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State of the Race with Kasie Hunt
Biden: Egypt to Allow up to 20 Aid Trucks to Enter Gaza; EU Calls for "Unhindered Humanitarian Access" to Gaza; Sidney Powell Pleads Guilty in Georgia Election Case; Some Republicans who Oppose Jordan's Bid for Speaker say they were Threatened; Sources: Jordan won't Hold a Third Vote Today; Officials: Biden to make Case for U.S. Aid to Israel and Ukraine in Foreign Policy Address from Oval Office. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired October 19, 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: Hello, everyone, I'm Kasie Hunt. Welcome to our viewers watching here in the United States and all around
the world. It is a 11 am here in Washington, Thursday, October 19th.
And in just an hour, the House could emphasis on could open proceedings for a third vote to try and elect Jim Jordan Speaker. We're going to watch that
and we will bring you any breaking news as we get it.
But meantime, we are hours away from a major foreign policy speech by the U.S. President Joe Biden. Officials say the President will make the case
for aid to Israel and Ukraine after wrapping up his Middle East trip. Here's a little preview from the White House.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JONATHAN FINER, U.S. DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: You can expect a few things from the President tonight, one to lay out his view of this
extraordinary moment that we are in when it comes to our national security and international stability with a highlight and a focus, obviously on the
conflict in Israel and his visit there yesterday, as well as the ongoing conflict in Ukraine after Russia's brutal invasion there.
Second, he will connect those events and this broader moment to the lives of Americans back here and explain why this should matter to us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: The President's trip to the region was derailed in part at least by an explosion Tuesday at the hospital in Gaza. President Biden has sided
with Israel on the cause of that they say the explosion came from misfired militant rocket.
Meanwhile, Israel has continued to bomb what they say are Hamas targets. This was the scene in Khan Younis earlier today, officials in Gaza say that
there were casualties and we can't independently confirm that and we're waiting to hear details about the explosion from the Israeli Military.
Meanwhile, the U.S. is under pressure to try and get the aid deal in place for Gaza to get those trucks moving. President Biden says that he spoke
with Egypt's President by phone after their Summit fell apart in Jordan listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: He agreed that what it would do is open the gate to do two things one led up to 20 trucks
through to begin with.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: So for the latest from Israel, CNN's Becky Anderson is live in Tel Aviv. Becky, what do we know about the status of the logistics here of just
getting these trucks into Gaza?
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN ANCHOR, CONNECT THE WORLD: Yes, on the aid Biden described as job done his brokering of that agreements get that aid moving
through the Rafa crossing this is at the very south tip of Gaza. And that crossing is between Egypt of course and Gaza.
One diplomatic source has told me the problem is there's no mechanism for delivering that aid given that there is no agreement in place for a
temporary ceasefire. Now Jordan's King Abdullah and Egypt's President Sisi today together demanding an end to what they describe as this collective
punishment including the siege of Gaza, what they described as starvation and forced displacement of people and they reiterated the call to stop the
war in Gaza.
So the issue is as follows the war goes on. We spoke to the UN Agency which is very close to that Rafa border crossing earlier on today. They are
sheltering 10,000 people. And the UN Agency Spokesperson told me that they are still under heavy shelling, or certainly have been in the hours just
before we spoke. So that is a real concern for them.
And for those who are trying to work out the logistics of how to get this aid operational from Friday? So we understand it to be Friday we understand
the gates will open for as many as 20 trucks in the first instance hundreds if not thousands of trucks are needed. And there is an enormous amount of a
built up in our -- in the Sinai Desert waiting to get through.
But it has to be a safe corridor and without a pause in the fighting without a temporary ceasefire, there are concerns about whether that is
going to be a safe corridor. Of course, the Israelis have promised that this is, you know, this is an agreement they've signed up to. So one has to
assume that it will be an area that is made safe with regard the Israeli airstrikes from Friday when this aid begins to get in.
So that's as far as the aid is concerned. It is interesting what we're hearing, sort of around the region, and indeed, from the British Prime
Minister, who's in town today. The UK is of course, like the U.S. very staunch ally of Israel. So I think it's important to listen to Rishi
Sunak's language as he sat beside Prime Minister Netanyahu earlier on today, have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RISHI SUNAK, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: We also recognize that the Palestinian people are victims of Hamas, too. And that is why I welcome your decision
yesterday that you took to ensure that routes into Gaza will be opened for humanitarian aid to enter. I'm glad that you made that decision.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Yes, and so a very, you know, a staunch ally, very much supporting Israel here on this show of support by arriving here, but I have
to say his Foreign Minister James Cleverly is on the move today. He's been in Israel. He's now in Turkey, Egypt and Qatar. And Qatar of course, is
mediating between Hamas, the U.S. and Israel on this ongoing effort to release hostages.
And we do know, again, you know, and this speaks to this -- this real demand for a pause in the fighting and or a temporary ceasefire language,
which, you know, frankly, the Israelis don't like. But Hamas has said it will release the hostages if Israel agrees to a ceasefire.
