here.
HUNT: Yep. No, I'm with you. I've been in your shoes a time. Lauren, thank you very much. We really appreciate it. Good luck today. So we're getting
some of these quotes coming in, Karen Finney from members, Jake Sherman over at Punchbowl News is quoting Zoloft and saying, "I will resign before
I save Kevin McCarthy. But our unity is our power. I will do whatever Hakeem needs".
FINNEY: Loves her law firm, she put it out there, this goes back though a couple of things that we were talking about earlier, which is even if they
thought they could get a deal. Can Kevin McCarthy, does he actually have the political juice to keep his word? He doesn't. And we've seen that over
and over and over again.
I mean, he lost a lot of juice on the 15 rounds it took to become speaker. And he's been sort of led around by the Maga wing. And I think what was
just reported that Hakeem Jeffries pointed out, this is a moment for Democrats to say, you know what GOP majority of Americans don't support
Maga. We saw that in 2022.
You stand up to the, we've stood up to them. You do it and again, think the question will be, what did the people in the middle do? What the folks in
those 18 districts that Joe Biden won, who know they're going to have a tough race. How do they react?
HUNT: Well, you know, underneath this quote, I'll do whatever Hakeem needs. She's kind of saying like, look, I have no interest in saving this guy. But
there clearly is somebody making an argument that, hey, we might need to save this guy, Tam.
KEITH: Yes, she does seem to be leaving the door open to potentially saving this guy. I just keep thinking that if this were a movie, or a Christmas
movie, that, you know, there'll be this bipartisan coalition that would come together to save the speaker who would have been visited by some sort
of a ghost in this bipartisan governing thing would happen that would make Americans really happy. But this is not Hollywood. This is not a movie.
HUNT: This is not this American president or -- .
KEITH: Or any of those things. And more likely, we're headed for some sort of messy situation that ends up with, in all likelihood, a speaker that can
get enough Republican support to be the speaker, whether that's McCarthy or someone else.
HUNT: Right. So let's come back around to that, Alex, because the reality is, and I think you said this right at the top of the show, and it's been
the reality the entire time is what it's what allowed Kevin McCarthy to get the gavel that he has, there is no one else right now so if not Kevin
CONANT: Right and as long as that question doesn't have an answer, Kevin McCarthy is going to be the Republican leader in the House, which means
he's going to be the speaker. And look, he has a slim majority, but he has a majority. Matt Gaetz, I don't think is ever going to vote for McCarthy.
But Matt Gaetz did give up back in January and allow him become speaker then. I think at some point Matt Gaetz was going to get his pound of flesh
and -- home if not, that doesn't happen, it gives the Democrats a lot of power, a lot of leverage. And there, they will make some sort of a deal.
They have a price. The question is, when does McCarthy meet it?
HUNT: Is there a risk for? I mean, I guess I wonder if this drags out long enough, Karen, do Democrats get. I mean, maybe some of the part of the
calculations, they can get a better deal if Kevin McCarthy is because Kevin McCarthy get more and more desperate, right? Why? I actually kind of
understand from a political perspective, right, when you start to kind of feel these situations out like we shouldn't give it up right now, because
we're going to get more later.
FINNEY: Of course. I mean, and that is classic negotiation 101, right. You hold out as long as you can to see what you might get. Absolutely, I mean,
and again, we've seen Kevin McCarthy in these desperate spots many, many times.
And so yes, if your watch, if you're Democrats and you're watching this, you're saying, well, let's just see how this shakes out over the next, you
know, 10, 12 hours and see maybe, you know, again, here's our list of things. And you know, go for the, all the things you thought they would
never say yes. Do. Why not?
CONANT: Yes, the one thing we can be sure of is McCarthy is going to do whatever he has to do to keep the gavel.
HUNT: Right, that that is a very good point. The other thing that's going on here, Tam is that Democrats, they have and Nancy Pelosi amazingly kept
her group together with a majority that's almost exactly the same size as the one that Kevin McCarthy has.
But there are some divisions inside the caucus between the progressive wing and these more moderates that Karen's been talking about. Pramila Jayapal,
who leads the Congressional Progressive Caucus spoke briefly with reporters and was very definitive, watch what she had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): We're not voting in any way that would help save speaker McCarthy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: We're not going to help it anyway. So there you go. The progressives don't want any part of it.
KEITH: And why would they want any part of it? Why would they want to help a Republican Speaker who just put up how many sort of hard right bills. And
the only reason he went for the bipartisan solution is because none of the hard right budget bills actually could pass with Republicans alone.
You know, he, he is not, and she sums that up. He's never going to be an ally to the Progressive Caucus, that's just not going to happen.
HUNT: Right, yes know, whereas he could or his Republican moderates could find, I think common ground with Democratic moderates.
FINNEY: Possibly. But again, if I'm Pramila Jayapal, I'm thinking, this is how we went in 2024. Again, their chaos, their dysfunction, they simply
can't govern. We cannot trust them to govern. And even for Democrats who might be in tough districts that are actually going to be a winning
message, because the proof is in the tape.
