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State of the Union

Interview With Gov. Mike DeWine (R-OH); Interview With National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow; Interview With Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Aired 9-10a ET

Aired August 09, 2020 - 09:00   ET




DANA BASH, CNN HOST (voice-over): No deal. With millions of unemployed Americans growing more desperate, Congress is at an impasse over how to help.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): We're far apart, yes.

BASH: Now the president says he will act alone.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm taking executive action. We have had it.

BASH: Is it legal and will it work? I will talk to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Trump's chief economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, next.

And grim prediction. Health experts project 100,000 more deaths this year, as coronavirus spreads and state officials scramble to gain control.

GOV. MIKE DEWINE (R-OH): This virus has a mind of its own. We have no idea of how it's going to progress.

BASH: A leader whose false positive test result kept him from meeting with the president this week, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, ahead.

Plus: face to face. Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden narrows in on his search for a running mate, the latest on his V.P. short list ahead.


BASH: Hello. I'm Dana Bash, in for Jake Tapper, in Washington, where the state of our union is confused and angry.

It is difficult even to fathom the number of Americans suffering from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Nearly five million of them have now tested positive for the virus, and 162,000 are dead. More than seven million students are starting the school year with online learning only. And more than 16 million Americans are unemployed. And after two weeks of negotiating, congressional Democrats and the

White House could not reach any agreement to help those American families who are struggling just to put food on the table.

At this point, lawmakers have no plans for further talks. President Trump, who did not attend those negotiations and spent a long weekend at his golf resort in New Jersey, said yesterday that he would bypass Congress to sign executive actions addressing pandemic relief, including asking the federal government to consider halting evictions, deferring student loan payments, reallocating money, so that governors could partially replace the extra federal unemployment benefit that expired last month, and temporarily suspending the payroll tax.

But, already, there are lots of questions about how effective those actions will be and whether or not they're even legal.

Last night, one Republican senator criticized the president for ignoring Congress' role with -- quote -- "unconstitutional slop."

Joining me now is top White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow.

Thank you so much for joining me this morning.

I want to start with the president's claim that unemployed Americans will get $400 per week in unemployment assistance. But let's talk about what the executive action really says.

Americans only get money if, A, a governor asks for it, B, if the state kicks in $100 for each person each week. But many states, as you know, are really struggling to make ends meet.

So, let's be clear. No unemployed American is going to get an extra penny unless their governor asks for it and can afford it; is that right?

LARRY KUDLOW, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: Well, look, don't forget, please, the state unemployment benefits continue. There's no effect on what they do.

And, yes, you are correct. For an extra $100, we will lever it up. We will pay three-quarters, and the states will pay 25 percent. And I think the way this is going to work out, we have additional funds that we will repurpose for this.

This is an essential item. We have tried to get it through the Democratic House for, I don't know, two or three times. And it's going to be a form of economic assistance. Probably, you will get $800 total, federal and state.

And if we get it going September 1, which is what the deadline looks like, that will probably give the work force an increase in wages. Basically, it's a wage increase after taxes...

BASH: What do you mean $800 total?

KUDLOW: ... of $1,200. Well, at a minimum, we will put in 300 bucks, and the states will

continue with their 400 bucks.

But I think all they have to do is put up an extra dollar, and we will be able to throw in the extra $100. So, it should a total -- it should be -- may not be in every case...

BASH: That's not...

KUDLOW: ... because, as you know, we're talking averages.


KUDLOW: Some states higher, some states lower.

But, on average, Dana, it'll run to about $800. That's about a $1,200 wage increase.

BASH: But the executive action says $400 -- the executive action says $400 and that the state would pay 25 percent of this. You're talking about some other money that I don't know about.

KUDLOW: Well, we -- we will stand ready to repurpose if states put in a little bit more, is all it amounts to.


KUDLOW: Right now, that number is going to run around $700. I think they will get to $800. Some states can get above $800 with our federal help.


And, again, the key point here is that it's a wage increase, Dana, of about $1,200 for the last four months of the year. That's a big pay hike.

And not only does that reward the heroes who have been working. I think it's an incentive to get more people who want to come into the work force.

BASH: But I just -- we need a bit of a reality check here.

You do agree that the only any of way this could possibly happen is if the states actually ask for it and create a whole new system. And is that what your expectation is?

