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State of the Race with Kasie Hunt
Ukraine: Russian Attack On Shopping Area Kills At least 50; Chaos In The U.S. House Of Representatives; Furious GOP Finger-Pointing After McCarthy's Removal; Biden WH Waving Federal Laws To Build Border Wall; The Future Of Ukraine Funding In The House; One More Thing. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired October 05, 2023 - 11:00 ET
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KASIE HUNT, CNN HOST, STATE OF THE RACE: Fear and Loathing in the GOP with the House paralyzed by Republican infighting. Members are beginning to
worry that the chaos will cost them their majority in the 2024 election. Meanwhile, other Republicans like Nancy Mace think a Speaker was House is
the perfect time in place to do a little fundraising.
And President Biden is waving dozens of federal laws to build more of the wall along the southern border. I'm going to talk to Democratic Senator
Chris Van Hollen. Hello, everyone. I'm Kasie Hunt to our viewers watching in the United States and around the world. It's 11 am here in Washington
Thursday, October 5.
It has now been two days since the House of Representatives have to Speaker 102 days until the Iowa caucus. We're just 396 days from Election Day. This
is today's STATE OF THE RACE. The race to replace Kevin McCarthy is on. The idea is to find someone who can get 218 Republican votes by next week.
Good luck with that. The top two candidates right now House Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan and House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, Jordan, remaining in
Washington this weekend to work on marshaling votes. Nothing else can happen in D.C. this weekend because McCarthy's ouster has completely shut
down House business. Here is one Republican describing the chaos.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. GARRET GRAVES (R-LA): Effectively someone threw a grenade right in the middle of the House floor. There's a reason this hasn't been done in well
over 100 years. The House is frozen. They can't refer bills to committees right now. You can't actually legislate on the House floor right now. So
this effectively has frozen the country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: It is not a great look for Republicans who are hoping to keep control of the House in next fall's midterm elections.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This move does the danger, a majority I think the coverage alone and how and the cast exists?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm telling you, it definitely puts the majority in jeopardy when you see disunity.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you worry that it could cost you the majority? Could it cost you the majority?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It could.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: It could. And of course, there's much more than just the majority at stake. There are lives literally on the line in Ukraine. And we are
tracking breaking news at this hour of a brutal Russian attack today. This is the aftermath of what authorities say was a Russian missile strike on a
shopping area that killed at least 50 people.
Some of those killed were reportedly attending a funeral at a nearby cafe. So that is what's at stake. And funding for Ukrainians to fight this war
against Russia is now a critical flashpoint in the race for Speaker, money for guns, ammunition, etcetera in danger of running out just ahead of what
is said to be a brutal Russian offensive this winter.
Let's get straight to CNN International Diplomatic Editor, Nic Robertson, Nic, thank you very much for being here, obviously terrible scenes out of
Ukraine. It really underscores the stakes of what is unfolding here in Washington right now.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, this is the single deadliest killing in Ukraine in over a year that the Russians have
perpetrated a massive precision missile hitting that shop and cafe where people were holding awake, tiny village, but 330 people about 20 miles, 30
kilometers from the front line.
The Interior Minister has condemned it, the President Zelenskyy has condemned it, and the Defense Minister has condemned it. They're all
calling it Russian terrorism and all linking it back to that lack of funds that may or may not come from the United States.
The Defense Minister saying look, this Russian aggression, the only way to take it on here is through a coordinated and planned effort supported by
all our allies and partners now is not specifically naming and shaming anyone here. But the message is really clear. There are no lines to read
They want the continued support. This is an area in Ukraine that has been under huge Russian artillery pressure. Over the past couple of months, the
government there has asked civilians to leave the area, this particular village, nowhere near the front line, I mean, 20 or 30, 20 miles, 30
kilometers away from the front line.
Yet it's been targeted by a precision weapon. And we've seen Russia do this recently target popular cafes in towns in that area. And this appears to be
at the moment, another one of those a deadly, deadly effect and a real moment for Ukraine to reflect on what it could cost them if they don't get
this continuous support from the United States, Kasie.
HUNT: Now, indeed, and you know, my understanding from you and our other CNN colleagues is that this money is basically running in danger of running
out in December.
Nic Robertson, thank you very much. The strike and Ukraine of course illustrating all the uncertainty as we've been discussing in the House
those implications go far beyond Washington. And I want to dive into it all with today's panel. Alice Stewart is a CNN Political Commentator, and
Former Communications Director for Senator Ted Cruz.
Ashley Allison is CNN Political Commentator, Former Obama Adviser, and Paul Kane is The Washington Post's Senior Congressional Correspondent. Thank you
all for being here. Paul Kane, I want to start with you. Because obviously these pictures underscore what we're dealing with here in the real world as
much as you know, you and I have covered for many years.