And here's the thing, even if Kevin McCarthy somehow survives this, we're going to see, do any of us think we're not going to be right back here
talking about the next crisis. So it's going to continue to be governing by crisis.
HUNT: Now, the last time I was sitting at this desk was my daughter, who's now seven months old. I was pregnant with my daughter and we were covering
speaker McCarthy. And here we are, again, back at the desk covering speaker McCarthy hanging on to his job. All right, coming up, I'm going to talk
with Republican presidential candidate Will Hurd, a former Congressman. He also knows all the players in the ongoing drama on Capitol Hill, that's
HUNT: Welcome back to "State of the Race". Coming out of their conference meeting moments ago, multiple House Democrats tell CNN they will not vote
to save House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. McCarthy of course faces a vote to oust him from his speakership.
Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz brought the motion and a handful of other hardline Republicans say that they are standing with him. And we're joined
now by someone who's very familiar with how all of this works. Former Republican Congressman Will Hurd who is, of course, also running for the
2024 Republican presidential nomination, Congressman Hurd, thank you so much for being with us.
WILL HURD, U.S. REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Always a pleasure being on. I got to say, I don't miss being in the house.
HUNT: You know, that I am not surprised to hear you say that based on how things are going today. And honestly, I'm very interested to talk to you
about your presidential bid. That's why I wanted you to come on the program today. But considering the drama that's playing out, I do want to start
with your former colleagues in the House.
Kevin McCarthy seems to be willing to do almost anything to hang on to the speakership. But it seems like his paths are they keep kind of closing in
front of him. How do you see this playing out? Do you think there is an alternative to a House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in the Republican Party?
HURD: Well, as of right now, the answer to that is no. How does this play out? I've stopped underestimating Kevin McCarthy. Speaker McCarthy has
gotten himself out of a number of jams since he's been speaker. I'm sure he has a plan, a strategy for this. But ultimately, this has been created by a
bunch of right wing nuts in the Republican Party, who just want to interest in creating chaos.
They're not interested in solving problems. They say that they want regular order, which means appropriation bills come up, you know, and you vote on
each bill. But they're not going to vote for those. They don't even vote for the rules in order to have that debate on the floor. And Congress has
more important issues to be thinking about.
They should be talking about how we address legislation to deal with AI that's going up in every single industry. How do we deal the increased debt
commission or a way to deal with our national debt and the federal deficit? How do we address the concerns about Ukraine to make sure that we're
helping our partners in Ukraine, continue to take it to the Russians?
And most importantly, how do you address and streamline legal immigration as a tool to address these, the crisis that we're dealing at the border?
That's what we should, that's what Congress should be talking about. And that's why they have no approval rating, because the American public just
thinks they're a bunch of clowns.
HUNT: A bunch of clowns, we heard that, you know, some people Republicans calling a clown show. Can I ask you about Matt Gaetz? Do you think he's a
responsible member of your party?
HURD: Of course, not. He never has been, he's more interested in getting attention and clicks on his social media than he is in governing. And I
think his opposition to Kevin McCarthy, the very beginning, this is a perfect example. He got everything he wanted.
And he still didn't want -- he still wants to refuse on supporting Kevin, the things that he claims that this isn't personal. Well, this is personal
for him, because he's trying to be, he's trying to act like he's a tough guy. And he's not. And so he's not serious. And it's unfortunate that you
have, that that one person like that is able to derail the entire operations of the People's House.
HUNT: It is really quite something. All right, let's talk a little bit about the presidential race. And we keep calling him the elephant in the
room, but he's really the elephant who hasn't been willing to join the debate stage. Still, he's the leader in polls. And that's Donald Trump, who
you speak out against very aggressively, more aggressively than some of your other rivals for president.
He is back in court in New York. What do you have to say, not just to him, but to the voters who seem to be rewarding him for, you know, doing things
like what he's doing showing up to his civil trial sitting in the front row, even though he doesn't have to basically campaigning in the courtroom?
HURD: Well, my message is this. Donald Trump is not running for president to make America great again. Donald Trump is running for president to stay
out of prison. The fact that he had to be in a court rather than on the campaign trail, or on a debate stage is an example of them.
And for those that like Donald Trump still and voted for him twice, you know, he's got baggage that's going to hurt us in in November, despite what
these national polls say, in November of 2024 if Donald Trump is our nominee, we are willingly giving the election and giving four more years to
Just read the words of John Kelly. John Kelly confirming some of these terrible statements Donald Trump made while he was president. You know,
just there were disturbing, criticizing our men and women who put on the uniform, that are willing to put themselves in harm's way that are willing
to put their lives on their line to protect our freedoms and opportunities.
And Donald Trump makes fun of these people makes fun of these patriots. To me, that's just disgusting. And we've seen this kind of behavior of Donald
Trump all his life, he's a fraud. He shouldn't be president United States. And if we elect him as a GOP nominee, we're threatening whether this
experiment we call America is going to be able to last for another 247 years.
HUNT: You know, honestly, you took my next question out of my mouth, because I was going to ask you about that interview that Jake Tapper
confirming with John Kelly, so many of those stories about how the former president spoke about our wounded service members.
