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State of the Union

Interview With Gov. Doug Ducey (R-AZ); Interview With National Economic Council Director Brian Deese; Interview With Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH); Interview With Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). Aired 9-10a ET

Aired January 31, 2021 - 09:00   ET




DANA BASH, CNN HOST (voice-over): No time for delay. New coronavirus variants emerge in the U.S., threatening to worsen the spread and increase the death toll by thousands.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The COVID relief has to pass. There's no ifs, ands, or buts.

BASH: As the new administration pushes for more relief, will they get the bipartisan support the president promised?

I will speak to top Biden economic adviser Brian Deese and Republican Senator Rob Portman next.

And GameStop? Wall Street turns into a frenzy, after small-time investors put the squeeze on hedge funds. Is it time for Washington to step in and try to control the chaos? Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren joins me to discuss exclusively.

Plus: political civil war. Republicans turn on their own across the country. As Senate Republicans appear increasingly likely to acquit former President Trump, his own defense lawyers are jumping ship. What happened to the GOP?

I will speak exclusively to Arizona Republican Governor Doug Ducey ahead.


BASH: Hello. I'm Dana Bash in Washington, where the state of our union is facing a reckoning.

We begin with some breaking news this morning. CNN has learned former President Trump's defense lawyers all left with just over one week until the start of his impeachment trial, because the former president wanted them to make the fraudulent argument that the election was stolen from him, according to a source familiar with what happened.

And with the trial approaching, the Biden administration is trying to urgently pass its top priority, a nearly $2 trillion plan to help millions of jobless and hungry Americans who just suffered through the worst economic year this nation has seen since the end of World War II.

The plan includes $1,400 stimulus payments, enhanced unemployment, assistance for small business, money for child care, and aid for states and schools, increased support for vaccines, and a $15 minimum wage increase.

But, as the Republican Party struggles with its own identity, the question is whether President Joe Biden will be able to deliver on the compromise he promised the nation in his inaugural address just 11 days ago or whether Democrats will plow ahead with the plan all by themselves.

Joining me now to discuss all of this is President Biden's top economic adviser, director of the National Economic Council, Brian Deese.

Good morning. Thank you so much for joining me.

I know you have seen this morning a group of 10 Republican senators led by Susan Collins -- and it includes my next guest, Rob Portman -- sent a letter to President Biden. It outlines a proposal for compromise. And in that, they are requesting a meeting with President Biden to discuss it.

Will that meeting happen?

BRIAN DEESE, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: We have received the letter. And we certainly will be reviewing it over the course of the day.

What I will say is that the provisions of the president's plan, the American Rescue Plan, were calibrated to the economic crisis that we face. As you know, we just lived through the worst economic year since the demobilization in the wake of World War II.

Just this week, a million more Americans filed claims for unemployment insurance. Thirty million Americans reported they didn't have enough food to eat.

We're in a unique crisis. And the elements of this plan really were designed and are designed to take on that crisis head on.

How are we going to get shots in people's arms? How are we going to get schools reopened, so parents can get back to work? And how are we going to provide that direct relief to those families and those businesses that are struggling the most?

So, that is the theory behind the plan. We're certainly open to input from anywhere where we can find a constructive idea to make this package as effective as possible. But the president is uncompromising when it comes to the speed that we need to act at to address this crisis.

BASH: But are you willing to negotiate any points of your proposal? Or, for example, are you wedded to the number, the price tag, $1.9 trillion? Are you willing to come down from that? DEESE: We really need to focus on the elements of this package and

what they're intended to do.

So, if we look at the vaccine distribution effort, for example, the money passed in December is quickly running down, and we need more resources urgently to stand up the vaccine distribution efforts, the vaccine procurement efforts that we know are necessary if we're going to get our arms around this crisis.


BASH: So...

DEESE: If we want to have a viable chance at getting schools to reopen, we are going to have to provide more resources to schools.

And if we don't act now, the cost of that is going to be greater going forward.

BASH: Brian...

DEESE: So, we're certainly open to ideas.

BASH: Yes. And everything you're saying is understandable and makes sense.

What I'm trying to figure out is where the points of compromise are. You talk about the specifics being most important. You would be OK if those specifics at the end of the day didn't add up to $1.9 trillion?

DEESE: We put a plan forward that is based on the bottom-up assessment of the objective need.

So, we are -- we welcome input to say where we may have not gotten everything right, where we could be more effective. Certainly, that's part of the process as we go forward.

But what we really need to focus on now is, what do we need to get this economy back on track and what are the resources necessary to do so?