That what happens in the hallways here, this has become actually a real flashpoint maybe one of the top two issues in the race for Speaker that's
emerging it may represent other things as well. But the timeline here is incredibly difficult. Zelenskyy facing this money likely running out as
soon as December, we've got a government funding deadline in mid-November and a Speaker's race with no obvious end in sight.
I mean, it does seem like there's a very real danger, this money isn't going to keep flowing. What are the political dynamics that are making that
PAUL KANE, SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT AT WASHINGTON POST: Yes, you and I have covered these races before, whether it's for the top post or one
of the junior leadership races. And usually it's just about sort of personalities, and who's known each other the longest, and it turns into
HUNT: It's a little bit like high school?
KANE: Yes, this is we're talking global stakes here. You know, they, Kevin McCarthy's sort of final act was in letting himself on fire and letting his
own people take him out. It left this question hanging over the entire Congress. He could have done things differently.
He could have done what John Boehner did and realize I'm going to lose this vote. Instead, I'm going to resign. I'm going to give myself a month to
clean out the barn and do things like fun for Boehner, it was more minor stuff.
KANE: This is about funding, people who are fighting our biggest enemy right now Russia. And right now Jim Jordan is out there saying no, I don't
support funding. And he's in a neck and neck race with Steve Scalise and the final votes are going to be those people who are the most rabidly anti
HUNT: Yes, I'm glad you mentioned it because my colleague Manu Raju caught up with Jordan in the hallways of Congress yesterday. And he asked Jim
Jordan about the Ukraine funding. And I think it's very illustrative how he handled the question, take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): I've been clear that there are two fundamental questions that need to be answered. What's the goal? Is the goal, something
negotiated peace? Is the goal, something get him out of Eastern Ukraine? Is the goal, to get the Russians out of Crimea, which they had during the
Obama administration we've had for now nine years?
What is the goal? What is the objective? Second question was if you can tell us what the goal is, how's the money being spent? How can we account
for that? I think the American people are entitled to know the answer to those two questions before we continue to send their hard earned money to
protect Ukraine's border where we have what's happening on our border.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: So he ties those two things together, Alice Stewart, what's happening on the southern border in the U.S. and what's happening with Ukraine?
There's a reason he's doing that, because one of the things he's saying here is OK, we can vote on Ukraine funding, if it's tied to significant
policy changes around the southern border.
Policy changes that would be unacceptable to Democrats in the Senate, for example, which effectively would kill the Ukraine aid package outright.
He's also of course reflecting an emerging reality in the MAGA base of the Republican Party that they simply don't want to continue funding this war.
That obviously is very different from where the traditional Republican Party has stood for many decades before this.
ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Right. Look, the interesting thing to notice, by doing nothing, right now with things the way they are
by doing nothing, Republicans are doing exactly what they want. And that is delaying aid to Ukraine, which is unfortunate.
What Jordan just said is the sentiment amongst many Republicans right now, I don't agree with this. But their concern with this Ukraine aid is that
there's no transparency. We don't know how it's being spent. What is the end game? Well, we know all the answers to those questions.
But they're using those as reasons to justify not continuing the aid to Ukraine, which is unfortunate, because that money for Ukraine is not
charity. It is an investment in democracy and freedom across the world. And we should support this. But what they're doing is, as you mentioned,
they're using that as part of the horse trading is.
We will consider this Ukraine aid, if you will consider helping to secure the border. And the interesting thing news this morning is that President
Biden has agreed to, putting some money to building a wall along the border. So there is some movement on helping with the border problem.
And a lot of it's because some of these have spilled into Democrat cities across the United States. But if Biden in the administration is willing to
give some on the border, there may be some wiggle room with Republicans with regard to aid to Ukraine. But now what we're seeing with Russia is
even more important than ever.
HUNT: Right, we are going to talk more about the border of fight a little bit later on in the show. But suffice to say the politics are very tricky.
Ashley, along those lines, I mean, do you think what the White House's options here are in terms of continuing to fund Ukraine? I mean, do you see
a world where they're willing to give border policy concessions?
I mean, I find my sort of take is that the issue is so demagogue in the Congress that there would be no way anything that would be acceptable to
the Republican House would also be acceptable to the Biden White House. But that could potentially really put this Ukraine money at risk.
ASHLEY ALLISON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, I mean, I think you have to deal with both issues. But to tie one to the other is quite dangerous. By
not dealing with Ukraine and funding Ukraine, you're basically showing a sign to the world that you are OK with potentially a dictator Vladimir
Putin taking over Ukraine, which also is a signal.
What we might do in the world of we're trying it around with China. But we also know what the midterms coming up the border will be an issue, what's
happening in various cities. And so I think if they can have a conversation and try and bifurcate, this path forward and deal with that.