KUDLOW: Well -- well, look, that's just -- that's like topping it off. State benefits, I mean, we're talking about averages here across the country, but state benefits run about $300, $400.

That's going to continue. We're not touching that. That's up to the states.

BASH: Right. We're not talking about this. We're just talking about the enhanced unemployment benefit. Let's just -- let's leave that out of this conversation.

KUDLOW: That's correct.

BASH: So...

KUDLOW: So, for a 100 bucks add-on, we will put on $300.

BASH: What makes you think that states have that $100 a week per person who is unemployed in their state to even put into this potential pot of money?

KUDLOW: Well, I think -- I think they will be able to make room.

Our estimates from the Treasury Department in terms of CARES Act 1 was that the states have not spent all the money that was allocated to them, and that there is considerable overflow that they could make use of.

We are going to operate on the same principle in the executive order. We will be repurposing funds from other areas.

BASH: Have you...

KUDLOW: So, based on our estimates, the states will be able to provide the extra $100. And that will gross up the whole benefit to something, on average, of about $800.

BASH: Have you checked with the states? How many of the 50 states and D.C. and other territories say that they are going to be able to pony up $100 a week per unemployed...

KUDLOW: We will probably...

BASH: ... citizen?

KUDLOW: Yes, good question.

We will probably -- we will probably find that out today and tomorrow, as we make our canvass. We have been in touch with them. We have very good records coming out of the Treasury Department. But we will be in touch with them, yes.

BASH: So, you don't know? You don't know yet?

The president didn't know the answer to that before he made his announcement?

KUDLOW: Well, look, at the -- at the moment, we know the money, probably a good $80 billion to $100 billion, was not spent. So, we think that's distributed across the 50 states, should be ample. We will find out the exact specifics today and tomorrow.

BASH: So, I want to remind you of something that you said about this kind of move just this past week. Listen.


KUDLOW: We have got to fix and extend the unemployment issue right now. I don't know -- I don't think that can be done administratively. I think that requires an act of Congress.


BASH: So, the whole question of whether it -- there's the money for this to work is one, but what even you, yourself, said is whether it's even legal. Do you think it is?

KUDLOW: Well, I -- I'm not the lawyer, and I probably spoke out of turn there, because I worked all week with our Counsel's Office.

And they proved to me that we could use the Stafford Emergency Act and that we could repurpose funds to do that. So, I probably shouldn't have said that. I was thinking at that point we might be able to get a deal with congressional Democrats.

As you know, we were unable to get that deal. We tried a couple times. We offered compromises. We couldn't get it. So, the president decided to take action on his own.

Of course, I think he was right to do so. And when the lawyers gave me a green light, then, sure, no problem.


KUDLOW: We have a lot of -- the president has said for, what, four or five months regarding this whole virus emergency crisis and so forth, he said, we will use every power the federal government has to help out.

And I think this is an example of that.

BASH: So, you do think this is a real power? Because there's a big question about whether he way overstepped his power.

KUDLOW: I understand. There will be a debate. I'm not the lawyer, so I can't give you the final word.

But counsel Pat Cipollone has went through this with a fine -- gone through it with a fine-toothed comb. And he believes we can do it, and we are going to absolutely do it. And we will begin -- I believe this will begin effective August 1, actually.

BASH: Well, one quick other question about this apparent unemployment plan.

We have talked to experts about this, who say that, even if this did happen, that it could take months to get this new system up and running. Do you agree with that?

KUDLOW: No, I don't. The Labor Department, working with the states, believe it can happen much, much faster than that.


Mind you, all the -- all the federal money we had been putting in was running through the state systems. So, those systems, which needed some reform and needed some updating, to be sure, those systems are in much better shape today than they were three, four months ago.

BASH: So, when will people see their first checks?

KUDLOW: I don't want to be specific, because you might hold me to it, as you should, but I think it's going to be in a couple of weeks, and I think it's going to come to about $1,200 per person. That's a huge wage increase. Listen...

BASH: You keep saying $1,200 per person. Are you talking about in addition to the unemployment that they're already getting?

KUDLOW: Oh, no.

BASH: Where does that number come from?

KUDLOW: That's the payroll -- I'm sorry. I beg your pardon. The $1,200 will come from the payroll tax deferral on top of this.

BASH: OK. We're going to get to that. OK, all right, because this is -- there's a lot of numbers here, and it's a little confusing.


KUDLOW: Yes, I'm sorry. It should be...

