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State of the Union

Interview With U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken; Interview With Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA); Interview With Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). Aired 9-10a ET

Aired June 13, 2021 - 09:00   ET




DANA BASH, CNN HOST (voice-over): A new page? On his first trip overseas, President Biden tries to turn the page with America's allies.


BASH: But the biggest challenge lies ahead, a summit with Vladimir Putin.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken will join me.

And stuck in neutral? While the president is out of town, his priorities at home run into roadblocks, as some Democrats grow tired of waiting. Can they deliver on their promises? House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez join me exclusively.

Plus: the rule of law. Former President Trump's Justice Department secretly seized data from House Democrats.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): It's such a body blow to our democracy.

BASH: Just how far reaching was this effort by the Justice Department?


BASH: Hello. I'm Dana Bash in Washington, where the state of our union is trying to mend fences and build bridges.

As President Biden is welcomed back to the club at the G7 summit in Europe, he is also preparing for a closely watched summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, as tensions between the two countries continue to rise.

The president will take questions from reporters this hour. We will bring that press conference to you live when it happens.

In the meantime, the president's priorities here at home, from infrastructure to voting rights, have run smack into the reality of a 50/50 Senate. And late this week, a stunning new revelation prompted an uproar on

Capitol Hill and beyond. We learned that the Trump Justice Department seized cell phone data from the now former president's political enemies, their families, including members of Congress.

And joining me now exclusively is the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi.

Thank you so much. It's nice to see you in person...

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): Good morning. Good to see you.

BASH: ... as we come out of the pandemic.

I want to start where I just left off, and the news about the Justice Department during the Trump administration, subpoenaed Apple for data from Democratic members of the House Intelligence Committee, their staff, some of their families.

So, do you know how many members had their data subpoenaed? Any subpoenaed for you or from you or your staff?

PELOSI: Well, good morning.

BASH: Good morning.

PELOSI: Congratulations to you on the show.

BASH: Thank you.

PELOSI: And before I answer that, I just want to say I'm wearing orange because this is the color of gun violence prevention.

Last night, while we were having a moment much silence for those, 49 people who were victims of the Pulse assault, other mass shootings were happening across the country.

So, as we talk about all these issues about infrastructure and about commission and about data mining and the rest, every day, every morning, every night, we are not forgetting these victims.

When I visit the Pulse at the time of the shooting, the families came together and said, stop this from happening. When they visited Washington following that horrible thing, they said, stop this from happening for other people's families to go through what we're going.

That was from the families and then some of the victims who survived that.

So, again, for us, we are not going away until we can get legislation passed. We have in the House, hopefully in the Senate. It's bipartisan in the nation that we would have background checks to prevent guns from getting in the hands of those who should not have them.

Now, will that cover everything? No, but it goes a very long way. And it prevented millions of gun purchases not to happen up until now. Now we have to expand it to include Internet sales and gun shows and the rest.

BASH: And you have done your job on that in the House.

PELOSI: Yes. But...


BASH: The question is the 50/50 Senate...


PELOSI: ... would tell you, this is, like, our prayer morning and night and our actions all day.

So, I can't go even to talk about anything else...

BASH: Understandable.

PELOSI: ... without saying the death in these families, it just has -- deaths in these families must stop.

So, in terms of the data mining, what the Republicans -- what the administration did, the Justice Department, the leadership of the former president goes even beyond Richard Nixon. Richard Nixon had an enemies list. This is about undermining the rule of law.

And for the attorneys general, Barr and Sessions, at least two, to say that they didn't know anything about it is beyond belief. So, we will have to have them come under oath to testify about that.

Now, how could it be that undermining the rule of law, undermining the separation of power of the executive branch and the legislative branch, and having these -- just data mining is something new, in terms of where technology has taken us, but not new in terms of something that should never have happened.


BASH: Do you think it's limited just to the members we know?

PELOSI: We don't know.

We -- that's why we will have to -- well, of course, the inspector general's report is very important, but it is not a substitute for what we must do in the Congress. And I know that the Senate has called for some review. We will certainly have that in the House of Representatives.

BASH: So, you said that both the former Attorney General Barr and Sessions, they have said they didn't know anything about this. So has Rod Rosenstein...


PELOSI: And Rosenstein as well.

BASH: ... who was the deputy attorney general.

If you don't see them voluntarily on Capitol Hill, will you subpoena them?

PELOSI: Well, let's hope they will want to honor the rule of law.