Now, they're not going to go as far as Jim Jordan wants to go, and it will never get through the Senate, the House Republicans. And quite honestly, I
think the Democratic base during the midterms would revolt as well, but trying to do some negotiations to say we cannot hold this Ukraine funding
hostage because it sends a signal to the larger world.
HUNT: Because I mean, bottom line, Paul Kane, if they just put this funding for Ukraine, on the floor of the House and on the floor of the Senate, it
would likely pass with overwhelming majorities. The issue is that the Speaker of the House controls what goes on to the floor of the House of
And that's where this stuff is getting tripped up. But, you know, I keep coming back to this bigger question about the Republican Party and their
recent willingness to. I almost don't know how to describe it. But they're sort of dancing a little bit with Vladimir Putin, who is, you know, a
And when you think back to I mean, how many Reagan dinners have we attended in our lives, right, covering American politics. And this was a man who
told Gorbachev tear down this wall, we see the end of the Soviet Union, and just, you know I guess 30 years is not that short, 40 years, it's not that
short. But it's a very significant turnaround. And I still have trouble wrapping my head around it.
KANE: It's not 30 years. Think back in 2012. You were covering Mitt Romney's campaign. That's, you know, just 11 years ago, and Mitt Romney got
mocked because he said, Vladimir Putin is our number one fear.
HUNT: Right, biggest threat.
KANE: And Obama's biggest threat yet. And so it has gone not fully 180 degrees. You still have a huge majority of Senate Republicans who are
traditional hawks. It is just the House Republican Conference has just turned into this completely destabilized place. And they drift so quickly,
so fast in whatever direction, the far right conservative media goes.
And you're seeing the vote totals grow each time they have an amendment. 300 million here or there for Ukraine, the totals keep going up. In July,
it was about 73. Within the middle of September, it was 93. Then a couple of amendments got over 100. The last one got more than half the republican
conference to saying no to Ukraine. It is just moving so quickly.
KANE: And it's hard to understand other than the far right media echo chamber had created this.
HUNT: Right, -- eco system. Yes, it's a really stark shift. All right, everybody stick with me because ahead with a battle looming for the Speaker
here in Washington. House Republicans are turning on each other and it is getting very ugly.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PATRICK MCHENRY (R-NC): The Chair declares the House from recess subject to the call of the Chair.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: Ouch. You don't need me to tell you that House Republicans are furious. You could see it right there. That was when temporary Speaker
Patrick McHenry took over the gavel from Kevin McCarthy right after he got thrown out as Speaker. Much of the ire among Republicans is aimed straight
at this man Matt Gaetz.
He filed the motion to remove McCarthy, New York Republican Mike Lawler told CNN that Gaetz should be tossed out of the conference. And Chip Roy of
Texas well, really the only way to describe it as that he went off.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Should he be kicked out of conference?
REP. MIKE LAWLER (R-NY): In my opinion, yes.
REP. CHIP ROY (R-TX): You want to come out me and call me a rhino you can kiss my ass. You go around talking your big game and you thumping their
chests on Twitter. Yes, come to my office to come out and debate mother. I'm not going to go to a nunnery because -- there were people who were
buried over in Normandy who deserve us to stand up for what they fought for.
So that's what I'm going to do. And all of you -- out there who are out there saying what you're saying out on social media, you stick it, I'm
going to go down to the floor and do my job. And I'm going to stand up for the people who fought for this country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: Well, that's really all, you need to see about all of this understand what's going on. Republicans, of course, poking your face during that trip,
right exchange was pretty priceless.
KANE: I missed that -- . I'm missing the lot as well -- Oh, well, that wasn't radio. That was video man. Oh, you know, think about Matt Gaetz is
he is reviled and watching that debate on Tuesday. You could just see everyone was looking at him in bad ways. Look if somebody else were leading
that revolt, they might have gotten another half dozen votes.
KANE: He was losing votes.
HUNT: Including Chip Roy may be.
HUNT: He was part of the gang. And you know, back in January -- .
KANE: That Gaetz made it so much about himself. And he was the showman was what really drove that vote count down. I think that's part of the reason
why McCarthy just resigned outright, because he knew there was probably half a dozen more, who just didn't want to be associated with Matt Gaetz.
Look, there's going to be real infighting. And first, they have to nominate a Speaker, then they have to try to get that person elected and then
they're going to have --
HUNT: And then there's going to be policy fights after that.
HUNT: So one thing that stood out to me so there had been some questions I started, I got some from members of my own family, like, why are they just
leaving? And there's no Speaker. Why are they picking another Speaker right now? So the answer to that is actually a little bit dramatic.
Congressman, Garret Graves, who is one of McCarthy's really top kinds of allies and negotiators and all this mess, put it this way yesterday, take a
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRAVES: I think if we had stayed together, in the meeting last night, I think that you would have seen fists thrown and I'm not being dramatic when
I say that there are a lot of raw emotions right now. I think it was best to let folks go back home, decompress a little bit, and then come back
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: And Alice, some of his colleagues have said that, you know, if they had actually tried to elect to Speaker on the floor, the day that they
threw out Kevin McCarthy, it might have come to blows on the House floor.