BASH: I want to get to payroll tax in a minute. Go ahead.

KUDLOW: It should be 800 bucks. I beg your pardon. It should be 800 bucks for the unemployment.

BASH: Eight hundred or $400?

KUDLOW: No, it should be $400 -- it should be $800.

If the states step up, we're prepared to match. That should be -- come out $400 federal, $400 states.

BASH: OK. We will move on, because I think this is -- that's not what the president said, and it's a bit confusing. And I think the fact that it's not entirely known is very telling.

I want to talk about evictions, Mr. Kudlow, because the president claimed that he's protecting Americans from eviction. But that's not what this document says. It says that agencies should consider whether halting eviction stops the spread of COVID, and tells Treasury to identify money to help renters and to promote their ability to avoid eviction.

This is not a freeze on evictions. This is a memo asking his Cabinet to study it, right?

KUDLOW: Well, it gives the health department -- it gives Health Secretary Alex Azar and the CDC a lot of power.

If they are concerned about community spread, for example, they will trigger actions that will prevent evictions. And I think, in most cases -- I mean, we did not -- fortunately, we did not have much forbearance and eviction from the first CARES period, the last three, four months.

But -- but -- go...

BASH: But if I got an eviction notice, and I listened to what the president said yesterday, I think I am not going to be evicted. But that's not what this executive order actually says. Do you agree with that?

KUDLOW: Well, no, not exactly, because, again, the health secretary has the authority, working with the CDC, to declare it an emergency. And, therefore, there will be no evictions.

BASH: Has the authority, but...

KUDLOW: And please don't forget -- and he will use that authority.

BASH: Does -- yes or no, does this -- yes or no, does this freeze evictions, prevent evictions, period, full stop, as the president said yesterday?

KUDLOW: It will. It absolutely will.

All that has to happen, we're -- we're setting up a process, a mechanism, OK? I can't predict the future altogether.

All the federally financed single families and multi-families will be covered, as they have been.

BASH: I...

KUDLOW: With respect to the additional population, again, if HHS declares emergencies, then evictions will be stopped. Look, we do not want people being shifted...

BASH: OK. I just want you to know, in this -- and I know you have seen it -- it uses words like consider, identify, promote, review. There's nothing that actually says a landlord cannot evict a tenant.

But let's move on, because I really want to talk to you about the payroll tax cut. This is another part of what the president talked about. Let's start with the fact that it doesn't affect 16 million Americans who are currently unemployed and aren't on a payroll to tax, right? Let's start there.

And I also want to talk about what you said in 2011. You wrote that a payroll tax cut is a -- quote -- "very weak-kneed economic stimulant and a lackluster job creator."

So, were you wrong then, or are you wrong now?

KUDLOW: No, look, all I was saying then is, there are stronger tax cut measures that would have bigger effects throughout the economy.

But, when I said that, you couldn't foresee what's happened with the virus and COVID. You just couldn't foresee that.

Now, look, at this point, as I said, it would probably be worth $1,200 per worker.

And in terms of the number of workers, yes, we are running somewhere around 15, 16 million unemployed, way down, I might add, thankfully. We have had a $9 million (sic) increase in jobs and a big decline in the unemployment rate to 10.2 percent on the Friday nights.


BASH: Well...

KUDLOW: And we are in, I believe, a strong self-sustaining V-shaped recovery.

On the payroll tax, I think people should think...

BASH: OK. Well, you say that. You say that. I just...

KUDLOW: People should think of it, Dana, as...


BASH: And it's better than it was, but just remember that we are at a place right now where the unemployment rate is still at the height that it was in the Great Recession of 2009, as you well know. I mean, it's still pretty bad.

KUDLOW: I understand.

BASH: Thirty million Americans don't have -- don't have enough to eat.

On this payroll tax question...

KUDLOW: But, Dana, I just -- I want to make sure.

I understand that. As I have said many, many, many times, there is still plenty of hardship, and there is still plenty of heartbreak in these numbers. That, by the way, is why we are driving forth with administration executive actions to provide unemployment assistance.

And with respect to the payroll tax, basically we're giving 140-some- odd million people who work through this pandemic -- they're heroes -- we're giving them about a $1,200 wage increase, after tax.

BASH: Mr. Kudlow...

KUDLOW: And I think that is vitally important. And I think that will incent...

(CROSSTALK) BASH: ... you say, we're giving them -- you say, we're giving them that.