Israel sources say are absolutely no adamant. No ceasefires before those hostages are released. So temporary pause in fighting is what you know,
quite frankly, this region and many people are advocating for this want at present to ensure this humanitarian aid can push through, but there are
obviously other reasons why a pause in the fighting or temporary ceasefire is being promoted, you know, like I say, around this region and at the UN
Security Council, quite frankly, yesterday Kasie.
HUNT: All right, Becky Anderson in Tel Aviv thanks very much for your reporting. I really appreciate it. Let's dive into all of it with today's
panel. Seung Min Kim is a CNN Political Analyst and White House Reporter with The Associated Press Colonel Cedric Leighton is a Retired U.S. Air
Force Officer and CNN Military Analyst. And Kimberly Dozier is a CNN Global Affairs Analyst. Welcome in to all of you.
So, Kim, let's start with what we're expecting to hear from the President tonight, because we do understand he's going to talk about both Israel and
Ukraine in this meeting. And the reality is the political implications here at home of how that looks are pretty complicated.
The reality is fewer Republicans support more aid to Ukraine, fewer Democrats are, you know, on board with helping Israel in the way that the
President is proposing, although let's be real support for Israel is very strong in both parties as of this moment. What do you expect to hear from
the President? What will you be listening for?
KIMBERLY DOZIER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: I'm looking for him to humanize these conflicts for the American people to explain why he wants to
spend so many billions in American treasure, to keep the war going in Ukraine and to support Israel, despite the pictures that Americans are
seeing of destruction inside Gaza, civilians fleeing children, bloody crying.
But it is a chance for him to say, look, the war in Ukraine is stopping a potential Russian aggression against the rest of Europe, which a lot of
Americans have forgotten. And also to remind people that there are American there are dual citizen hostages inside and remind them up some of the cruel
and horrible behavior of the Hamas terrorists, in addition to saying I'm doing my best to get that aid in, and of course, finally, to look
presidential, well, the House still doesn't have a Speaker and the GOP is in disarray.
HUNT: Oh, hey, someone is in charge here in theory. Colonel, let's talk a little bit about how these conflicts are or aren't? I want to know your
view connected because clearly, there are both -- they're very separate on the ground. They're different regions, different militaries, different
enemies in the case of, you know, Hamas and the Russians but geopolitically, you know, we see the Russians and the Chinese getting
Xi and you know Putin appearing together just that previously this week. Obviously, there is the question about Iran. Russia had been very tied to
Israel but Putin so far is treating this differently than I think a lot of people would have expected.
Obviously, the U.S. Military and our sort of the assets, the way we deploy ourselves around the globe in a defensive or protective way, also matters
to all of these contexts. How were you thinking about Israel and Ukraine together beyond just a political attempt to tie the funding together?
COLONEL CEDRIC LEIGHTON (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Yes, that's a great question, Kasie. So the way I look at it is you have what's going on in
Israel, you know, with Hamas, and you see the connection between Hamas and Iran, then you see the connection from Iran into Russia. You see the
connection, of course, with Russia working its efforts, its military efforts in Ukraine, and you have that connection between Russia and China.
So what Russia and China are trying to do is they're trying to build a -- in essence, a unitary system that is directly opposed to what the United
States is doing. They want to up end to the United States as the leading global power, they want to make sure that we don't have that leading role
in the world anymore.
So they want to create a different system that counterbalances in their view, the American, parts of Americana, if you will, the American piece
that has been established with a lot of interruptions, since the Second World War. So their effort is -- let's create a separate system both
diplomatically, militarily as well as economically, from what the U.S. has been leading along with the Europeans for the last few decades.
HUNT: So Seung Min, I mean let's talk a little bit about how this plays out where the rubber meets the road here in Washington, because, you know,
there are some competing factions here, you've covered both the White House and Congress. How do you view the President's task tonight? What's he
trying to accomplish?
SEUNG MIN KIM, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I will say something that's really important that as it relates to Ukraine, a lot of Republicans on
Capitol Hill who do support the broader strategy of helping Ukraine against the Russian invasion, has nonetheless begged the White House essentially to
lay out a clear strategy, a clear path forward for what the White House's plan is, in terms of continuing to help Ukraine in the coming months, and
however long this conflict goes?
Because they believe that President Biden and the White House has not made a clear enough case to the American people why we are in this? So I expect
to hear a lot from the President tonight in terms of why it is important for us to help allies to help, you know, help kind of contain what could be
an even bigger conflict in Eastern Europe if Putin kind of is allowed to get his way.
But I am not quite sure if Republicans would be persuaded by just kind of that argument. They haven't been so far. But there are still enough
Republicans on Capitol Hill who may be hearing from constituents about like, oh, how much you know, we are continuing to spend too much money on
But if they get a clear enough, compelling enough case, especially from the Commander in Chief, they can perhaps go home and explain to their
constituents this is why we're important -- why it's important that the U.S. continue to be involved.
But you're right, there is a growing hard right faction and almost an isolationist faction among Congressional Republicans who are really
resisting Ukraine, which is why you have this big kind of lump it all together strategy that we're going to see at the end of the week.