STEWART: I wouldn't doubt it. And let's just give a round of applause to Chip Roy. I think what he said, look, to say that Gaetz is reviled is an
understatement. The only good thing about the last 24 hours is that we're talking about something else besides him, but it's his collateral damage.
Let me be quite clear, one of the mildest mannered kinds, Southern genteel man in Washington is Congressman French Hill from Arkansas. The other day,
he told Gaetz to eff off now for him to say something like that. Gaetz is really getting under the skin of people.
And the problem and the frustrating thing about this entire situation is this really doesn't have anything to do with Ukraine funding, border
funding reining in spending. This is about Matt Gaetz and his personal grievances against McCarthy. And it's nothing more than that.
And he was able to cobble together seven desperate souls that wanted to glom on to him and oust to the Speaker. Now, those seven people are
fundraising off of this, and that is making people even more frustrated.
HUNT: Yes, you know what, let's go to that. Because as I was mentioned, Republicans are at odds over another element of this and that is these
members, specifically some of these eight that ousted McCarthy who are trying to fundraise off of the role that they played.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY MACE (R-SC): You're damn right. I'm fundraising off of this right now, because the establishment is coming after me for taking a
principled stand. And if your viewers want to help out, they can go to nancymace.org.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: So Mace later tweeted that interview clip she asked for donations again, she has since deleted it. You can't see it on the screen right now.
But there were columns behind her what she did, standing on government property as a member of Congress acting in her official capacity
representing all her constituents of either party is not allowed.
It is not allowed. And my question is whether or not some members of the Republican Party might go after her for that, because quite frankly, they
are furious. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRAVES: And all of a sudden, my phone keeps sending text messages. Text messages saying hey, give me money. Oh, look at that. Oh, look, give me
money. I filed the motion to vacate using official actions to raise money. It's disgusting.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: So, again, the anger on raw display. And Ashley, I'll let you weigh in here, because you haven't had a chance to yet. I mean, I think Democrats
can kind of sit back and watch this happen and think, well, you know, we're better off in the elections. But I mean, this is really, really nasty.
ALLISON: It is. I mean, yes, it would get physical because it got physical in January. Do we all remember how the one congressman marched over on the
HUNT: I know, which we got to see -- .
ALLISON: We got to see the camera.
HUNT: I know.
ALLISON: I mean, yes, behind closed doors, blood would have been drawn, you know, so but it's scary, because we are still need to figure out how we're
going to fund the government and less than, what 40 days at this point average Americans are still struggling. And I know it will sound partisan
when I say this, but the Republican are in disarray and --
HUNT: Normally we say for those of you who are watching from overseas. Democrats in disarray are a cliche here in the United States, because
oftentimes, that's what we were talking about. But I mean, I think it's Republicans in chaos.
STEWART: -- you're not hurting my feelings.
ALLISON: -- it's true. And they're in disarray. And we can have a functioning government of these two parties, you know, particularly right
now the Republican Party, don't get their act together. So we can actually have policy fights and not you know, behind door brawls.
KANE: John Boehner was Speaker for five and three quarters years had one long government shutdown during his tenure. Paul Ryan lasted three and a
third years, his term ended at the start of a 34, 35 day shutdown. Kevin McCarthy did not make it nine full months as Speaker and he got thrown out,
in part because he did not shut down the government.
HUNT: Because he joined with Democrats to prevent a government shutdown.
KANE: Chaos is a feature of House Republican governance. It's not a bug. It's a feature. It's just the reality.
HUNT: So can we tie this into the Speaker's race? Because I mean, we spent a lot of time at the top talking about Ukraine.
And we haven't kind of dug into the dynamics here between the two candidate top candidates that are running. Alice, first you have Jim Jordan, who we
have heard from and he, I would argue, represents the chaos win.
HUNT: Or at least he was a founding member of the Freedom Caucus.
HUNT: Which was the beginning version of this they are the people that tormented John Boehner out of the job. They are the people that current
continued to go off, you know, make Paul Ryan's life very hard. Jim Jordan has sort of had a little bit of oh, hey actually I want to present myself
as a serious governing person.
He's now the Chair of the Judiciary Committee, but he still has those roots. He's running we know against Steve Scalise. OK. Scalise is the
number two currently in the House of Representatives. He's been long seen as somebody who was going to succeed McCarthy.
He has very good and deep relationships with different segments of the conference. He is considered to be more conservative than McCarthy. But he
still has good personal ties with moderates even some Democrats would say that, you know, they get along with Steve Scalise. But this challenge from
Jordan is going to be an intense one. How do you see it playing out?