BASH: And...

DEESE: I would note that they're -- while there has been focus on this cost, increasingly, over the course of the week, we have seen study after study show what the cost is if we don't act, four million jobs lost, significantly less GDP growth this year, children who will be set back for their lifetime if we can't get them back into school.

So, this is a moment of crisis. And in moments of crisis, we have heard from the top economic advisers from President Bush, President Trump, economists across the board, saying the cost of doing too little right now far outweighs the cost of doing too much.

That is the theory behind the president's plan.

BASH: Let me drill down on one specific. And that is something that these 10 Republicans are in favor of. So is Democrat Joe Manchin.

And that is to target the stimulus checks. In fact, you talk about studies. A nonpartisan analysis found families making over $78,000 a year barely spent the last round of stimulus checks. So, are you willing to make these checks more targeted to only people who really need the help?

DEESE: We want to get cash into the pockets of the families and the businesses who need it the most.

That's why we have unemployment insurance extension for people who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own, why we have support for nutrition and hunger, support to avoid families being evicted from their homes and being put out on the street...

BASH: But what about the stimulus checks?

DEESE: ... and also the $1,400 checks.

BASH: Will you target those $1,400 checks?

DEESE: Yes, on the $1,400 checks, we are open to looking at how to make the entire package effective at achieving its objective, including providing support to families with children, providing direct child tax credits to families that have children and who have been hit the hardest in this crisis.

That is certainly a place that we're willing to sit down and think about, are there ways to make the entire package more effective?

I would just reinforce that we can't take on this issue without dealing with those who are unemployed. We can't take on this issue without dealing with those who are going hungry. And so, as we think about the targeting, we think this plan is really targeted to provide cash into the pockets of the people who are the most in need.

Certainly open to figuring out if we can make that entire package as effective as possible.


But, specifically on the checks, I think I'm hearing you say that that is a place you're willing to negotiate to make them more targeted to the people who need them most and not go to people who aren't going to spend them?

DEESE: We're open to that idea. We're open to ideas across the board.

What I want to reinforce is that, if we're going to look at ways of targeting, we need to look at how this plan is targeted overall. And so the support that is going directly to children in terms of the child tax credit, the support that is going to keep people in their homes through eviction, those are highly targeted.

And we should think about how all of these pieces work together to achieve that end goal, which is to get money into the pockets of the families and the small businesses that need it the most.

BASH: I want to ask about something that was brewing this week in a big way. And that is the chaos that we saw on Wall Street this week.

Essentially, a group of individual investors on the Internet forum Reddit banded together to buy shares in the company stop -- company GameStop. The value of the shares skyrocketed, which dramatically upended the market.

You are the president's top economic adviser. So, what is your reaction to this?

DEESE: Well, the SEC is looking into all of the elements of this situation, with a real focus on protecting retail investors and the integrity of the market.

I think, bigger picture, what this reinforces is that the stock market is not a good barometer of what is happening in the real economy for most American families. Our focus this week and right now is on those million Americans, more than a million Americans who had to file for unemployment insurance this week because the economy is moving backward and we are facing a historic crisis.

BASH: Yes. And...

DEESE: And the steps we need to take to support them are really focused on measures that will help Main Street small businesses, help families that are struggling.


That's really our focus.

BASH: Which is understandable, but, presumably, you can have multiple focuses at once, especially when it comes to people's financial health.

I know you worked on issues like this years ago. You were on Obama -- the Obama team dealing with the aftermath of the 2008 crisis. This has the potential to blow up pretty big. So, why just punt this to the SEC?

DEESE: Well, we are looking closely at this. And we are going to look closely at the broader policy questions associated with the equity markets.

But I -- the immediate reaction is appropriately being investigated and looked into by the SEC that has regulatory authority over those issues.

Our immediate focus is on putting a floor under this economic crisis, because, if we're not able to take decisive action right now, the people who will struggle will be American families across the country and small businesses on Main Street.

We have got to keep that as our focus in the immediate term. BASH: Brian Deese, Joe Biden's top economic adviser, you have got a

lot on your plate. We really appreciate you joining us this morning.

Thank you.

DEESE: Thank you.

BASH: And you just heard from the administration.

Up next, one of the key Republican senators they are hoping to bring on board, Rob Portman, is here to respond.

Plus, while the majority of the Republican Party appears to be sticking with Donald Trump, his own lawyers aren't. All of his impeachment defense attorneys are suddenly gone. They left with just a week until the trial. What happened?

Stay with us.