HUNT: Right. Yes, no, I mean, that's -- it's really the MAGA base that has kind of saying, hey, we got some problems here at home, we got holes in our
own border why we're dealing with stuff overseas. But again, the Reagan wing of the party still definitely sees the value in funding Ukraine.
Let's talk a little bit about how the politics are playing out and kind of global and American sentiment are focused around the Israel Gaza, the
Israel Hamas conflict right now? I want to show you how the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, he has added even more kind of phrases
you'll recognize in how he's talking about what's going on, take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRESIDENT: Hamas are the new Nazis. They're the new ISIS. And we have to fight them together just as the world the
civilized world united to fight the Nazis. We have here two forces. One is an Axis of Evil led by Iran through Hezbollah Hamas and others that want to
bring back the Middle East of the middle ages.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: ISIS, Nazis, Axis of Evil. I mean, he is very clearly trying to frame this and in this way, and for good reason. Obviously, what we saw from
Hamas was just absolutely horrific. But Kim, as this conflict goes on, and as you know, I think there was clearly pressure on Netanyahu from the
Americans to show that they are willing to send some humanitarian aid to Gaza because sentiment was shifting against them when they said -- when
they lumped innocent Palestinians who don't support Hamas in with the terrorist groups and refuse to help them.
DOZIER: Look, Israeli military officials had said privately, the kind of campaign we've got to prosecute, there will be civilian casualties, and
they've gone ahead with that. Now they're dealing with perhaps earlier than they thought the blowback from the international community and Netanyahu
realizes he's got to win back international support so that at least his allies can keep supporting him.
Yes you've got the outbursts the anger in the Arab World is going to be worse tomorrow on Friday's day of prayer, but that could spread to Western
capitals. Netanyahu is trying to use these touchstones of you know, ISIS, the Nazis, to draw that international support.
And, in many cases, the facts back him up. Axis of Evil the Russian -- top Russian official right now is in the North Korean Capital. You've got Iran
supporting this. You've got Russia staying mute when normally it's a supporter of Israel. So the facts back him up. He needs world support.
HUNT: Right. All right, we got to go to a little bit of breaking news here because this just into CNN. We are learning from sources that Jim Jordan
will not ask that the House vote on his potential speakership for a third time because he is struggling to flip the holdouts.
We are reporting now that Jim Jordan is leaning toward a resolution towards supporting a resolution to empower Interim Speaker Patrick McHenry.
Republicans are meeting behind closed doors right now to talk about how to proceed in a conference meeting.
And we are going to report out for you and see what they decide to do next vote on the McHenry resolution had been a possibility as we sat down here,
so we'll keep you posted as the hour marches on. But up next, we are going to take you to a major turn in the Georgia election case a longtime Trump
loyalists making a deal with Fulton County prosecutors. What could it mean for Donald Trump and other defendants, that's ahead?
HUNT: Welcome back. We've got a stunning development in the Georgia election interference case. Former Trump lawyer and staunch Trump loyalist,
where it seemed staunch Trump loyalists Sidney Powell has pleaded guilty well it can be a key turning point in the cases against 18 other
Under the plea deal Powell will be required to testify at future trials. And she's got to write an apology letter to the citizens of Georgia. So
Powell is admitting that she played a role in the breach of election systems in Coffee County, Georgia in 2021. In exchange, prosecutors are
recommending a sentence of six years' probation so she's avoiding jail time.
Nick Valencia is outside the courthouse for us in Atlanta. Nick thanks for being there for us. This is really a bombshell that could have really
significant ramifications for the other defendants and especially the Former President and front runner for the Republican Nomination, Donald
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. This was a stunning reversal in their defense strategy because up until this point, Sidney
Powell's Attorney Brian Rafferty had said that she was completely innocent that the DA's evidence would prove that she was not the driving force
behind this illegal data breach in rural Coffee County.
But today this morning, a complete one AD which caught many of us who've been following this case very closely throughout, it caught us all by
surprise here. So Sidney Powell entered her guilty plea. She was initially facing seven counts, including racketeering and that initial indictment.
Instead, she pleaded guilty today to six misdemeanor counts, and as a result, will have to pay a $6,000 fine. Write a letter of apology but
perhaps most importantly, she is going to be used as a witness to testify against co-defendants, which includes her former boss, the Former President
of the United States, Donald Trump.
This is a bombshell and a stunning blow to the Former President's case because unlike the other co-defendant who pleaded guilty and took a deal,
Scott Hall that Georgia Bail Bondsman Former Georgia Bails Bondsman.
Sidney Powell was inextricably linked with the Former President. She's an Election Attorney. She filed meritless lawsuits on his behalf and continues
to spread these conspiracies of widespread voter fraud in the country when there was in fact, no voter fraud in the country.
So Sidney Powell making this deal down to the wire jury selection is -- was expected or is expected to begin tomorrow, and I have been in touch with
her former co-defendant in this Ken Chesbro. I did reach out to his Attorney Scott Grubman, who did not give me a statement only to say that
this also caught him by surprise as well, Kasie.