STEWART: Look, I think people get so caught up in the loud voices out of the Republican caucus and not looking at the majority of voices. Look, Matt
Gaetz went out because he was loud and he was able to cobble together a group and work with the Democrats. A lot of phone calls are being made now
in Washington, D.C. from Jordan, and with Scalise.
The rational Republicans that I speak with say that Scalise has a leg up, - - because he has a bigger team. He has more resources. He has more ability to really wage a campaign for this was which is what you need to do. And
he's able to do, Jordan has done tremendous things and he's the fierce fighter for conservative values.
But Scalise was able to do the two important things he will be able to more unite the Republican caucus, but also worked bipartisan across the aisle
with Democrats to get things done. And if we haven't learned anything else, that's going to be a key goal and an issue for the next Speaker. Ashley, do
you agree? Do you think -- for federal Steve Scalise? I mean, I think that's probably --
ALLISON: Yes, I mean --
HUNT: -- not that much different than Jim Jordan, but I think it is a little bit at least.
ALLISON: Jim Jordan from my home state and is a disaster. I mean, like it would there's no working with Jim Jordan for the Democrats. I mean, he
didn't run for Speaker the last go round. So he could be the Head of the Judiciary Committee. So he could oversee this impeachment inquiry around
Joe Biden like and --
HUNT: Which has been halted, by the way because the House of Representatives --
ALLISON: Is not functioning, but also because their witnesses said there's no evidence to really continue this impeachment inquiry. And so those would
be the antics, I think you would continue to see with Jim Jordan, and chaos would be the feature of that leader.
HUNT: Who is that closer to 218, Paul?
KANE: Who, it's very close. Scalise has run more leadership races. So he's done this. He has his unofficial Whip team and they know how to make calls
and they know how to lock down votes and look people in the eye and say you're with me. You're with me on the first ballot, second ballot, whatever
Jordan has never done that. The wildcard in this race is going to be Kevin McCarthy. And Kevin McCarthy has had a long 4, 5 year dispute with Scalise
about Scalises' ambitions. And while Jordan knifed McCarthy after Boehner had to resign because Jordan led the effort to get rid of Boehner.
McCarthy patched up his ties with Jordan. And he is much closer to Jordan. McCarthy knows how to run the leadership race. He has people that know how
to do that thing to look him in the eye and say you're with me. If he throws his support behind Scalise, uh, behind Jordan, Jordan now all of a
sudden has a real chance. It is going to be an interesting race.
HUNT: Yes. All right, it is and Paul, this is why we bring you on because that is a fascinating dynamic that I think is really been under covered.
Thank you all very much. The White House announces more plans or plans to build more walls along the U.S. southern border. We're going to talk to
Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, up next.
HUNT: Welcome back to STATE OF THE RACE. The Biden Administration is waving dozens of federal laws to build additional border wall in South Texas.
Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas says a high number of unlawful border crossings in the Rio Grande Valley make this an urgent
priority. But it's also an uncomfortable situation for President Biden who vowed on the campaign trail.
He'd never make any additions to a project that was infamously led by his predecessor Donald Trump. Priscilla Alvarez joins us now live at the White
House. Priscilla thanks so much for being here. What is the Biden Administration doing?
PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, they're going to set up those border barriers in that southern part of Texas, an area that is
highly trafficked by migrants. And when I asked sources why now, they told me that they were running up against a deadline, essentially, these funds
were appropriated by Congress in 2019. And they had until the end of fiscal year 2023, to use them.
So it came down to the administration designing whether they use the funds or whether they lose them, and they decided to use them again, to build
these structures in southern Texas. It's going to be around 17 miles. Customs and Border Protection had met with community members last month and
received public input about their plans.
And those plans include not only the border barriers that you might imagine, but also dates, cameras, access roads, lighting, and all of this
again, in an area where from last October to August, they saw nearly 300,000 migrant encounters. So that is where the urgent priority is coming
from the homeland security secretary in this Federal Registered Notice where he also notes these high encounters.
But of course, this is a politically precarious issue for the White House. They have been grappling with a high number of border crossings for weeks
now. And now this decision is going to be one that might get some criticism from Democrats who also wanted the president to avoid any border barriers.
And again, the pushback there from the administration is that they had to do this, these funds could only be used for those physical border barriers
they otherwise prefer border technology. But all the same, Kasie, it is still a tricky issue.
HUNT: Indeed, it is very, very politically fraught, and one that I think we're going to be hearing quite a bit about over the course of the next
year. Priscilla Alvarez is at the White House, thank you very much for that report. I want to turn now to Senator Chris Van Hollen of Maryland. He sits
on the Foreign Relations appropriations and budget committees and he joins us now from Capitol Hill. Senator Van Hollen, it's wonderful to talk to you
SEN. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D-MD): Kasie, it's great to be with you.