But, as you well know, in the Constitution, it says the power to tax is a power of the Congress of the United States. How on earth is the president unilaterally making a decision on taxes constitutional?

KUDLOW: Well, look, it's a deferral.

It's not a tax rate change. I understand it will be challenged in the courts. We will see what happens.

A lot of this, Dana, has to do with repurposing. We have a lot of extra money that has not yet been spent. That's part of the negotiations. The Supreme Court has permitted us in the past, particularly regarding the wall between the United States and Mexico, to allow repurposing of funds.

And we believe the Treasury Department has the authority to suspend a tax, not permanently, but to suspend a tax on a temporary basis.


Well, not permanently, but the president said -- OK. But the president said explicitly that, if he gets reelection -- reelected, he will make the payroll tax cut permanent.

KUDLOW: I think...

BASH: As you well know, these funds, these funds go into and help pay for Social Security and Medicare. The president promised many times not to gut Social Security and Medicare.

KUDLOW: I don't think that -- yes, he's going to...

BASH: So, isn't that exactly what he would be doing here?

KUDLOW: No. He will protect Social Security and Medicare, as he has pledged to do many, many times.

BASH: How does he do that and cut payroll taxes at the same time?

KUDLOW: Well, hang on.

When he referred to permanent, I think what he was saying is that the deferral of the payroll tax to the end of the year will be made permanent. It will be forgiven. The tax is not going away. We're still going to have the Social Security tax. We're still protecting...

BASH: Well, he said he would -- he said he would do away with it if he gets reelected. It was a new campaign pledge.

KUDLOW: I understand, Dana.

But -- no, I -- I think that he was referring -- doing away with it, I believe he was referring to doing away with the payback of the deferral.

And I think his intent here -- and it's written in the E.O. -- it's very clear -- that we will take any steps possible to forgive this deferral. That's what he was actually saying.


KUDLOW: We will protect Social Security. We will protect Medicare.

BASH: I just want to say -- I just want to say, that's what you're saying. That is not -- that is not what the president said at all.

He said the opposite.

KUDLOW: It's in the executive order.

BASH: Just real quick -- OK.

KUDLOW: It's in the executive order.

BASH: Well, that's not what he said. People aren't reading the executive order. They are listening this. They are listening to what he said.

KUDLOW: Well, I think he was meaning -- I think he meant -- I think he meant the deferral would be forgiven.


KUDLOW: I think he was saying that the savings on the deferral will be permanent.

BASH: OK. Thank...

KUDLOW: He did not mean that he's eliminating the Social Security tax.

BASH: Thank you for clarifying that. Thank you for joining me this morning. I appreciate it.

KUDLOW: All right, thank you.

BASH: And up next, the top Democrat in the relief negotiations, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, responds to the president's announcement.

Plus, President Trump says that states have enough money to chip in and pay unemployed Americans $100 more a week. Is that true? We will ask Ohio Governor Mike DeWine about that claim and about his positive test for coronavirus, which turned out to be negative.

Stay with us.



BASH: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION. I'm Dana Bash.

Yesterday, President Trump accused Democrats of being unreasonable to push for $3 trillion in economic relief for Americans and said his four executive actions will -- quote -- "take care of pretty much this entire situation," after congressional talks broke down.

Joining me now to respond is the Democratic speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi.

Thank you so much for joining me.

Let me just start with what just happened in my interview with the president's chief economic adviser, Larry Kudlow. He said that the White House didn't know how many states would contribute to the president's plan to supplement unemployment insurance or how long it would take for those payments to kick in.

What's your response?

PELOSI: Well, first, good morning, Dana. It's nice to be with you on a Sunday morning. Let us all be prayerful that we can meet the needs of the American people, especially as we all watch the angst that is associated with sending children back to school.

What the president's adviser said is -- really shows the weakness and the meagerness of what the president proposed.


First of all, he is saying states have the money. No, they don't. They have expenses from the coronavirus. They have lost revenue. Because of that, they may -- they are firing health care workers, first responders, teachers, and the rest, sanitation, transportation workers, because they don't have the money.

Second of all, he -- everything is left out, our assistance to the schools, feeding the hungry, helping people who are going to be evicted. The president...

BASH: Well, what about...

PELOSI: ... didn't even do a moratorium. He just did a study or a look at a moratorium.