This is -- the Justice Department has been rogue under President Trump, understand that, in so many respects. This is just another manifestation of their rogue activity. The others were perpetrated by the attorneys general, but this is one that they claim no knowledge of.

How could it be that there could be an investigation of other -- members in the other branch of government, and the press and the rest, too, and the attorneys general did not know? So, who are these people? And are they still in the Justice Department?

And, again, this is just out of the question. No matter who is president, whatever party, this cannot be the way it goes.

BASH: Let's turn to infrastructure.


BASH: A group of five Democrats, five Republican senators, they have a deal that they say is $1.2 trillion, about $600 billion in new spending. That's more than Republicans were offering, but that's...


BASH: ... of course, less than President Biden wanted.

I know a lot of the details are still being worked out, but they're also saying no new taxes. So, the combination of no new taxes to pay for it and about $1.2 trillion, is that something in the ballpark that you would agree with?

PELOSI: Well, I'm very pleased they came to their agreement.

Of course, the president of the United States is a major factor in this, and he has said he would not support any taxes on people making under $400,000 a year, and that includes increasing the gas tax, which I think may be part of their arrangement.

Well, we haven't seen it, but that was what was thought to be in the plan for a source of funds. We certainly know that there's money to be had by at least making people pay their taxes. I'm not even talking about those who abuse the system. I'm just talking about those who illegally do not pay their taxes specifically.

And so let's see. I haven't seen it. You're announcing this. I do think that it is predicated on an infrastructure that is of the last century. We have to be thinking in a more forward way. We must build back better.

So, if this is something that can be agreed upon, I don't know how we can possibly sell it -- excuse me...


PELOSI: ... to our caucus, unless we know there is more to come.

BASH: Yes.

PELOSI: And the more to come in building back better means having more people participate in the prosperity of our country.

Excuse me.

BASH: So, while you take a drink, I will ask you this question.

What I hear you saying is that this would be something you could agree to, as long as you get some kind of promise for a second bite at the apple.

PELOSI: Well, as Congress works its will, we will just see what the possibilities are.

This is one step. I have heard the president say -- and aren't we proud of him? What a unifier, and so proud of him overseas now saying, we're back. But I have heard him say with Republicans in the room, let's figure out what we can agree on, on infrastructure. Let's see if we can come to a reasonable amount of money to get that work done, but I have no intention of abandoning the rest of my vision about the better -- building back better.

What is being talked about in this is, by and large, something that could have been talked about 50 years ago. We're talking about the future.

BASH: So, do you have faith in Republicans?

PELOSI: Oh, I have...


BASH: That they are negotiating in good faith?

PELOSI: I assume that the Republicans -- the Democrats who are negotiating with them have faith in them.

I think we always have to believe -- I think we have a responsibility -- let me say it a different way -- to find common ground, if we can. But if we can't, we have to stand our ground, but we have to understand that, if we can come to terms in a bipartisan way, that would be -- I think the public wants to see that.


Now, in some areas, the Republicans not only do not want to come together; they want to push back further. Witness H.R.1 and other issues we may talk about now. But infrastructure has always been bipartisan. It's never -- I mean,

it's always been, let's see how we can work together for our communities. Let's find agreement in the communities as to what is important.

BASH: Right, but some Republicans, a lot of Republicans say that, when it comes to bricks and mortar, roads and bridges, traditional infrastructure, that's fine, but when you talk about new government programs for childcare, for elderly care, that's where they say no.

PELOSI: Well, I don't know -- I think, on the other hand, in different settings, they talk about childcare being important. And it is. And it is.

And we have a very strong commitment. And our Women's Caucus especially wants us to go as big as we can on childcare and home health care and family and medical leave, all of these things that enable, not just women, but people responsible -- dads and moms and caregivers, to be able to participate in the work force and to honor the work that is done by caregivers to respect what they do, to adequately train for it, and to pay for it.

BASH: So, let's talk about -- you mentioned H.R.1.


BASH: That is what we call H.R.1, what people should know, it is...


PELOSI: ... one.

BASH: It is rewriting, a major rewrite of the election law.

It's now in the Senate. West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin says, point blank, he doesn't support it. I want to read part of an op-ed he wrote last week.

He wrote: "I believe that partisan voting legislation will destroy the already weakening binds of our democracy. And for that reason, I will vote against the For the People Act," which is H.R.1.

So, when Democrats literally don't have one vote to spare and you read that from Joe Manchin, how are you going to get it passed?