SEN. ROB PORTMAN (R-OH): It's gotten harder and harder to break through the partisan gridlock and make progress on substantive policy issues.

We live in an increasingly polarized country, where members of both parties are pushed further to the right and further to the left. And there are too few people who are actively looking for that common ground.


BASH: Republican Senator Rob Portman, a longtime member of the House and now Senate, explaining his surprise decision this week to retire after his term ends, leaving a party in chaos after an insurrection on the Capitol fueled in part by some of his Trump loyalist colleagues.

In response to the announcement, a former top aide to Speakers John Boehner and Paul Ryan tweeted: "Congress is no place for a sensible Republican anymore."

Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman joins me now.

Thank you so much for joining me.

I know you heard my interview with Brian Deese, the president's top economic adviser. I talked to him about the letter that you and nine other Republicans sent this morning.

What do you think about that? What is your reaction to what he said?

PORTMAN: Well, first, thank you for the interview. It is the first time I have heard the administration say they actually want to make good on the promises made in the inaugural address with regard to COVID-19.

So, you made progress. Thank you.

I mean, seriously, it is extraordinary to me that you have a great speech, which I said at the time, at the inaugural, talking about the need to heal and the need for us to work together as a country, Republican and Democrat alike, and a pledge to do more outreach to Republicans, and then the next day landing on our desks a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 package, when, only a month ago, we passed a $900 billion COVID-19 package that was entirely bipartisan.

This one, nobody was consulted, including the Democrats on our bipartisan group that compiled the previous bill. And, frankly, we haven't gotten much of a response yet until today. So, thank you.

And it is true that, this morning, we sent out a letter to the president, saying we would love to work with him. It's signed by 10 Republicans. It specifies the proposal that we think is more targeted and more appropriate for the times we're in.

And my hope is, the president will meet with us, and we will be able to work out something that is bipartisan.

BASH: So...

PORTMAN: We have done it five times. We have had five COVID-19 packages that are entirely bipartisan. And let's do it again, because that's what would be best for the country.

BASH: So, Senator, I have the letter here.

It does lay out general ideas, some specifics, but not a lot. Can you give us a ballpark of how much you are willing to spend in this whole package you are proposing?

PORTMAN: Well, it will be less than 1.9, because much of what the administration has laid out has nothing to do with COVID-19. And, in fact, some of it is not even responsive to the issues that Mr. Deese raised.

As an example with regard to direct payments, we think they should be much more targeted, $50,000 cap to individuals, as an example, $100,000 for a family. And right now, if you look at the administration's plan, you could have a family with three kids making almost 300,000 bucks a year getting a check.

And many of these people have had no impact from COVID. In fact, some are doing quite well. Others are struggling. Let's focus on those who are struggling.

You made the good point a moment ago that all the economic analysis has come in, saying those who make over, let's say, 75,000 bucks a year are tending not to spend the money, but rather save it. In other words, it's not being used for the intended purpose. So, let's target it. We really want to help those who need it the most. And at a time of unprecedented deficits and debts -- and a debt, as the percentage of the economy, is as high as it's been in our nation's history since World War II -- we need to be sure this is targeted.

BASH: So...

PORTMAN: Second, with regard to unemployment insurance, they have a program that takes it until September. We don't know what the economy is going to look like between now and September. Most economists believe next year will be significant growth, over 4 percent growth.

BASH: So...

PORTMAN: So, let's target that a little bit more and make sure that it ties somewhat to the economic conditions.

BASH: OK. So, those are two examples.

You spoke to President Biden on the phone this week. Did you talk about any of this?

PORTMAN: Well, I had a very nice call from President Biden regarding my decision not to run again in two years. And I appreciated that.

I don't talk about what I talked to the president about, but I will say it was a nice conversation. I did raise the issue. But my hope is that, again, the inaugural address will not just be good rhetoric, but actually be practiced.


And I think it is really in the interest of the Biden administration not to do what the Democrats on the Hill are planning to do, which is, on Tuesday, as you know, start to go down the road of a process that will jam Republicans and really jam the country, because, with their 50-vote majority -- remember, they have -- it's a 50/50 Senate now, so it's divided right in half.

BASH: But...

PORTMAN: That they would use what is called reconciliation.

And, basically, what it says is, you ignore the interests of the minority party and just jam it through. And it is not in the interests of the party, of the Democratic Party, to do that, in my view, because it will set President Biden down a path of partisanship that I think will poison the well for other bipartisanship we will need on so many issues.

BASH: Well, you mentioned poisoning the well.