So, again, something's wrong. Either the president doesn't know what he's talking about -- clearly, his aides don't know what he is talking about -- and -- or something's very wrong here about meeting the needs of the American people at this time.

BASH: Well, let's talk about what he did do or what he said he did with these executive actions.

Are they legal? And if you don't think they are, are you going to sue to block them?

PELOSI: Well, the fact is, is that whether they're legal or not takes time to figure out.

I associate myself -- remarks with Senator Sasse, who says, they're unconstitutional slop. I think that's right.

BASH: But will you sue?

PELOSI: Well, right now, we want to address the needs of the American people.

As the constitutional -- my constitutional advisers tell me they're absurdly unconstitutional. But, right now, our focus -- and that's a parallel thing.

Right now, the focus, the priority has to be on, again, meeting the needs of the American people, sufficiently allocating resources to send children to school, not threatening schools that, if they don't have actual attendance, they won't get the federal dollars.

BASH: So, given that, are negotiations going to resume?

PELOSI: Well, I hope so.

BASH: Or are negotiations dead?

PELOSI: I hope so.

We -- look, we have a big difference, and here's why. For example, millions of children in America are food-insecure, and their families as well. But I always like to focus on the children.

In the -- in our bill, we have tens of billions of dollars to address the hunger needs in our country, which are there normally, but exacerbated during the pandemic. We have tens of billions of dollars.

They have $250,000, $250,000.So, do they care?

I have a prayer that I say, let's pray for those who are hungry; let's pray harder for those who will not feed them.

BASH: So...

PELOSI: Then we go to -- the Princeton Lab, Eviction Lab, says that we need resources, there are going to be this many millions of evictions.

BASH: So, given that...

PELOSI: And the president is going to study it, going to look at it.

BASH: Right. Right.

So, given that, you are the speaker of the House. You have enormous power. You have been in these negotiations.

PELOSI: Yes. BASH: Given what you just said about people hungry and worried and

very, very fearful, why not get back in that room and come up with a compromise on some of these core issues?

PELOSI: That's right.

BASH: I understand -- I understand you want to get the best possible for people, but, at some point, you have got to work with the other side, right?

PELOSI: Well, that's right.

And that's why we said we will come down a trillion, not that we cut out any of our priorities, but we shorten the length of time in which they would be in effect. And next year, we can extend them again. And they could add something.

I mean, tens of trillions, $60 trillion, actually, $250,000 -- there's a long way for us to come together. But we will come down a trillion, you go up a trillion, we will find our common ground here. Let's go to the table.

BASH: OK. So, why aren't you...

PELOSI: But we can't accept what they have there.

BASH: So, why aren't you at the table, then? Why aren't you guys working all weekend, then, to try to figure that out?

PELOSI: Well, we said, come back -- come back when you want to put up some more money. But we can't accept the meager pass that they have there.

And, by the way, this is really a thing -- an issue that takes a lot of our time, opening up our schools. We have the data that shows that, if you open up actually, if you open up virtually, and if you open up hybrid, it costs just about the same amount of money.

And so what we have seen is, of the 100 largest school districts, 62 are opening 100 percent virtual.

BASH: Right. So...

PELOSI: And yet the president is saying, unless you open up actual, we're withholding federal dollars.

BASH: So -- OK.

So, I want to talk specifically about this extra $600 a week in unemployment benefits that expired.

Two top Obama economic officials, Tim Geithner and Jason Furman, wrote in June that extending $600 would -- quote -- "does not make sense now."

You're standing firm on that number, on that $600. [09:30:00]


BASH: Why are you insisting on that, as opposed to having a compromise with the Republicans, so that people out there who are hungry, who desperately need that money could get something, rather than nothing, which is what they have now?

PELOSI: Well, let's just say that the $600, many economists tell us -- I didn't even see that on their part -- many economists that that has kept many, many millions of people out of poverty, A.

B, what they put on the floor of the House Senate last week was $200, $200. And it represents..

BASH: OK. So, you have $600. They have $200. What about $400? I mean, that seems like a pretty clear compromise.

PELOSI: Yes, but what the president proposed -- what the president proposed yesterday at his country club, surrounded by his people who must have spent thousands of dollars to join, is something that won't even work.

He is talking about, well, I will put up $400, and the states will put up $100. They have the money.

They don't have the money.

BASH: Right. He's talking about executive action, which is questionable. I'm talking about doing it the right way.