PELOSI: I don't give up on Joe Manchin.

When he was governor and secretary of state in West Virginia, he initiated many of the ideas that are in the H.R.1, S.1, the For the People Act, the For the People. And it's not necessarily a rewriting. It's stopping. The first 300 pages of S.1, the For the People Act, H.R.1, were written by John Lewis to stop the voter suppression.

The -- the initiative that is there to stop partisan gerrymandering and redistricting is really essential for the health of our country. Democrats shouldn't be gerrymandering and Republicans shouldn't. The commission piece in there is very important. And that would be new.

The -- stopping the big, dark, special interest money from suffocating the airwaves, why do you think we cannot have climate language that is easy to come to agreement? Why do you think we do not have gun violence protection? It's because of that big, dark money.

And the public knows, it knows that that money is -- has -- stands in the way of good policy, and, again, to give voice to small donors and the grassroots.

BASH: So, a lot of that is the part that Senator Manchin says that he doesn't support doing right now. You said that you don't...

PELOSI: I read the article -- the op-ed.

BASH: Yes.

PELOSI: And you read a part of it.

BASH: Yes.

PELOSI: I think he left the door open. I think it's ajar.

I'm not giving up.

BASH: Well, and I wanted to ask you about that, because you're not just reading an op-ed. You have a relationship with him.

PELOSI: Mm-hmm.

BASH: Is there something you know that we don't know...


BASH: ... or a lot of people in your caucus who are really upset don't know about Joe Manchin and the possibility of getting this election reform through the Senate?

PELOSI: Well, I don't know anything specific about this, but I do know that he has certain concerns about the legislation that we may be able to come to terms on.

BASH: So, it's bridgeable?

PELOSI: I think so. Well, as I said to him, I read the op-ed. You left the door open, and we're going to go right in.

BASH: Oh, you talked to him about it?

PELOSI: Of course, yes.

And -- but we were -- actually, our conversations were more about the commission, and in the course of that conversation.

But, in any case, let's just put this in its proper place. Our democracy is at stake. What the Republicans are doing across the country, even since we wrote -- this is -- we have had this in the election of 2018. A hundred candidates wrote and said, make For the People, H.R.1, the first order of business.

That -- and now we see, under the administration, further work...

BASH: Yes.

PELOSI: ... in the former administration. And the Republicans across the country are undermining our democracy, suppressing the vote, ignoring the sanctity of the vote, which is the basis for our democracy.


And so we cannot let that stand. We have to make this fight for our democracy. It isn't about Democrats or Republicans. It's not about partisanship. Forget that. It's about patriotism. So, we must pass this.

BASH: Speaking of democracy, I always wanted to ask you this question.

You're the speaker of the House. I know you like to stay in your lane and not cross over to the Senate, but a lot of people in your caucus say the entire Democratic agenda is being held up because of the filibuster. Do you think the filibuster should go away?

PELOSI: Well, you know what? As you know, I don't talk about Senate rules, and I don't want them messing with our rules.

BASH: OK. Just wanted to give it a try. All right, let...


PELOSI: But I do think that, instead of talking about the filibuster, as I say to my members, let's talk about the issues, gun violence prevention, climate initiatives, issues that relate to the Equality Act, in this month of pride, ending discrimination against the LGBTQ community, women's -- the Violence Against Women Act.

Name what are the issues that we care about. That's really the discussion. And what -- why do we not have them? Well, that's more of interest to people, their kitchen table issues about the cost of prescription drugs. We want to give the secretary the power to negotiate for lower prices. If that needs 60 votes, it might not happen.

BASH: So let's talk about January 6 and getting to the bottom of what happened there.


BASH: As you well know, Senate Republicans blocked your proposal for a commission, bipartisan commission, to investigate.

You have vowed to get answers no matter what. PELOSI: That's right.

BASH: Are you at the point where you are going to appoint a select committee to do so?

PELOSI: A week ago, I was asked to give it another week. So I will see by Monday if the Senate believes that they could -- those who are working the bipartisan way can get three more votes.

We have -- it would have been 57 if everyone were present voting. Three more. I have yielded on every point, except scope, except scope. Number of people on the committee, subpoena power, timetable, you name it, we have yielded because of the value of the bipartisanship that would spring from that.

But I would not -- they want to say, well, if we're going to investigate that, we should investigate Black Lives Matter and people who turned out after George Floyd was shot. No, that's not what this -- this is about an assault on our democracy, on our Capitol of the United States. The American people deserve and must have answers.