I just have to ask you, because you did support Republican efforts to use reconciliation on a few things, like trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act, passing the Trump tax cuts. So, explain why it was OK for Republicans, but not Democrats.

PORTMAN: Well, I -- reconciliation is -- is a tool that you are able to use.

It has to relate directly to the budget. And what the Democrats are talking about doing is, one, using it right off the bat, without trying to come up with a bipartisan compromise, as we have on COVID- 19. If you can't find bipartisanship on COVID-19, I don't know where you can find it.

Our proposal, as an example, is going to have all of the health care funding that President Biden has in his proposal, all of it. So, there is a lot of bipartisanship.

But, second, reconciliation is not meant for the purposes that they are trying to use it for. They would have to get rid of what is called the Byrd Rule, which keeps it to the budget. In other words, everything has to be directly related to the budget. And so that would change the rules of the Senate.

BASH: Yes.

PORTMAN: So, it wouldn't be the old reconciliation. It would be a new reconciliation.

BASH: Well...

PORTMAN: They have been very clear about that.


PORTMAN: You know how that works.

But this -- essentially, it is getting rid of the filibuster, if you get rid of the Byrd Rule, which is a huge change in our country, and will lead to less bipartisanship, not more.

BASH: I -- yes, and I want our viewers to stay awake while we talk about the inner workings of the Senate.


BASH: But I do want to move on to impeachment.

You voted this week to dismiss the trial as unconstitutional, since Donald Trump is no longer in office. I know you said you are going to keep an open mind as a juror.

But setting aside questions of timing or constitutionality, do you consider Trump's actions leading up to and on January 6 to be impeachable conduct, yes or no?

PORTMAN: Yes, first of all, Dana, that was not -- Dana, that was not the vote. I mean, the vote was to table a discussion about the constitutionality. BASH: Right, So, separate -- so, separate from that.

PORTMAN: And I said from the start, I think this is an issue that has to be discussed.

BASH: Yes. So, I just wanted to put that aside. But I want to focus...

PORTMAN: But that was -- the vote -- the vote -- the vote was not about dismissing the trial. It was about not discussing the constitutionality, which is a critical issue.


PORTMAN: I have said with regard to the president's comments that day that they were partly responsible for what happened, for the horrible violence that occurred on Capitol Hill.

I have also said that what he did was wrong and inexcusable. I have used the word inexcusable because I think that is how I feel. So, we will see. I am a juror. I'm going to keep an open mind as we go through this.

But I do think that this constitutionality issue has to be addressed. I mean, we would be convicting a private citizen, as you know, someone who's out of office. That sets up a precedent. And I think all former presidents, those alive and those not, could be affected in a negative way.


BASH: Yes, but if you don't vote yes, aren't you excusing it? You say it's inexcusable. If you don't vote yes, one could argue that you are doing just that. You are excusing the behavior.

PORTMAN: Well, it can be inexcusable, and yet not be subject to a conviction after a president has left office.

If you look at the Constitution -- and there aren't that many words about impeachment, so it is easy to do, and I encourage your viewers to do so -- it is always connected with removal from office.

And this is why the chief justice of the Supreme Court refuses to come and preside over this trial, as he did in the last one, because he says, as he looks at the Constitution, he only comes when it is about removal, which is what impeachment calls for.

So, I think it is a question we have to discuss, and we have come up with a precedent for the future.


So, I'm sure you have seen the news that CNN broke last night. All five members of former President Trump's impeachment team quit. And there is just a week until this trial begins. CNN's reporting is that they left amid a disagreement over strategy, because Trump wanted them to argue the election was stolen.

What does that say to you about the former president, that he is still trying to perpetuate the lie, the very lie that led to the insurrection in the first place?

PORTMAN: Well, let me just say clearly, and I have said this, as you know, since November, which is that there was not adequate irregularities or fraud, not widespread enough to change the results of the election, period.

That is my view. It's the view, by the way, of the Trump department -- of the Trump Justice Department. Bill Barr said that before he left office.

And so I think we need to be very clear with the American people, those who voted for Donald Trump -- and I was a Trump supporter, and I think his policies were better for the country and better for my state.


We have good acknowledge that this election was lost. And we have to move on. And Joe Biden is now the duly elected president of the United States.

So, if the argument is not going to be made on issues like constitutionality, which are real issues, and need to be addressed, I think it will not benefit the president.

BASH: Yes.

You are now the third Senate Republican planning to retire after 2022, along with Richard Burr and Pat Toomey. Your party is facing a reckoning right now.