HUNT: Yes, caught us -- a lot of us here by surprise too. Nick Valencia thanks very much for that report. And joining me now to discuss more Seung
Min Kim rejoined CNN Political Analyst, White House Reporter with the AP.
Robby Mook was the Campaign Manager for Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential bid. And Sarah Longwell is a Republican Strategist and the Executive
Director of the Republican Accountability Project. Welcome all!
I was not expecting to be discussing Donald Trump on this show today. But here we are. Sarah, let me start with you as our Republican at the table,
although obviously you have been vocal in expressing your differences with the Former President of the United States.
What do you think this means for him? You know, it's somehow I don't know how it is -- it can be somehow easy to lose sight in these conversations
about the legal minutiae of kind of what this -- what Donald Trump is, which is the front runner for the Republican nomination.
So we're covering these details in this case now, but we're like months away from him potentially winning the Republican nomination and having to
go through these trials while carrying the mantle for the Republican Party. I mean, what do you think this Sidney Powell development means in that
SARAH LONGWELL, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I mean, what you just heard, to me that sounds like the most interesting part is that she is going to have to
testify against Donald Trump. And Sidney Powell was in all the rooms where they were talking about this.
In fact, she was one of the people who was pushing this the most and so to have -- she knows every backroom conversation. She knows things that Donald
Trump said and so for her to come out and give testimony at some point, potentially against Donald Trump. That would be incredible.
Now, the question is going to be the timing of it all, with all these cases, right? Where are we in the political cycle when this happens?
Because if it's in a Republican primary, that's one thing. And maybe there's an opportunity then for Republicans to realize he's got too much
baggage, and they need to find somebody else, although I give that a very small chance -- at this point, but if you're in a general election, to me,
those are good things for swing voters to know and so, yes, huge news.
HUNT: Since she mentioned the general election. Robert, you've run general election campaign for a Democratic Candidate against Donald Trump,
obviously, you understand well, the pitfalls of doing it. And the strengths that Trump clearly brings to the table from a political perspective.
But I mean, is this going to make -- it doesn't seem to me like independent voters said in 2020, like we don't like the chaos. We don't like this
insanity that this guy is bringing in. This just underscores that.
ROBBY MOOK, FORMER CAMPAIGN MANAGER, HILLARY FOR AMERICA: Yes, I think it does. I think it is a general election problem. I think he'll still get
through the primary. This guy is Felon, right? And so I think -- I think it won't make a difference in the primary.
But in the general look, Biden won by a very slim margin in 2020. Trump won by a very slim margin in 2016. This general election will be decided you
know buy a fraction of a percent across a few states potentially.
And so I do think this adds a little bit of weight on the scale. But it just speaks to what makes Trump special, which is I mean, he has more
baggage than like the baggage room at O'Hare Airport. You know, I mean, it's like there can't be more baggage. But the question in my mind is,
look, if he is a felon, a convicted felon going into this election, does that get you that one or two points in Michigan or Wisconsin?
HUNT: We will get to it in one second. Do you think -- ?
LONGWELL: I know will say what's different about this right is that it's easy for Republican primary voters. I hear this all the time in the focus
groups, they talk about, well, you know the deep states out to get him. Somebody like Sidney Powell flipping on him her testifying she was somebody
when she was releasing the crack and who had a huge following among the base, the Republican base. And so if she's turning on him, that is what I
think has the opportunity to spark something different here.
HUNT: Yes, no, I mean, it's an interesting thought. But I will say Seung Min my other question, speaking of cracking, is whether or not Sidney
Powell has enough credibility for anybody to listen to what she has to say?
KIM: Right, right. I mean, I think if you've looked at all of her statements in public, you do see where there are the holes in the logic
there. But I also have -- your point about whether because she was so part of that MAGA crowd, whether her flipping would change the sentiment at all,
would be a really fascinating observation, because we've seen instances over the last several years where Trump loyalists have come out and said,
this man is a liar.
This man is a threat to democracy. I'm thinking of Cassidy Hutchinson, who was the most loyalists of Trump loyalists. She just really was a believer
in the Former President, and she came out obviously gave this dramatic testimony has written a book kind of outlining all that she saw in the
White House, and obviously, it hasn't dented Trump's image among his most faithful. Now, the swing voters obviously a different story here.
HUNT: Yes. I mean, I honestly am reminded like you can be as loyal as you want for as long as you can stand it to Donald Trump. But I mean, look at
Mike Pence. I mean, his campaign is now in debt. He stood by -- he stood next to Donald Trump for four full years, looked up at him kind of like
this. And then, you know, defended the country on January 6 and Republican voters hate him.
LONGWELL: Yes, I mean, I haven't checked my phone in the last five minutes. But I guarantee you there's going to be one of these truths pretty quickly
talking about how Sidney Powell is the worst person ever and this was all her idea. She's going under the bus.
HUNT: I -- something like that actually.
LONGWELL: She is going under the bus really soon.