We will seek the truth. We will find the truth. But we hope that we can do it with passing the commission.

BASH: OK. So, assuming the commission doesn't pass, are you saying, by Monday, which is tomorrow, you will announce a select committee?

PELOSI: No, I'm not going to announce anything tomorrow. I want to see what their response is, and then review it with my colleagues.

BASH: But it sounds like you're getting closer to it.

PELOSI: Well, it's an option. And everybody knows the power of the speaker to do that. So I would hope that that would motivate them to say, let's go a different place.

But the question arises what -- the Republicans in the Senate are so afraid of the truth. Why are they so afraid of the truth? They themselves were under assault. This Capitol, our democracy, was under assault. The secretary -- the director of the FBI, even before, in September, testified that white supremacy and anti-Semitism, et cetera...

BASH: Why do you think they're afraid of the truth?

PELOSI: You would have to ask them, but they know where the roads might lead in terms of their -- some of them individually, and, of course, the former president of the United States, who incited an insurrection, who incited an insurrection.

Now, we had an impeachment ceremony. They -- process -- which I thought made the case. A number of Republicans agreed. But, still, I think it's cowardice. And I think it's cowardice just to oppose a former president. But it's also concern about what it says about them.

BASH: I want to ask you about Congresswoman Ilhan Omar. PELOSI: Yes.

BASH: You and other top House Democrats released a pretty rare statement rebuking her for appearing to -- quote -- "draw false equivalencies" between the United States and Israel and terrorist organizations Hamas and Taliban.

She clarified. She said that she was in no way equating them. But since all of that happened, she and others don't seem to be letting this go. Rashida Tlaib, one of her close friends, member of your caucus, tweeted the following: "Freedom of speech don't exist for Muslim women in Congress. The benefit of the doubt doesn't exist for Muslim women in Congress."

PELOSI: OK. You know what?


BASH: "House Democratic leadership should be ashamed."

PELOSI: Let me just say this.

BASH: Yes.

PELOSI: We did not rebuke her. We thanked -- acknowledged that she made a clarification. So, before we go too far down the path, credit...



BASH: Yes, I'm -- these aren't my words. These are your caucus members' words.

PELOSI: No, I understand that. I understand that.

No, that is a member.

BASH: Yes.

PELOSI: That's a caucus member.

BASH: A caucus member.

PELOSI: A caucus member.

BASH: Yes. So, I just wanted to get your response to that.

PELOSI: Yes, and I will tell you -- no, I'm not -- I'm responding to that.

We -- the -- Congresswoman Omar is a valued member of our caucus. She asked her questions of the secretary of state. Nobody criticized those, about how people will be held accountable if we're not going to the International Court of Justice. That was a very legitimate question. That was not of concern.

Members did become concerned when the tweet that was put out equated the United States with the Taliban and Hamas.

BASH: Rashida Tlaib is accusing you of policing women of color.

PELOSI: And -- and -- and then she clarified it. And we thanked her for clarification.

BASH: So, do you want people to just let it go and move on?

PELOSI: They can say whatever they want.

But what I'm saying is end of subject. She clarified. We thanked her. End of subject. Whatever people go out and say is up to them. But what we -- what happened is a reflection of the respect we have for our member when she made her questions at the hearing, but the disagreement that we have to equate the United States of America with Hamas and the Taliban.

BASH: Before I let you go, I want to look overseas, look ahead to this week.


BASH: President Biden has a big meeting with Vladimir Putin.

What do you want to see out of that meeting? And, specifically, I want to go back to something that happened on this show last week. The energy secretary, Jennifer Granholm, said that U.S. adversaries have the capabilities to shut down the power grid.

You have tremendous expertise in intelligence. How worried are you about this? And should President Biden bring it up?

PELOSI: Well, the -- I'm very proud of the fact that the president is in Europe saying, we're back. We're back for climate. We're back for open society. We're open for the relationship that we have had in NATO in terms of security, security, security, which is so important.

And I can tell you, in my meetings with all these people, most of it pre-COVID, but much of it by Zoom since then, that they are so happy that America is back, and they look forward to this visit by the president.

In terms of his meeting with Putin, I think that he should meet with him. They should have a line of communication. And issues like cyber security and energy, of course, are not necessarily on the table in that meeting, but are the reality that we have to deal with.

And energy and cybersecurity are probably two items that may come up at that meeting, but that we have to be prepared for whether they do or not.