People who are telling lies, like you were just talking about, pushing conspiracy theories, they're getting louder and louder. So, isn't your silence, or eventually your absence from the party, from someone like you, going to make the party veer even more towards people who spew conspiracies and lies?

PORTMAN: Well, I don't plan to be silent.

First of all, I have been doing this a long time, as you know. And you and I have known each other a long time, 30 years off and on. And I never intended to stay as long as I have, to be honest. I am not big on career politicians. I think it is good to go in and out of office.

So, I'm looking forward to getting back in the private sector and the nonprofit sector and helping more on the outside. But I don't plan to be silent. And I do think we have a good chance, as a Republican Party, to pull together and to do what we did in 2020.

With the exception of the presidential race, you know, Republicans did very well, gained 14, maybe 15 seats in the House of Representatives, which no one expected, did very well in the Senate seats, compared to what was expected, took over three new statehouses. And in Ohio particularly, we did very well.

So, I think the Republican Party is on sound footing if we focus on the policies...

BASH: Well...

PORTMAN: ... because people trust us there. And we have the right policies in terms of economic growth and strong military and energy independence and so on.

So, that is where the party ought to focus.


So, having said, I want to ask about Liz Cheney. You have been very close with the Cheney family for decades. Right now, Republicans are not focused entirely on the policies. People like former President Trump, some of Liz Cheney's colleagues, are trying to punish her for voting to impeach President Trump.

How do you respond to that?

PORTMAN: Well, she is a friend. I'm biased. I think she is very smart, and she plays a key role in our party, particularly on foreign affairs. So, I would hope that they would not go down that road.

I think it's -- it's important to have her voice in the process.

And my sense is that she has a lot of support in the Republican Conference. I'm in the Senate, not the House. And House members, as I used to be, hate to have the senators tell them what to do. But the truth is, I think she is very valuable for the team and a great leader.

BASH: So, I know you're in the Senate, not the House. You were in the House for a long time.

This isn't about telling them what to do. This is a question about, I think, right and wrong. And this is about Marjorie Taylor Greene, who, as you know, believes the dangerous QAnon conspiracy theories. She has spread anti-Semitic conspiracies, claimed school shootings are false flag operations and so on.

She has so far faced zero repercussions from what she has said and the ideas that she is spewing.

So, as a Republican leader who does not want to be silent, do you think that she should be punished or somehow should be shown that she is an example of how that kind of stuff is not tolerated in the GOP?

PORTMAN: Yes, I think Republican leaders ought to stand up and say it is totally unacceptable what she has said.

I saw a couple videos over the weekend. And one had to do with violence, as I see it. And there is no place for violence in our political dialogue. By the way, there is no place for violence in our country. I mean, this is something that we have got to get away from.

So, yes, I think people ought to speak out clearly.

BASH: Should she be stripped of her committee assignment?

PORTMAN: And I'm not one of the House leaders, but I -- well, I assume that is something they're looking at. And I wouldn't be surprised if that happens.

And, you know, I think that is the way to send a message. The voters who elected her in her district in Georgia ought to be respected. On the other hand, when that kind of behavior occurs, there has to be a strong response.

BASH: Senator Rob Portman, a lot to get through, which we did this morning.

Really appreciate it. And thank you so much for joining me.

PORTMAN: Thanks, Dana. Always great to be on with you. Take care.

BASH: Thank you.

And she made her name standing up to big banks. So, what does Senator Elizabeth Warren make of the GameStop fiasco on Wall Street? We are going to ask her next.

Plus, one of the few Republicans who stood up to Donald Trump is now facing backlash from his own party. Governor Doug Ducey of Arizona will be here for an exclusive, rare sit-down.



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

The billionaire bellyaching you may have heard this week as Reddit investors messed with their stock positions is perhaps music to the ears of many politicians who have warned of their greed and power for decades.

But Senator Elizabeth Warren is saying there are no winners here. She joins me now.

Senator, thank you so much for joining me this morning.

I want to get your reaction to what happened on Wall Street this week with GameStop. You have called on regulatory agencies to -- quote -- "wake up and do their jobs."

What exactly do you think they need to do?

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): Well, let's start with the fact that we actually don't know who all the players are in this, whether there is big money on both sides. And that is why it is that we need an SEC investigation.

But, understand, what's happening with GameStop is just a reminder of what's been going on, on Wall Street now for years and years and years. It's a rigged game. And it's been a set of players who come in and manipulate the market. They have turned this stock market not into a place where you get capital formation to support businesses, but more into a casino.

And they have been doing all kinds of market manipulation, pump and dump, companies that buy back shares of their own stock, so that they can inflate stock prices.