PELOSI: But I'm saying that what he put forth is not -- is not even workable.

BASH: Would you do $400 extra...

PELOSI: I'm not negotiating that right here. It depends on what else is in the bill.

BASH: ... legislatively?

PELOSI: It depends on what else is in the bill.

When they have $250,000 for food, nothing for elections, withholding funds from schools who want to open up virtually and the rest, again, no money for those who will be evicted, because that's the same -- that's the same kitchen table. I either get this money and I can help me pay the rent, or I don't get this...

BASH: I understand you don't want to...

PELOSI: And I get no money to pay the rent.

BASH: I understand you don't want to negotiate with me. But my question is, are Republicans right when they say you will not

come off of your $600 number, you will not come up of other figures, other policy initiatives that you want, and that's why you're at stalemate?


PELOSI: Yes. No, that's not why we're at a stalemate.

We're at a stalemate because the Republicans have, from the start, never understood the gravity of the situation that we are in. They have called it a hoax. They have called it -- their -- delay, denial, extortion of this pandemic.

And we cannot open our economy or open until -- our schools safely unless we address the pandemic. So, the basic thing is, they have ignored that. The problem has grown. And it has become an enormous economic problem.

And the fact is -- the fact is, others...

BASH: Do you take any responsibility, Madam Speaker, for the fact that this is stuck?

PELOSI: Others have said, the chairman of the Fed, other economists have said, pay now or pay more later.

So, what we're saying is, let's get -- let's help those who need it the most. Let's send our children safely to school. Let's make sure they have food, make sure their families are not evicted, make sure that their grandparents are not getting...


BASH: Right. But, right now, they have nothing, as you well know, because those things expired. So...

PELOSI: Well, what do you think they would get out of a $250,000 food designation in the Republican plan? In other words, you are acting as if there is some great big thing that they're proposing.

BASH: No, no, no, I'm not. I'm asking if there is -- if there is room for compromise on your end.

PELOSI: Of course. Of course there is room for compromise, but you have to see the entire package.

BASH: OK. So, I want to ask about -- I want to ask about that.

The next spending deadline, as you know better than I, for Congress to take action is September 30.


BASH: So, is it possible that Americans will have to wait until late September, almost two months from now, without any congressional relief?

PELOSI: On September 30, to do what? I'm sorry. I missed your...


BASH: So, that's the next deadline, when you all have to act on spending.

PELOSI: Right. That's right, the end of the fiscal year.

BASH: Is it possible that -- right. So, is it possible that this stalemate is going to last until then, that people aren't going to get relief from you all in Congress until then?

PELOSI: Oh, these are two separate issues. What we do on the appropriations process to meet our fiscal year deadline is one thing. We have...

BASH: And you -- so, you're confident you're going to get back to the table and figure this out?

PELOSI: Well, we have to. We have to.

And that's why we were willing to say, we will come down a trillion. That doesn't mean the needs of the American people have gone down. It just means that we recognize that they have a disdain for the needs of the American people.

That's why they question whether people even need the $600. That's why they question -- they say to me, "Some people just don't want to pay rent."

We're like: "Well, you know what? Most people do."

BASH: OK. So, I want to ask -- I really want to ask you about something different, but it's so important, and that is the security of American elections.

A top elections official in the office of the Director of National Intelligence revealed on Friday that Russia is using a range of measures to primarily denigrate former Vice President Joe Biden, while both China and Iran don't want President Trump to win reelection.


You suggested in a statement that the threats posed by these three countries are not equal.

PELOSI: That's right.

BASH: Tell us more about that, please.

PELOSI: They're not equivalent.

And that's why Senator Schumer -- excuse me -- Leader Schumer, Chairman Schiff, and -- I don't know what they call him in the Senate -- I think it's vice chair of the Intelligence Committee, Warner, have sent a letter to them saying, the American people need to know what Russia is doing to interfere in this election.

BASH: What can you tell us, about somebody who's privy to that intelligence, without...

PELOSI: Well, we can -- no, we can tell more than what the intelligence community put forth.

They responded positively, put more information out there, but there is more that needs to be put out there. No sources and methods. Nobody understands that better than us.

BASH: Can you lean into it a little bit more, for the sake of voters wondering what's going on?

PELOSI: Well, I can't divulge information that is classified. That's why we want them to do it.