MOOK: And this is the thing about Trump, you just see this with so many people, it's like the inverse of the Midas touch. You know, you touch him
and your career ends. I mean, we've seen this over --
HUNT: You definitely need to hire a lawyer.
MOOK: And not one of his lawyers because they ran too.
HUNT: All right, we got a lot more to talk about with this panel. But ahead here on "State of the Race" Republicans meeting right now to discuss ways
to move forward in electing a new Speaker. Jim Jordan is standing down on a third vote for now there is the possibility though of elevating the powers
of the Interim Speaker. We'll have that next.
HUNT: Welcome back to "State of the Race". I'm Kasie Hunt. We're live in Washington. House Republicans meeting right now looking for some way
anyway, to try to break their impasse and elect a Speaker of the House, but not getting very far, we have learned that Jim Jordan is backing down for
now on his initial push to hold a third vote to try to become Speaker.
Opposition seems to be growing to his bid. But let's mix into that chaos. A lot of the Republicans or several I should say who voted against Jordan's
speakership say they've been getting angry messages from supporters and even receiving death threats.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your thought on death threats. I mean, there were several members who said they received them and I know you've put out that
statement, how concerned are you?
REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): Well, there's a terrible. There's no place for that for anyone. Look, it's just wrong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: So one possible option for at the very least, ending the inability completely of the House to do anything at all is to expand the powers of
Interim Speaker, Patrick McHenry. You see in there, he's a bow tie wearer.
Jordan is now apparently leaning toward backing a resolution to do that, but it would only be temporary. A source is saying that he will continue to
try to gather support for the speakership. And we do have McHenry here, saying that the goal here is to eventually get Jordan elected to the
Speakership. My panel rejoins me, now.
Seung Min Kim, this is me -- we're just literally sitting here trying to figure this out. And Republicans are trying to figure it out behind closed
doors, because the reality is, nobody knows.
HUNT: I mean, usually, the job that you know, you and I have had when we've been Congressional reporters is to get them to tell us what they know is
going on that we don't know. But in this case, all we can do is say, well, they don't know and neither do we.
KIM: Yes, we're all trying to figure this out.
HUNT: Because the reality is like -- it seems like Patrick McHenry is the - - going to be the at least temporary solution here. Right now he has no power to move bills on the floor.
HUNT: So what would the options be? I mean, it sounds like they're trying to empower him to give him at least some powers, but maybe limit that until
January. What do we know?
KIM: Right. Let's remember that the Speaker of the House is a constitutional position. And it has a lot of powers beyond just kind of
being the Party Leader in the House. So obviously, the Speaker of the House is in the presidential line of succession behind Vice President Kamala
They get the highest level of intelligence briefings from the administrations as part of this so called Gang of Eight of Senate and House
Leaders. There's a question as to whether someone in a temporary position like Patrick McHenry can do that.
But what you're seeing right now is a realization from House Republicans that they need the ability to become not immobile. They need to move bills,
particularly as we have this massive funding request for Israel, Ukraine, et cetera coming from the Biden Administration, which the administration
and Democrats in the Senate had hoped would kind of like help break the, you know, the gridlock and the standstill in the House.
But we're going to be like nerds like us and nerds over on Capitol Hill, we're going to be poring over House history House precedent to see if
something similar happened in the early 1800s or whatever, to see if Patrick McHenry can have similar roles. But yes, and on the Jordan point,
if you're not -- if you don't have the votes now, I don't know if more time helps to build that coalition.
KIM: But I think that's the gamble that he's trying to make for now.
HUNT: Yes. Sarah I mean, this is a really bad look for Republicans in the House. The chaos -- look, it's just indicative of what the actual divisions
are inside the party, and that you have this kind of uneasy alliance between the Trump wing of the party and the increasingly dwindling non
Trump wing of the party.
But their majority is so small that they actually have to get on the same page. It doesn't seem like they can and I struggle to see how they will in
January if they can't do it now.
LONGWELL: Yes. I mean, look, the thing that's happening if you let Republican voters vote on the Speaker of the House, Jim Jordan would win
with a bullet. But the problem is, is there's like two factions within the House.
There's kind of the pre Trump era Republicans, and then there's the post Trump era Republicans, and those guys have been slowly taking over with
each election. They want to run it. But you know, there's these like holdouts, and I think one of the things that's interesting, I was reading
Don Bacon said that they're -- if they had held another vote today that number of fraud that was at 21 yesterday would have likely gone up to 30
like they were going to increase their opposition to Jim Jordan.
And McHenry and this like kind of stopgap measure is kind of the best case scenario for right now, especially for people like me, who really didn't
want to see a Jim Jordan, ascension. You know, McHenry, still he certified the election, he didn't sign on to that crazy amicus brief, that would have
disempowered a bunch of the state's voting laws.
And so I think he's a good place to rest for now. But I don't know -- Jim Jordan clearly thinks he's going to live to fight another day in January.
And yes, I don't know where he thinks the votes are going to get, especially if their strategy for getting them is to bully people harass
people, intimidate people that doesn't seem to be working.