I do have to ask you though, your point's very well taken about the general election. But again, this doesn't seem to be resonating with Republican
voters in the primary and you obviously have been trying to appeal to some of those voters. And you have put out, you know, you've raised questions
about what is next for you.
Initially, you had said your campaign was at an inflection point. Now you're looking to see if you have the resources to continue. Do you think
you'll be able to have a shot at making the stage in Miami? And if you don't, what's the plan?
HURD: Well, look, I think Governor Chris Sununu of New Hampshire has said it best. If there's not a pathway to victory for folks come winter that
it's time to start consolidating. And here's what I do alone. Like, you know, spending time on the ground, the issues I talk about resonates with
folks, people ask me questions about why should we be supporting Ukraine.
Are we ready for this new cold war with China? What should you know? Is a robot going to take my job? How do I make sure my kids are ready for jobs
of the future? These are the issues that voters care about. And unfortunately, only 23 percent of Americans vote in primaries. And so I'm
assuming people that are watching your show are probably going to vote in primaries. But we need more people voting in primaries most people are
still not focused on elections.
They're not realizing that early voting in some places start probably in late December, and that's right around the corner. And so ultimately, yes,
there's going to be a group of people that can support Donald Trump. Donald Trump is the clear front-runner, but his victory is not a fait accompli,
this is not a given. And there are still a number of weeks left to be able to get someone who can beat Donald Trump.
HUNT: Very interesting. And I will say, so, we're actually live on CNN International in addition to being on CNN Max in the U.S. We probably have
a lot of folks who aren't actually voting in the primaries, but are very invested in who America ultimately chooses, because they care so much about
our role in the world.
Speaking of one issue that actually does cross borders and has driven nationalist political movements in many countries, not just here in our own
is immigration. And this is something that we're seeing more and more about, I know, it's something you dealt with as someone who was from a city
in Texas, where, obviously the population many of them are immigrants to this country.
But that said, the migrant wave right now that's coming is tough. I mean, we were reporting here at CNN that the governor of Illinois is on the phone
with the White House, ask them what they're doing about Governor Abbott busing migrants up to Chicago. Do you think Governor Abbott should be doing
that? And what is the ultimate solution here?
HURD: The issue is not Governor Abbott busing, you know, 40, 50 people to Chicago. Joe Biden is flying hundreds of people to Chicago, LA, New York.
The issue here and our friends in Europe have experienced this. With illegal immigration over the last couple of years, they've had to deal with
issues of asylum and amnesty.
The bottom line is, asylum is a very clear process and wanting to come to America to get a good paying job is not a criteria and not a reason to
claim asylum. And right now, the Biden Administration is treating everybody who's coming into our country illegally, as an asylum seeker. That is the
draw that is bringing, that is bringing people here illegally.
And the way to address that is to stop doing it, one. And then two, we got to be dismantling these smuggling networks that are throughout Central and
South America that's bringing people into our country illegally, and then streamline legal immigration. So these are the steps that can be taken to
address this problem.
HUNT: All right, former Congressman Will Hurd, candidate for president, thank you very much for joining me today, I really appreciate your time,
HURD: Always a pleasure.
HUNT: All right. California's newest Senator Laphonza Butler being sworn in this afternoon, Vice President Kamala Harris, a friend of Butler's who also
served as a senator in California, up until moving into the East Wing will do the honors. They've known and worked with one another for over a decade
Butler is being appointed to Dianne Feinstein seat after the longtime Senator passed away last week. The ceremony is set to begin around 3 p.m.
Eastern Time. You're watching "State of the Race", we'll be right back.
HUNT: All right, back to our top story this hour. What could be a decisive day for U.S.? What is the decisive day for U.S. House Speaker Kevin
McCarthy as he looks to fend off this challenge from Republic fellow Republican Matt Gaetz.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GAETZ: I have enough Republicans where at this point next week one of two things will happen. Kevin McCarthy won't be the Speaker of the House or
he'll be the Speaker of the House working at the pleasure of the Democrats.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: McCarthy says he'll try and kill that measure in the coming hours with a procedural move called a motion to table that would allow the House
to vote, but it's not going to be directly on the speakership itself. It's an attempt by McCarthy to prevent Gaetz challenge from coming forward. It
does take a majority though if McCarthy were to win that, he's safe unless Gaetz just introduces another motion to vacate, which he's threatened to do
Obviously, the big question here, House Democrats McCarthy is it looks like is going to need their support and so many of them are signaling that
they're just not going to give it to him. That could have course, be the ultimate problem for McCarthy. He has been trying to appeal to stability to
try to keep his gavel.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCARTHY: If you throw a speaker out, that has 99 percent of their conference that kept government open and pay the troops, I think we're in a
really bad place.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: And McCarthy of course, could be headed to a really bad place as well this afternoon. It all depends on how many people are going to stand with
Matt Gaetz. I'm Kasie Hunt. That's the "State of the Race" for today, Tuesday, October 3. You can always follow me on Instagram and on the
platform formerly known as Twitter. Don't go anywhere. "One World" is up next.