But I will say this, that, for some reason, they have tried to have some equivalence. I take second place to no one on my criticism of China for over 30 years. They have -- I have said to my staff the other day, they say I'm the most unliked American in China -- disliked American in China.

They say, no, they don't say that. They say you're the most hated American in China, because of their human rights violations, their trade policy, their proliferation of weapons and that.

BASH: Right.

PELOSI: But -- so, I have no -- take no criticism for saying this.

BASH: So...

PELOSI: But the Chinese, they -- what they said is, China would prefer Joe Biden.Whether they do -- that's their conclusion, that they would prefer Joe Biden.

Russia is actively, 24/7 interfering in our election. They did so in 2016, and they are doing so now. And they say that to a certain extent, but they need to tell the American people more.

The American people, I believe, think they should decide who the president of the United States is, not Vladimir Putin making that decision for us.

BASH: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, I really enjoy -- appreciate you coming on this morning.

PELOSI: Thank you, Dana. Thank you, and good morning.

BASH: Thank you.

He tested positive and then negative for coronavirus. So, what does that say about the accuracy of testing in America? Ohio Governor Mike DeWine joins me next.



BASH: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION. I'm Dana Bash.

This week, Republican Governor Mike DeWine of Ohio became the -- at least the fourth person to test positive for coronavirus before meeting with President Trump.

But, later that day, the governor took another test that came up negative, and another test yesterday, also negative.

Joining me now is Ohio's Republican Governor Mike DeWine.

First of all, Governor, thank goodness that you're OK. We're glad that you're healthy.

DEWINE: Thank you.

BASH: But what I want to ask you about is about this experience. You called it scary.

And what I'm wondering is whether it gave you a greater appreciation for the panic and confusion that Americans feel because the testing situation is so inadequate, and specifically about the plan that you have.

There are millions of antigen tests that are out there. And people are concerned about them. But you're obtaining, with a group of six other states, the ability to do more of them.

Do you still have that plan, even though you have your own personal experience about how inadequate that test is?

DEWINE: Well, first of all, I talked with Larry Hogan this morning. And we were just talking about that.

And I think what -- people should not take away from my experience that testing is not reliable or doesn't work. What I took was, as you pointed out, an antigen test, which is really a -- should be looked at as a screening test; 1.3 million Ohioans have taken a PCR test.

That test is very, very, very reliable. And so that is the diagnostic test. That's the test that we have been using in Ohio. The antigen tests are fairly new. And the companies that are coming out with them, quite frankly, have the burden of showing, you know, how good they are.

Could they be used in some situations? Yes, they could be, but you have to understand going in that you can get the false positives, like happened in my case, or you can get the false negatives. So, it can be used in a screening way.

BASH: So, you're still going ahead with this plan with the other governors, despite what happened?


DEWINE: We have not made a decision.

BASH: Oh, OK, go ahead.

DEWINE: Yes, all we have done is, we have said, let's group together. Let's put our purchasing power together, not just potentially for antigen tests, but maybe for other things as well.

BASH: I see.

DEWINE: So, we are taking this one step at a time.

What we saw the other day is certainly -- if anyone needed a wakeup call with -- about antigens, how careful you have to be, that was -- we certainly saw that with my test. And we're going to be very careful in how we use it.

BASH: They certainly did.

I want to ask you about the executive action signed by the president yesterday, after negotiations collapsed on Capitol Hill. He claimed that what he did yesterday gives $400 in weekly payments to Americans out of work extra.

But in order to qualify, states like yours have to be willing to pay a quarter of that. Listen to what the president said.


TRUMP: States will be asked to cover 25 percent of the costs using existing funding, such as the tens of billions of dollars available to them through the coronavirus relief fund. States have the money. It's sitting there.



BASH: So, Governor, are you going to set up that new program, request this money, and can you even afford your share of it?

DEWINE: Well, first of all, we're reviewing this now. We have set some money aside, a significant amount of money, for testing. Testing is going to be very, very important. So, the answer is, I don't know yet.

But I want to say that -- I want to thank the president. And, look, the president had a difficult situation. He's got a blunt instrument. And that's the executive order. He's trying to do something. He's trying to move the ball forward.

But I think it's -- what happen -- what really needs to happen is, Congress needs to get back in and negotiate. You and I were talking off air. I spent 20 years in Congress. And many, many times, it looked like it was absolutely impossible.