HUNT: Thank you so much. Let's start with what we were just talking about with Priscilla. This is a very tricky issue for President Biden. He had
promised on the campaign trail, he was not going to build additional border wall. Do you support what the administration is doing here?
HOLLEN: I do. And let me say this, Kasie, the Biden Administration approach has always been that we need comprehensive immigration reform and border
security. And as the president has been made clear, having a wall or a barrier across the entire southern border, United States simply is not
effective at doing it.
That does not mean that in certain areas along the border, it's not an important tool in the overall toolbox. These are funds as your
correspondent just indicated where the administration had to decide whether to use them or lose them. And they decided to build this very small segment
of wall in an area where there is currently lots of lots of people crossing illegally.
And hopefully that will make sure that people go to, you know, border crossing areas where they can be appropriately and properly processed.
HUNT: Senator, do you think that this issue of immigration that what we have seen unfold in recent days and months, makes it a materially different
one than what it was in 2016 when Donald Trump first called to build the wall, and Democrats said that that was inhumane and a bad idea?
HOLLEN: Well, again, I think the Biden Administration and certainly my view would be that building a wall from across the entire southern border,
according to all experts, is just a bad idea in that, it's not an effective use of money, which is why the Biden Administration has focused on using
other technology means and other ways to try to police the border.
In this particular border area, you've seen an increased number of crossings, which is why I think the Biden Administration decided to use
these funds that were available only for that purpose. I should also say, Kasie that today, as we, as we speak, you've got Secretary of State
Blinken, you got the Secretary of Department of Homeland Security, Mayorkas, as well as Attorney General, Merrick Garland in Mexico, speaking
with the Mexican president, about other things that we can be doing to address the border situation.
HUNT: So Senator, you are kind enough for us to trek to the House side of the Capitol for people who don't recognize what's behind you. You're
standing in front of the Will Rogers statue instead of the normal Russell Senate office building where we would usually find you.
But the reality is, what people in the house where you're standing outside the doors there are doing right now is very relevant to what's going to
happen next in Ukraine. We've seen these terrible pictures of this attack that just unfolded with dozens of civilians killed. The money stands to run
out as soon as December, there's potentially never got another government shutdown in November.
We don't know when House Republicans are going to install a speaker of the house. How real is the threat that Ukraine does not get the money that they
need? And would you be willing to consider adding some of these provisions around immigration that say a speaker Jim Jordan might demand in exchange
for putting Ukraine money on the floor?
HOLLEN: So two things, first of all, this chaos in the House of Representatives is hurting the country, this dysfunction within the
Republican caucus that is leading to essentially a vacant chamber to my right now. And a lot of uncertainty in the days ahead is going to make it
harder for us to keep the government open in 45 days from now less than that, and to fund support for Ukraine.
That said we've got to find a way. We do have majorities in the House and the Senate, Republicans and Democrats who recognize that we have to support
the people of Ukraine against Putin's aggression, that it's important to protect democracy in Ukraine.
But this is also a test for democracy around the world that we also know, President Xi in China and our adversaries are watching very closely to see
if we abandon the people of Ukraine that would be a very bad signal to our adversaries and a very bad one to our allies.
So I think that we will be able to find a way to get that done. On the border security issue, I do want to point out that the Biden Administration
has requested $4 billion in supplemental funds to strengthen border security. We were talking earlier about one pot of money from 2019 that
could exclusively be used for the wall.
But they've asked for $4 billion to strengthen border security overall. And so far, it's been Republicans, especially in the house that said no to that
$4 billion for border security.
HUNT: Interesting. So sir, while, I have you, I want to ask you this. This has gotten not pushed off the front pages. But it's a very important issue.
You joined with a number of your colleagues to send a letter to the president to the administration about a pact between Saudi Arabia and
Israel that is under discussion.
You want the Israelis to agree to some things that would preserve the two state solutions. But you also are pretty critical of the U.S. signing, you
know, a binding defense treaty with Saudi Arabia. You call it an authoritarian regime, which regularly undermines U.S. interests in the
region, has a deeply concerning human rights record, and has pursued an aggressive and reckless foreign policy agenda.
And you need proof that this would align with U.S. interests. Are you confident that the Biden Administration is listening to this?
HOLLEN: Oh, I know that they're listening carefully and I know they're looking in the each of these areas. And they understand the concerns that
20 senators shared with them in this letter. And they have many of those concerns as they work through this process.
I want to be really clear all of us support normalization of relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel that would be an important breakthrough.
And of course, those countries are free to work out normalization between them. The issue is, if the United States is going to facilitate that
process, what kind of commitments is Saudi Arabia asking for in exchange, and we need to make sure that we go into anything eyes wide open.
So you're right, we raised serious concerns about the idea of entering into essentially a defense treaty with Saudi Arabia. We also raised concerns
about the proposed civil nuclear program, and we want to make sure that you have the highest safeguards against nuclear proliferation.