Now, let's just make a contrast. The president -- former president of the United States, for whatever reason, whether the Russians had personal, political or financial leverage over him, just kowtowed, catered to Putin in a way that was humiliating to the United States of America.

And when -- when Putin hears about some of the violations of the rights of his own people, he laughs. This is a thug. This is a thug. But he is the head of an important state. In terms of the issues you raise, the president should meet with him. And I think he's going to meet a very different president than one who was at the mercy of Putin.

BASH: Madam Speaker, I so appreciate you coming in.

Again, nice to see you in person as we come out of the pandemic.


PELOSI: Thank you.

BASH: I appreciate it.

PELOSI: A pleasure.

Stay safe to everyone.

BASH: Thank you.

PELOSI: A pleasure.

BASH: And we are awaiting a press conference by President Biden as he wraps up the G7 summit. We're going to bring you that live when it happens.

And the president's busy week continues. Later, he will meet with Queen Elizabeth, before flying to Brussels for a NATO summit. And his foreign trip will be capped off, as we were just talking about Wednesday, with a meeting with Vladimir Putin.

Joining me now is the U.S. secretary of state, Tony Blinken.

Thank you for joining me.

Let me ask about one of President Biden's key goals in this summit, uniting the Western democracies around countering China's influence, especially around the goal of building infrastructure around the world.

So, the White House has not said yet that the U.S. allies are on board for financial support. So, do you have a deal on that? Is there money behind it, and, if so, how much?

ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, first, Dana, just to take a step back, the president came into this meeting of the G7 determined to show that democracies can deliver, deliver for their people, deliver for people around the world.

And that's exactly what we have done over the last couple days. And I will come to the specific point in a second. But a commitment to a billion vaccines, to put shots in arms around the world, that's a powerful demonstration of democracies delivering.


A commitment to deal with and to stop financing coal-fired plants and projects around the world, the single largest contributor to emissions and to global warming. A 15 percent minimum global corporate tax, making sure that countries around the world have a strong tax base to provide for their citizens, provide better -- new markets for us as well, and avoid a race to the bottom.

And, yes, this project to pool our resources, to invest in lower- and middle-income countries, to get the private sector to do the same, so that we can help them build up their infrastructure, their health care systems, education, and do it in a more positive way than China is doing it with its Belt and Road Initiative.

So, they have launched this project. Our experts are going to come together over the coming months. And we will look at the resources necessary to do that.

But, individually, our countries can only do so much. When we put all of these resources together, and when we leverage the private sector, it's a very powerful force. And we have got an agreement to move forward on that.

BASH: Let's look ahead to President Biden's meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. That's going to be on Wednesday in Geneva.

I know the president plans to confront him on human rights, on Ukraine, on recent cyberattacks. How do you define success out of this meeting?

BLINKEN: Dana, this is not going to be a flip the light switch moment.

What the president is going to make clear to Vladimir Putin is that we seek a more stable, predictable relationship with Russia. And, if so, there are areas where our interests overlap, and we may find ways to work together.

But if Russia continues reckless and aggressive actions, we will respond forcefully, as the president has already demonstrated that he would when it comes to election interference, or the SolarWinds cyberattack, or the attempt to murder Mr. Navalny with a chemical weapon.

So, this is a beginning of testing the proposition, the question of whether Russia's interested in a more stable and predictable relationship and finding areas to work together.

We're not going to get the answer out of one meeting. We will have to see what comes from that meeting.

But let me say one other thing that I think is really important. This meeting is not happening in a vacuum. We're coming off the G7. We're coming off a NATO summit. We will be coming off an E.U. summit as well.

And our leadership and our engagement is a very powerful force. There was a major poll that was just done that found, across these countries, across these democracies, 75 percent of the people, on average, have confidence in American leadership. That's up from 17 percent a year ago.

That means we're in a much stronger position to work together with these countries militarily, diplomatically, politically, economically, including when it comes to dealing with challenges posed by Russia or China.

BASH: So, the White House says that President Biden is not going to have a joint press conference with Vladimir Putin after the summit.

Is that because President Biden and Vladimir Putin are -- or at least President Biden is worried that there is concern that this meeting simply will not go well?

BLINKEN: No, I think, the -- Dana, for the president, the most effective way to be able to share with the free press what he and President Putin talked about is to do it in this way.

It is also an opportunity, by the way, to sum up the entire week, the entire trip, the G7, the NATO summit, the E.U. summit. But this is the best opportunity I have to make sure that the free press of the world gets in their questions, and the president can share what was discussed.