HUNT: Yes. No, it doesn't. Robby, where are Democrats in all of this because they do see much more willing to help Patrick McHenry? But I mean,
look, raw politics, I don't always think it's the best for the country. But some people I'm sure are arguing like, hey, just let them continue to screw
up because it's just going to make us look shinier in comparison.
MOOK: Yes. And what's interesting, because that would be a way to go. But what's been interesting, I think, in the last 48 hours, is you're hearing
Democrats say, hey, we're actually really open to making this vote. And I would argue the threshold they're asking for the deal they want is pretty
It's like, hey, let's not shut down the government. Let's vote on a continuing resolution. And let's, you know, let's vote on these aid
packages. And I think, again, if you had the American electorate vote on these things, I think these are things that would have broad consensus.
The issue here is the math, right? There are about eight Republicans that are just totally, you know, in another universe, they are nihilists. They
don't care. And that's just enough for them not to elect a speaker. And the Republicans have a choice. They got to either corral those eight folks in
or they got to work with Democrats. There's no other way.
HUNT: That Kevin McCarthy made this like, hey, like, I'm really the only person that has any hope. I mean, I think this you know, what's happened on
the floor and Jim Jordan, with Jim Jordan has kind of underscored that.
I want to go now to Eva McKend she is a National Politics Correspondent for today. She is camping out on Capitol Hill for us. Eva thanks for being
there for us. We're obviously still waiting to figure out once these members start coming out of this conference meeting exactly what they're
going to do next.
What's the mood like up there? What are you hearing in the hallways about not just what Republicans are going to do, but as Robby was just talking
about what Democrats are going to do?
EVA MCKEND, CNN U.S. NATIONAL POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Kasie. You know, things remain fluid. But you know, at this hour at this minute, Congressman
Jordan sees that continuing to go to the House floor continuing to vote is just a futile effort. That's why he's expected to throw his support behind
this plan that essentially ends the stalemate that gives Congressman McHenry temporary powers.
There are lots of constitutional questions ahead. And then also questions about if Republicans who are firmly against Jordan will go for this plan.
So we're already hearing from Congressman Bacon and Congressman Jimenez, who wants Jordan to drop his bid altogether.
They don't want to give him the next several weeks and months to continue to try to whip jerk -- whip votes into January. They want entirely a new
set of candidates. And then there are also questions about what Democrats are going to do?
It seems like Democrats have lost their appetite to have a Speaker-less House and want to band together some of them with Republicans to end this
stalemate, but they're going to want us something in exchange for that, but it's not clear what they're demanding is yet Kasie.
HUNT: Right. No, I mean, look, the -- what they're going to get out of it in the immediate term is hopefully, as you say, an opening of the
government or a rather continuing to fund the government as well as moving some of these supplemental aid packages.
I think the big question is whether or not Democrats are going to be empowered in basically controlling what comes down to the House floor it's
called rules. That's really the real contentious sticking point here. So we're going to keep reporting that out Eva McKend thank you very much as
always for joining us. We're going to have much more on the Speaker impasse coming up next, what could happen as Jim Jordan says there won't be a third
vote today? The panel is here.
HUNT: All right. Joining me now for our panel discussion which we're going to continue here, we've got Seung Min Kim at the AP, Robby Mook, Former
Campaign Manager for Hillary Clinton's 2016 Bid and Sarah Longwell, a Republican Strategist.
Guys, look, I just want to let our audience into a little bit of the conversation we were just having in the break, which I think honestly,
sometimes when we could put those on television, people would learn more than we can even normally say about what goes on.
But we're talking a little bit about Jim Jordan, the person and why it is that he is finding himself in the position that he is. So just to bring
everyone up to speed CNN reporting out of this Republican Conference meeting is that Jordan is not stepping aside from the Speaker's race.
But he acknowledges he doesn't want to have a third vote because his opposition is growing. They're talking about empowering Patrick McHenry
temporarily through January. And at that point, perhaps we'd get you know, this gives Jordan some more time to try to get people on board.
But, you know, Robby Mook, we were talking a little bit about I mean, this is not a guy who has spent his time in Congress building things?
HUNT: He has spent his time doing the opposite.
MOOK: Yes, exactly. I mean, the whole his sort of raison -- right and the same is true for Trump is like rip down the system tear things up. And the
challenge you have is when you have to govern, all of a sudden, you have to be for something.
And I think we saw that where he went into the conference and said, we need to pass you know, a budget, we need to do all these things. And then some
of his own, you know, ultra conservative members were starting to, to push back.
I think the other thing that's really interesting here and existential for the Republicans is remember, they barely won a majority. They're going into
an election, redistricting is changing in some of these states. So Democrats are going to have a better map, like, they need to win this
The math is already hard every day this goes on makes that worse. And so at some point, Jordan and others need to decide, am I doing what's best to
get, you know, our caucus reelected or, you know, for myself?
LONGWELL: Well, it's funny -- it's funny to think the problem with these new Republican arsonists is that they don't care that much about being in
the majority, right? They like to live in the opposition. They want to be - - because it's very grievance fueled. And so like Matt Gaetz doesn't care if they win a majority over it is right.