We need a market that is transparent, that's level, and that is open to individual investors. It is time for the SEC to get off their duffs and do their jobs.

BASH: And, beyond that, I know that there are new regulations that you think need to be put in place. Can you talk a little about what you are proposing?


We need more regulation about market manipulation. And, look, what has happened back and forth with GameStop, they aren't the ones who invented this kind of activity going on. Look at stock buybacks, for example.

It was the case for decades in the United States that we said, a company can't go out and buy its own stock for the purpose of inflating its price. In other words, stock prices should invest the value of the company, what investors think it is going to be able to make going forward and how well the business is run.

But starting near the end of the Reagan years, the SEC said, no, that's OK, go buy your own stock and manipulate your own stock price. That is something that we should put a stop to. The SEC has some pending rules on stock manipulation. They need a broader look at how companies, how hedge funds manipulate the market, and then they need to put rules in place to stop it and grow a backbone to enforce those rules.

BASH: Yes, I mean, as you suggested, the investors who helped create the chaos in the market didn't create the game. They just beat the hedge funds, at least this time, at their own game, right?


BASH: So, the rise of businesses like the trading app Robinhood have opened the market to millions of everyday Americans that we were just talking about.

But there's also a potential for a lot of regular investors who aren't professionals to get really hurt in volatile situations. So, how do you balance this? WARREN: Well, actually, you start in a good place with broker-

dealers, because think of it. It is a consumer contract.

And yet what these broker-dealers do is, they put arbitration clauses in. So, if you get cheated by your broker-dealer, and you have got an arbitration clause, it never becomes public, there is no class action against them. And that means they're in a position, like Robinhood was, just to suddenly flip the switch and cut people off from being able to trade.

That's not right.

In the long run, if we have a market that is transparent, that's level, that helps individual investors come into that market and, frankly, helps make that market more efficient.

You know, I'm always reminded when we do this that we talk about competitive markets, we talk about efficient markets, but the truth is, the hedge funds, many of the giant corporations, they love the fact that the markets are not efficient. They love being able to manipulate these markets, because they get better returns, and individual investors lose out.

So, I want to see the SEC come in, clean this up. GameStop is just the latest ringing of the bell that we have got a real problem on Wall Street. And it's time to fix it.

BASH: You mentioned Robinhood.

And they came under intense criticism, not just from you, but for a lot of people, for temporarily limiting users' ability to trade certain stocks, which they said they had to do in order to cover the demand by law.

So, what do you make of that decision? And just more broadly, do companies like Robinhood have a responsibility to protect amateur investors from making bad trades?

WARREN: So, it's not about protecting people from making bad trades. It's about keeping the playing field level.

Remember what happened when Robinhood suddenly flipped the switch and said, small investors are not going to get access to the market, but not to worry; the billion-dollar hedge funds will still have access to the market.

You can't do that in the middle of a trading cycle. That's why we need regulations. And that's why it is that, if a broker-dealer like Robinhood is going to be out there and invite a lot of individual investors to come in, then that broker-dealer needs to operate under some basic rules.

For example, it can't be trying to help the hedge funds at the same time it pretends that it is trying to help individual investors.

BASH: Do you think that happened? WARREN: Well, we don't know.

BASH: Yes.


WARREN: That's why we're going to have an investigation.


WARREN: That's why there's going to be a hearing in the Banking Committee. And I'm looking forward to it.

BASH: Yes, because they obviously argue that is not what they were doing.

I want to turn to what's happening on Capitol Hill, the first test of President Biden's pledge to work across the aisle. He's trying, without much progress so far, to get Republicans on board with his COVID relief bill.


When you ran against him for president, you accused him of being naive about hoping to work with Republicans. From what you have seen so far, were you right?

WARREN: Look, I think that President Biden is doing exactly the right thing.

He has put forward an economic plan that is built from the ground up to try to say, this is what we need in the economy. He said: I want that plan to pass.

And I invite Republicans to join us. And if they do, great. And if they don't, we're still going to pass the plan, because his first responsibility as president is to help take care of the families who need it, to get his arms wrapped around this COVID crisis and end it, and to get our schools open.

And that is what the plan is all about. Go get 'em.

BASH: Elizabeth Warren, thank you so much for joining me this morning. I appreciate it, Senator.

WARREN: You bet. Good to see you.

BASH: You, too.

And the big lie perpetuated by Donald Trump is eating away at the party he left behind.

Governor Doug Ducey of Arizona, who has been the target of the MAGA crowd, joins me exclusively next.