You had Democrat vs. Republicans, somebody in the White House. Nothing's going to happen, and then, boom, at the last minute, it happened.

And so I'm confident that Congress can do something. They need to do -- they really need to do it. They need to pull together.

I think, Dana, we need to look at this as if we are at war. And throughout our history, when we have had a foreign invader, we have pulled together, Democrats and Republicans. We have an invader. And that is this virus. So, I think -- I'm confident that they can do that.



DEWINE: Optimistic.

BASH: So, just to be clear, people in your state of Ohio, they were watching the president yesterday. They think that they're going to get, if they're unemployed, an extra 400 bucks coming their way. What you're saying is, that is not clear and it might not happen?

DEWINE: We're looking at it right now to see whether we can do this.

And one of the things that we looked at, as we look back, our economists looked at what has happened, particularly in regard -- specifically in regard to Ohio.

But that extra money, you know, went to people who really needed it, enabled them to buy groceries, enabled them to do their rent. The other benefit it had, frankly, is, they went out and spent that money, as you would expect. And that money circulated in the Ohio economy. So it mattered a lot.

And so whether or not it's $600 or $400 or where that figure should be, I think Congress needs to get back at it.

BASH: So...

DEWINE: I talked with Rob Portman this morning. And Rob had a plan some time ago that seemed to me to be a compromise plan, which gave people money, but also gave them an extra incentive if they went back to work.

That's the type thing that there's got to be a middle ground somewhere, so people can...

BASH: Yes, you would think that there would be.


BASH: I want to ask about the money for states, which is a big holdup between the two sides. The president said yesterday that what he did takes care of the

situation. But, more importantly, he said the Democrats are holding out for funding for states like yours because it's a bailout for Democratic-run states.

You're a Republican. You run an important state of Ohio. Could you use the money that they're talking about?

DEWINE: Yes, I'm not sure all the -- what's been going back and forth. I can't follow it every day. I have got a state to try to run here.

BASH: Well, they're talking about a federal -- more federal dollars to give to the states. Could you use that money?


DEWINE: Yes, let me -- sure, we could.

Let me just say what our priorities are. Our priorities would be more flexibility for our state, so that we can help with education. Our priority would also be more flexibility for the local communities, for the cities, and for the counties to be able to spend the money.

We could use additional money for testing. This testing -- you know, we have doubled our testing in the last four weeks. We need to double it again and then double it again.

And so that is not going to be cheap to do. But that is -- until we get a vaccine, we have to do testing and we have to do tracing. So, those would be our -- my priorities in Ohio.

BASH: Governor, I understand.

Before I let you go, I have an important question about elections coming up. As you well know, Ohio has picked the winner in all but two elections since 1896. So far, what we have seen now in your state is that every Ohio voter can vote by mail.

Politico is reporting that the White House is weighing executive actions to curb mail-in voting. The president insists that it leads to widespread fraud. Do you agree with that?

DEWINE: I can only speak to Ohio.

And we have long experience in voting by mail. We have a no-reason -- you don't have to give a reason, and, for four weeks, you can get an absentee ballot. It's worked exceedingly well in Ohio. People can also go in at the Board of Elections and vote.

So, as -- I think you're going to see more of that because of the coronavirus and people not wanting to go out. But we have a long, long experience in doing that in Ohio. And...


BASH: And you're comfortable with that, no fraud?

DEWINE: I'm comfortable. You -- look, you always have to worry about fraud. You have to be vigilant.

We have a great secretary of state, Frank LaRose. And we have local boards, Democrat and Republican...

BASH: Thank you.

DEWINE: ... checking on each other. It's going to work.

BASH: Thank you, Governor. Thank you so much for joining me. I appreciate it.

DEWINE: Thank you. Good to be with you.

BASH: I'm glad you're well.

DEWINE: Thank you.

BASH: Presidential candidate's search for a running mate is always shrouded in secrecy but the former vice president is narrowing his options, meeting with Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, also considering California Senator Kamala Harris, Congresswoman Karen Bass, former National Security Advisor Susan Rice, as well as Senators Elizabeth Warren and Tammy Duckworth.


All of these finalists are ambitious women and proud of it. All of these finalists say flatly that they would be ready on day one. All of these finalists are of course female and the majority are women of color, which means the vice president's choice may very well be historic, even if it isn't the highest, hardest glass ceiling yet.

Thanks for joining me. The news continues next.