HUNT: Flipping things --
LONGWELL: It's about these individuals and you were very generous when you said that there were only eight sort of people holding them back like this.
The extent to which this conference is just split into multiple factions goes I think just beyond the eight who are willing to take that really just
incredible step of getting rid of Kevin McCarthy.
Like they've got so much so many deeper problems that for the first time ever, I am starting to -- I'm willing to move into some fantasy politics
places of like the Dems and some of the like governing people because I'm not sure there's a governing wing of the Republican Party, but I think
there are some governing people.
HUNT: Well you know what the right wing calls that, the unit party.
LONGWELL: The unit party -- I knew, I hear that. You might need the unit party though to actually do things like I don't know keep the government
HUNT: Right. No, I mean, and I think you raise some very good points. I mean, look, I want to bring a little bit, something that we saw Rep. Nick
Lalota. And I can't read out loud what's actually on the message that was sent to him, but we can put it up on the screen. It was a threatening
explicit email, and he just put it up there. I don't actually have the text of it, because I think they're afraid I might accidentally say the F word
on TV. But there you go.
That's what it says. And he says my vote card belongs to me and the people of the New York's First Congressional District, I won't succumb to the
threats. Rather, I'll support a Speaker Candidate who and he goes on to list some of the basic functions of government, the World Trade Center
Health Fund, National Flood Insurance, they're fighting about assault taxes, keeping the government open, securing the border, all those things
that, you know, lawmakers actually have to do if the country is going to continue to function.
But look, these threatening messages Seung Min. And I think this is one of the biggest differences between when I first started covering Congress, you
know, back when Nancy Pelosi was Speaker the first time --
HUNT: -- in 2006 so almost 20 years ago. The worst things that were said about members of Congress did not involve physical threats.
HUNT: We had them occasionally. And when they happen, they were big news. Big, you know, people were very, very gravely concerned about them. The
sort of attitude and language around this has shifted pretty dramatically.
And frankly, there's some scary polling that hasn't gotten a lot of attention this week, because we've been so focused on Israel, about the
levels at which people seem to think that violence is acceptable in terms of solving --
KIM: Really terrifying.
HUNT: -- political differences which is scary. But that's kind of what's underlying, especially this wing of the Republican Party that has thrown
the House into chaos.
KIM: Right. And this is also to the extent of how much the Speaker race has become sort of this outside game, because a lot of times Speaker races,
they are internal party politics and internal sort of strategizing and building coalitions that way.
But you see how much first of all, you know, conservative media, right wing media has gotten involved in. The very, you know, intimately involved in
trying to get Jordan elected a Speaker, and the calls and the threats have been, you know, fairly widespread for just one vote.
And it's been shocking to see the kinds of threats that members have a getting. You had our Nick up on the screen, you had Mariannette Miller-
Meeks from Iowa also getting similar threats when she stood up and voted for Kay Granger for Speaker instead.
I really honestly like feel for the young assistants on Capitol Hill who work in these offices of members who voted against Jordan, because I'm sure
they're getting a lot of calls right now pretty ugly. It's but it's become so much more commonplace. You're right, Kasie --
HUNT: Yes. Somebody I was talking to said, yes, you know, the staff assistants are picking up the phone, Sarah and like, hear something and
then they're just going like this, because, you know, people are just screaming their heads off.
LONGWELL: So this is actually an under discussed phenomenon that started with kind of Trump's rise. I mean, it also has a lot to do with social
media, but I got to say, that element of menace that sort of runs through the roof -- like if you talk to elected Republicans around impeachment,
this was a big deal, where people who wanted to vote for impeachment, they would say, like, I don't think I can, I have young kids.
LONGWELL: And you know they were just afraid of the mobs coming to their house yelling at them in airports. You see a lot of people getting yelled
at in airports, if people stand up to Trump, or they go against Jim Jordan or even this MAGA wing, there are plenty of people there to make them feel
physically uncomfortable about doing it.
And it is like an under expressed story about why Republicans feel like they have to fall in line on so many things.
HUNT: Right. Well, I mean, look, I mean, Robby, there was some criticism of these people as cowards in the impeachment context, which I honestly, I
understand why there were Democrats who were saying it's cowardly to be afraid for your own safety and not willing to stand up for what you're
But at the same time, I also have young children. And the reality is that these people are dealing with stuff that feels extremely scary. You know,
when it's coming to your own, like your personal cell phone, it's about where you live, they're spending thousands of dollars on security.
MOOK: 100 percent. And it's challenging for the Capitol Police to protect these, you know, over four hundred members.
HUNT: They don't have enough.
MOOK: There's just a logistical problem. There are all kinds of complications around local law enforcement absolutely. Look, the other
thing I think that's been sort of breaking down here is at the same time that the Republicans have not been willing to you know, censure their
members when they do things like this.
What we're seeing is that you can actually make a lot of money get a lot of campaign contributions online by saying things like this. I mean, this is
part of the problem is Matt Gaetz Marjorie Taylor Greene they can -- the more outrageous, the more reward they're getting, and then there's nothing
to stop them when they're in the House. And that dynamic has to change. I think this is going to get worse.