The GOP has been eating its own since Donald Trump left the White House.

Saturday, South Carolina Republicans issued a formal censure to Congressman Tim -- Tom Rice, rather, because he voted to impeach President Trump.

Governor Doug Ducey of Arizona was censured by his state's GOP, along with Cindy McCain and former Senator Jeff Flake, who were censured for endorsing Joe Biden. They are all pictured here at Joe Biden's inauguration.

Ducey, of course, upheld the votes of his constituents and certified President Biden's win in Arizona, despite harsh public criticism from President Trump.


BASH: And joining me now is the Republican governor of Arizona, Doug Ducey.

Governor, thank you so much for joining me.

I want to show our viewers a cartoon that Cindy McCain posted online showing the Republican Party there punishing the three of you for -- quote -- "a grotesque display of basic integrity."

Is that what you're guilty of here, integrity?

GOV. DOUG DUCEY (R-AZ): Well, thanks for having me, Dana.


And I want to say, this is an action of very little consequence. The party in Arizona has had a long history of discontent. This is just the latest example. I think that the state party chairman should focus on winning races. That should be a top priority.

I believe I was in good company in that cartoon.

And I also want to say, I worked incredibly hard to deliver the state for Donald Trump and red up through Election Day. And then after Election Day, of course, once all the ballots were certified in all 15 counties, the vote had been audited and determined accurate, I had very little choice but to do the right thing, follow the law and the Constitution.

BASH: And when you did that, when you certified Arizona's election results in November, this happened:




BASH: Your phone ringing, with the ring tone "Hail to the Chief." You later said that was then President Trump calling.

And we heard audio of President Trump asking Georgia officials to find votes in order to overturn election results there.

How far did Trump go with you in pushing you to overturn Joe Biden's win there?

DUCEY: Well, first, I want to say that's not what happened in Arizona.

And the event -- I couldn't see the video, but I know what you're referring to.

BASH: Yes.

DUCEY: That was an official event in a public setting.

BASH: Mm-hmm.

DUCEY: So, regardless of who was calling, I was going to call them back. And that's what I did, is, I called later that day.

And the ironic thing was, there could be no legal challenges. And there were rulers of irregularity and there were accusations of lawsuits and claims. None of those could be brought forward until the vote was certified, so it could begin after that.

And, of course, I talked with the president. I talked with the vice president. And whatever claims that they had could be brought forward at that time. And that was up to then the judiciary here in Arizona.

BASH: Yes.

But, as you know, I mean we saw it in public, President Trump tweeting about you, calling you a RINO, saying the Democrats treated him better than you did. So, I can't imagine what you heard in private.

Is there something you can share with us, separate and apart from the fact that you had a law that you had to follow, and you did so?

DUCEY: Well, I'm going to keep my conversations with the president in confidence.

I will say, those conversations were cordial. I believe there were people in Arizona and people on the president's legal team that were getting misinformation back to him. Of course, he's going to respond however he chooses to respond.

But, Dana, I report to the people of Arizona. They are my boss. And I upheld my obligations under the law.

BASH: And you mentioned misinformation. The insurrection that happened here in Washington at the Capitol came

after President Trump and his allies spread lies about election fraud in a number of states, including your own in Arizona.

So, what responsibility does Trump bear for what happened on January 6?

DUCEY: Well, I've said he does bear some responsibility. So do those that organized the rally, the Stop the Steal rally. So do those that financed the rally. So do those that were giving him misinformation. Ultimately, I think his legal team really failed on this front.

But, ultimately, the people that bear the responsibility are those that committed the violence and vandalism at the people's house. So, we have denounced that in all possible terms. They should be held accountable to and prosecuted to the highest extent of the law, those that broke into the Capitol.

It should never, ever happen again. I think that's something we can all agree on.

BASH: Governor, I want to ask you more broadly about the state of the GOP.

The South Carolina Republican Party censured Congressman Tom Rice for voting to impeach former President Trump. The Hawaii GOP recently posted a tweet defending the QAnon conspiracy theories. The Oregon GOP called the Capitol attack a false flag.

Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene has faced no consequences for supporting calls to execute Democratic politicians. She's said that in the past.

This is a cancer growing rapidly on your party. What happened to the GOP?

DUCEY: Well, first, I want to say I reject those calls to violence or conspiracy. And these will be things for House Leader McCarthy to deal with and, ultimately, the people to deal with.


But our party, the GOP, has a lot of indications of optimism. In our governors conference, the Republicans Governors Association, we have 27 states with Republican governors.