We also think that we should be pursuing the long term goal of achieving a two state solution in the Israeli Palestinian conflict. And as we work with
Saudi Arabia and make commitments potentially to them, although we have lots of questions, we should also be asking Israel to make this commitment
to protect the possibility of a two state solution down the road.
HUNT: And that, of course, because of potential opposition from the Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu. Senator Chris Van Hollen, thank you very much
for joining us today. I really appreciate your time.
HOLLEN It's great to be with you. Thanks.
HUNT: And with the turmoil of the house throwing future aid to Ukraine up in the air just ahead, we're going to talk to Representative Victoria
Spartz, a Republican who immigrated from Ukraine.
HUNT: Welcome back to STATE OF THE RACE. I'm Kasie Hunt live in Washington where a central flashpoint in the nasty Republican leadership fight is over
whether to continue funding Ukraine's war against Russia. Money for Ukraine was not included in the stopgap bill that kept the government open because
of conservative opposition to sending more money for Kyiv to buy weapons and ammunition.
Jim Jordan told CNN if he speaker he'll only allow a vote on the aid if it's tied to immigration policy changes that could never pass the
Democratic Senate. And that, of course, would all but guarantee that Zelenskyy's forces would never see the money. Joining us now is
Representative Victoria Spartz. She's a Republican from Indiana, and she is also an immigrant from Ukraine.
Congresswoman, thank you very much for spending some time with us today. And let's start there about this fight over the future of Ukraine. We
played for our viewers a little while ago, what Jim Jordan had to say about his concerns here. He of course, is running for speaker. I want to play it
for you so that you can see it and ask you about it on the other side, take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JORDAN: I've been clear that there are two fundamental questions need to be answered. What's the goal? Is the goal some negotiated peace, is the goal
some we'll get them out of eastern Ukraine, and is the goal to get the Russians out of Crimea, which they've had, except during the Obama
Administration we've had for now nine years? What is the goal? What is the objective?
Second question, if you can tell us what the goal is, how's the money being spent? How can we accomplish that? I think the American people are entitled
to know the answer to those two questions before we continue to send their hard earned money to protect Ukraine's border wall we have what's happening
on our borders.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: Do you agree with Jim Jordan there? And could he get your vote for speaker?
REP. VICTORIA SPARTZ (R-IN): Well, listen, I don't want you to tell us, you know, I was a person that over a year ago, said that we need to have more
accountability and strategy, we need to make sure that we do have product strategy. And the cop was actually because a lot of people are dying, very
serious war. And unfortunately, administration does a lot of grain deal to stop, but then slow work in a lot of aid.
And it only benefits Russia. They are not reporting back to Congress what kind of oversight is provided. And American people are generous people, but
they want to make sure we're dealing with very complicated countries.
And you saw what's happened when we didn't do a good job in Afghanistan. We failed there. You know, and I think that is a very valid question. We also
have a very valid question that this president needs to deal with domestic issues too.
And I hope senate will step up dealing with that, would give us border security, I think we should be able to find common ground. This is a very
reasonable question. So and I think all of this issues are national securities issues that we have to resolve and come together.
HUNT: Do you think there should be an up or down vote on the House floor on whether or not to give more money to Ukraine?
SPARTZ: Well, listen, I don't think majority of people, you know, in my conference have a particular objection to give money to Ukraine. They just
want to make sure that we'll have oversight. We have strategy, and our actions align with it. And make sure that we're also dealing with domestic
issues, because if they don't protect our country, there is no hope for anyone around the world, including Ukrainians.
HUNT: Congresswoman, let me ask you about Kevin McCarthy, because you and he had a pretty public back and forth a couple of weeks ago. And you voted
against him in the motion to table although ultimately didn't join with the eight who voted to remove him. Now that he has been removed, though, do you
have a preference in among announced candidates, Steve Scalise, or Jim Jordan?
SPARTZ: Listen, I will, you will never get a perfect candidate. I'll be open minded all of them have strengths and weaknesses. But I want us to go
and to look, who have a strategy and plan to deliver for the American people. We can do a lot of talk.
But we were not able to force in some ways the senate to set government with us on very material issues like our national debt. And we said look at
this, we can have a debt commission, it's not unreasonable for us to get to the table. Our credit rating was downgraded because we didn't want to have
a conversation in dealing subsidy with the poor.
We're OK to provide, you know, some physical security, but let's deal with fraud and abuse and asylum processes and the parole abuse that the
administration is doing. I think senate should be with us on this issue. Even state of New York is not having the same challenges. You know, the
Democrat side has to be really pure enough, even the -- words about this. I don't think that should be politicized. This is national security issues.