HUNT: Now for sure. All right, we are fingers crossed, hoping that Congressman Jim -- David Joyce, who is a key player in what's going on in
the House is going to be able to make it to the camera and talk to us here before the end of the hour. But honestly there are no guarantees so we're
going to be back with our panel if we can't find him coming up next on "State of the Race".
HUNT: All right. Welcome back. A live look at the U.S. Capitol where Republicans are struggling to find a replacement for Kevin McCarthy,
although I don't currently have a level of currently -- there it is your live looking at me but now you're looking at the Capitol live. We're going
to bring our panel back here.
I actually want to, you know, we are waiting as I said, for David Joyce, I'm not sure we're going to be able to get him to the camera. But I want to
kind of zoom out here. We've been down in kind of the weeds on what the House is doing and why.
But big picture Robby Mook, we've got a major address coming from President Biden tonight on Israel and Ukraine. I'm interested to hear from you. I
mean, this President obviously has a lot of big picture political challenges. He's now fighting. There are two wars that the United States is
not directly involved in but funding.
HUNT: And you know it's a real test for him on the stage. He obviously is facing questions about, you know, when we do the polling, his abilities to
continue to lead through another term. What are you -- what do you think behind the scenes the White House is hoping to accomplish with this speech
tonight? What are the top objectives?
MOOK: Yes. I think this is actually a perfect marriage of politics and policy. So look, there is a policy imperative, this money, this aid money
has to get passed, for us to continue to do what we need to do in Ukraine and help the Israelis. I mean, they're like -- the money can't -- the
President can't just like print the money that they need that that's the policy.
But I think politically, this is a great opportunity to look like the adults in the room, Congress, you know, the House is a mess. He can, you
know, call on them to get their act together and do this; I think that will help honestly. And it and it shows that leadership, you know, that that
he's looking for, that he can continue to govern.
HUNT: Sarah, you spent a lot of time doing focus groups with voters, understanding these kinds of complicated nuances. There are some
significant partisan divides emerging on support for the continuing to fund the war in Ukraine. There are some differences on Israel, they're a little
bit less pronounced.
What do you make of kind of where the Republican Party is right now? You know, the fact that there's growing opposition in the House to funding the
war in Ukraine among kind of a MAGA wing of the party? Where's that coming from? Where's it going? And what challenges does that present for President
LONGWELL: Yes, so I mean, I have felt like I'm taking crazy pills, watching the Republican Party on foreign policy, like I am watching a Democratic
President, stand up and be incredibly clear eyed on supporting our democratic allies, whether it's in Israel or Ukraine, and you're watching
the Republican Party completely fall apart.
And also, this rise of sort of -- and a lot of is this idea of America First has morphed among voters into this idea that we should not help
allies abroad, that we should be focused on our own border, we should be focused on our own citizens. I hear it in absolutely every single focus
We should be paying attention to us. We shouldn't be, you know, sending money over there. We certainly shouldn't be sending troops over there. And
that has become a huge wedge, another one of these wedges within the same conference where you've got your pre Trump, folks who think yes, of course,
we need to fund our democratic allies. That's a core of who we were what we used to stand for.
Then you've got the post Trump folks like Marjorie Taylor Greene saying, no blank checks, no more aid, and they're vocal about it. And so while the
majority of the American people I think would support aid to both, you have a significant part of the Republican Party who's not there for it.
HUNT: Seung Min?
KIM: Right, right. And I think that is kind of the trying to bridge the divide here. And I think if you look at the kind of the makeup of Congress,
if you just put these up on a vote with no sort of rules, majority of the majority vote there, it would pass by wide bipartisan margins.
But you've seen how much that sort of hard right faction of Republicans have controlled the policy and control the legislation on Capitol Hill. So
which is why again, this funding package, people who kind of want this -- people who want the House you gridlock to be over hope that breaks that
logjam here a bit. And I also do think it's a critical moment for President Biden because President Biden loves being abroad.
He is the Former Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. This is kind of more of that encapsulation of the so called Rose Garden strategy
that we knew he was going to run. He's not really going to campaign explicitly this year, save that for next year.
He's going to spend this year looking kind of presidential and going abroad, going to Tel Aviv for a day talking to reporters making these
important foreign leader calls aboard Air Force One securing humanitarian aid. That's the image of Joe Biden that they want to show particularly as
poll after poll shows that voters are concerned about his age, concerned about his ability to govern.
HUNT: Yes. No, it's a good points all. And Robby Mook we're out of time in the show, because I do want to know what's up with Anita Dunn deciding that
he should not campaign in all of 2023. We'll have that -- we'll have that conversation another day.
Seung Min, Robby Mook and Sarah Longwell thank you very much for joining us today. I am Kasie Hunt. That's the "State of the Race" for today, Thursday,
October 19th. You can always follow me on Instagram and the platform formerly known as Twitter but don't go anywhere "One World" is up next.