We were able to gain 14 seats in the House of Representatives. We have a 50/50 Senate, with real pickup opportunities in places like Georgia and New Hampshire. And the president earned 74-plus-million votes in this last election cycle.

So, we have work to do. The issues that you talked about are real issues, but there's always a discussion on, when a party doesn't win the races that it wanted to win, there's an after-action report.

And in my role as leading the RGA, I look forward to engaging in them. BASH: But you know that this isn't just a typical year, where one

side's ideas beat another side's ideas.

This is some serious stuff going on inside your party, with conspiracy theorists winning elections and getting roles on committees that -- for example, Marjorie Taylor Greene on the Education Committee, after she went after a high school student who was there in Washington to protest after he survived Parkland.

I mean, is this something that you, as a leader in the Republican Party, want to condemn? And if so, what's the next step? How do you rid your party of this kind of thing?

DUCEY: Dana, I have condemned what happened at the Capitol. And I've seen the reporting that you're referring to.

BASH: Mm-hmm.

DUCEY: And if it's accurate, what's happening is absolutely unacceptable, and Leader McCarthy will deal with it.

BASH: Mm-hmm.

DUCEY: But I don't think it's just on our side.

There have been extremes on both sides that have muddied the waters as to what's happening now. Now, everything that happened at the Capitol in terms of the break-in, the violence and vandalism, has been denounced and condemned by me and my side.

And I think that we need to focus again on where we take the party going forward. But I'm not for this cancel culture. And I'm somebody who embraces both our First and Second Amendment. And I don't think we should limit speech. I think we should have more speech around this.

And we have to persuade with better ideas and better policy and gratitude for what we've inherited in terms of the great nation and how do we make it better. The election is now behind us. So, it is time to focus on leading and governing.

I've tried in the state of Arizona to let politics stand down for a little bit and move our action-oriented agenda here at the state level. And that's what I can do in terms of leadership, tone and the mode that I'm in, as the governor of the state of Arizona.

BASH: Want to turn to COVID and the fact that you have administered nearly 500,000 vaccine doses in Arizona so far.

You set up a 24/7 vaccination center at the State Farm Stadium, which is home of the Cardinals.

But the CDC ranks your state, Arizona, 41st among all of the states in terms of vaccines administered per capita. Why do you think that is?

DUCEY: I -- well, I think you should check the most current numbers. And, Dana, we're at 629,000 vaccines distributed as I talk to you right now. The latest rankings have us 13th by one measurement, 15th by the other.

We do have a 24/7 site that we opened up, thankfully to the Arizona Cardinals and Michael Bidwill in helping us. We're also opening up another 24/7 site at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.

What we need right now, Dana, are more vaccines. We're in danger of running out of the vaccines we have. All we can do is distribute what we receive from the federal government and from the private sector.

So, we're working with the Biden administration to get more vaccines.

We've got a lot of people that come to Arizona. It's a beautiful day here. Today, it's 68 degrees. And people migrate here from other cold weather states. They need vaccinations as well.

We've asked for 300,000 additional vaccines from the Biden administration. And we want to work with them to do everything we can to get those in people's arms.

But just so you know, we have the capability to do 12,000 vaccines a day at the Phoenix Municipal site. We can only schedule 500 because of the lack of inventory that we have.

So, we need more. And we're asking everyone to hustle it up...

BASH: Yes.

DUCEY: ... because we want to get that vaccine in people's arms.

That's the solution that presents itself. And Arizona wants to do the best job possible in getting it done.

BASH: Governor, before I let you go, your term is up in 2022.

You told "The New York Times" you're not going to run for the Senate.


Are you definitely, definitively ruling it out?

DUCEY: I'm not running for the United States Senate, no.

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

DUCEY: Thank you, Dana.




DANA BASH, CNN HOST: Welcome back. Before we go, I want to say thank you to a CNN original. Rick Davis, who started at the network when it launched more than 40 years ago is retiring.

He started out producing sports before moving here to Washington where he helped create and produce a dozen public affair shows including precursors to this one. For the past two decades, he has been in charge of CNN standards, making him not just the soul of CNN but it's compass.

On a personal note, thanks, Rick, for being a mentor and a friend since you first hired me 26 years ago. I'm going to call you on the golf course now for advice.

I also want to say thanks to the State of the Union team for a great first two weeks and to Jake Tapper for building the team and the State of the Union brand over the last five-and-a-half years and welcoming me so graciously as co-anchor.

Jake is going to be back in this chair next Sunday, so please tune in.

Thank you so much for spending your Sunday morning with us. The news continues right now.