HUNT: So you also said yesterday, you feel it wasn't just McCarthy, who failed, but the entire Republican leadership team. Do you think they should
all be thrown out and you should start from scratch?
SPARTZ: Well, listen, they should make the case now because ultimately, you know, he was the leader, he always take the full accountability and
responsibility but you know, they were team too. So I think it's important you know, you cannot point when you run for leadership position, you have
to be accountable for action or inaction.
And I will hold my party as much as accountable as I will help the other side. So I'm not looking at as a party. I'm looking what we can do for the
HUNT: Would you be willing to support changing the rules back to where they were so that a single member of the House could not cause the speaker to be
SPARTZ: Well, listen, actually the first as Speaker Pelosi has changed their rules actually has changed back -- in the war.
HUNT: She did and then you guys changed it back. But would you support a change back to what Pelosi had?
SPARTZ: Listen, that was extremely important. I mean, I maybe we'll be open to say maybe it will take you know, a few members more members. But it has
to be by rank and file members, that the only way how we can have our leaders accountable. Otherwise, they will not care. You know, they will do
business as usual.
Making deals behind the scenes was big money in Washington, DC, and really destroying opportunities for Americans and for middle class and poor people
in our country. I'm sick and tired of this machine being oppressive now -- right, to a lot of Americans.
And I think that should be a bipartisan consensus. And some issue we actually do have, we actually on my death commission that I've been
fighting a lot, we have bipartisan support in the House.
HUNT: We haven't even gotten to your threat to resign from Congress if that doesn't happen. But Congresswoman Victoria Spartz, I do really very much
appreciate your time today. Thank you for joining us.
SPARTZ: Thank you very much for having me.
HUNT: All right, in case it wasn't clear already, the Biden's might need to hire a new dog trainer. Sources tell CNN this morning that the First
Family's German Shepherd Commander has been involved in considerably more biting incidents and had previously been reported.
And we already knew about 11 of them and one bite at least required a trip to the hospital. If you're thinking to yourself wait, did I hear about this
before? You wouldn't be right; you're thinking of their other dog their older dog major, which the Biden's tend to live in Delaware because of his
Well, statement to CNN says the President and First Lady are working through solutions with Commander and that the dog is not currently at the
White House, while next steps are sorted out. And mortars will gather at San Francisco City Hall later today for a memorial service for Dianne
The longtime Democratic senator has been lying in state there for Californians to pay respects. You see former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
there. But when the funeral starts only one of those, only those on the guest list will be allowed in Feinstein's office says that increased
security is going to mean it has to be closed to the public. Back in Washington, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced the Senate floor
will be closed today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): It'll be my honor, a sad tearful but great honor to speak tomorrow at my friend Diane's Memorial. And I thank all my
colleagues who will be in attendance. I know that it would mean the world to her for colleagues to join in this last one, goodbye.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: All right, we'll be right back.
HUNT: Alright, welcome back to STATE OF THE RACE. My panel rejoins me. Before we go, we're going to ask for "One More Thing" on the campaign trail
or in Washington you're watching for in the coming days, 30 seconds each. Alice Stewart, what are you looking for?
STEWART: Look, I think a sad day. I love dogs. I have a great dog but the Biden dog commander is having a little biting problem unfortunately with
the service and it's an issue. So he's being removed from the White House for security reasons because it has become an issue for security. I feel
bad for the puppy because it's, I'm sure it's a crazy place for a dog to be.
STEWART: But that's going to be news out of the way.
HUNT: It's a really tough issue for sure. Ashley?
ALLISON: Now Senator Laphonza Butler made history it was kind of overshadowed because of all the chaos in the house. But she was sworn in by
the first black female vice president as the third black woman to ever serve in the Senate. I can't wait to see how she leads and represents the
people of California.
HUNT: Yes, going to be interesting to watch. Paul?
KANE: I've spent so much time over on the House side that I still haven't even seen her yet.
HUNT: This is very unusual for him, he who don't know Paul Kane, and he would not have met a senator.
KANE: But my one more thing is, after the funeral today for Senator Dianne Feinstein in San Francisco, tomorrow Chuck Schumer is going to fly out with
five other senators on a -- to China, Japan and South Korea.
These are China hawks that are going there. They're trying to get the top, possibly premier Xi and meeting with them. It's going to be very
interesting to see how they are received there.
KANE: It's a really high stakes.
HUNT: Right. At very high stakes, I mean, tensions have really been rising.
HUNT: And I'm, you know, I'm watching really how far these incrimination among House Republicans go, what do McCarthy's allies do or try to do to
those aid who are responsible for stripping the gavel from his hand. I think we're going to learn a lot more about that in the coming days.
Thank you all for being here. I am Kasie Hunt. That's the STATE OF THE RACE for today, Thursday, October 5. You can always follow me on Instagram, and
the platform formerly known as Twitter. "ONE WORLD" is up next.