BASH: I'm sorry. So, are you saying that you're not having a joint press conference because you're worried about the Russian press being there?

BLINKEN: We're -- we think that having the press conference -- by the way, the president, maybe even as we speak, is doing a solo press conference after the G7. This is not exactly a rare occurrence.

But we think it's the most effective way to be able to share with the free press what they talked about and what we're focused on, and to make sure that you all get a chance to ask as many questions as possible.

BASH: Before I let you go, the U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan is proceeding rapidly. There are growing calls from Congress and other forces to evacuate Afghans who helped the U.S. during this very long war.

So, yes or no, is the administration planning an evacuation of these people?

BLINKEN: Evacuation is the wrong word.

We're determined to make good on our obligation to those who helped us, who put their lives on the line, put their families' lives on the line working with our military, working with our diplomats.


And there's a special program for so-called special immigrant visas that give them a dedicated channel to apply to the come to the United States. We have put in significant resources into making sure that that program can work fast and work effectively, so that we can process any requests that we get for these so-called special immigrant visas.

We have added about 50 people here in Washington in the State Department to help do that. We want to make sure that anyone who has helped us, we are making good on our obligation to help them.

BASH: U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken, thank you so much for joining me. Appreciate it.

BLINKEN: Thanks very much. Good to be with you.

BASH: And President Biden will take questions from reporters live this hour. We will bring that to you when it happens.

One topic he could be asked about is his priorities here at home, which collectively face an uphill path in a 50/50 Senate, as progressives say the party is losing patience.

Well, joining me now to discuss that is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat from New York.

Thank you so Much, Congresswoman, from joining -- for joining me.

So, a group of five Republican, five Democratic senators is proposing $1.2 trillion in an infrastructure compromise deal; $600 billion of that is new spending, they say, no tax hikes to pay for it.

Would you vote yes or no on that package if it comes before you in the House?

REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): You know, I think from what we have seen so far, and particularly the lack of climate action, as well, I think adding to the severe lowering of our scope and scale in what we're seeking to do on ambition, I doubt it, frankly, in the current state of that proposal.

And I think one of the things that's really important to communicate is this isn't just $1.7 trillion. This is about an overall investment spread out anywhere between eight and 10 years, which is a very, very low amount of money. It's not going to create the millions of union jobs that we need in this country, particularly to recover from the pandemic.

And it's not going to get us closer to meeting our climate goals, which are crucially important at this point in time.

BASH: As you well know, Democrats have three votes to spare in the House. So, if the White House comes to you, if Democratic leaders come to you

and say, this is the best you're going to get right now, would you and fellow progressives still say no to this?

OCASIO-CORTEZ: Well, I think the thing is, is that this isn't the best that we can get.

And I do think that we need to talk about the elephant in the room, which is Senate Democrats which are blocking crucial items in a Democratic agenda for very -- I think, for reasons that I don't think hold a lot of water.

And for folks saying, OK, we -- where are you going to get these 50 votes, I think we really need to start asking some of these Democratic senators where they plan on getting 60 votes. These 10 Republican senators that there is a theory that we're going to get support for that out there, I think, is a claim that doesn't really hold water, particularly when we can't even get 10 senators to support a January 6 commission.

BASH: Yes. No, I hear you generally speaking.

OCASIO-CORTEZ: And so I think that the argument that we...

BASH: But on this particular bill, they have five. And my understanding is that it is possible, if everything comes together, they could get 10, so just on infrastructure.


Yes. kill I think then the question we have to make is that there is a fork in the road, which is, do we settle for much less and an infrastructure package that has been largely designed by Republicans in order to get 60 votes, or can we really transform this country, create millions of union jobs, revamp our power grid, get people's bridges fixed and schools rebuilt with 51 or 50 Democratic votes?

And I think the argument that we need to make here is it's worth going it alone if we can do more for working people in this country. You know, with 50 votes, we have the potential to lower the age of Medicare eligibility, so that more people can be covered and guaranteed to their right to health care, as opposed to 60 votes, where we do very, very little, and the scope of that is defined by a Republican minority that has not been elected to lead.

BASH: So, let's talk about one of the specific issues that is blocked in the Senate right now, and that is voting rights.

The House, including you, passed expansive voting rights legislation. That was back in March. Senate Democrats can't force a vote on it because Virginia Senator -- West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin doesn't support that particular bill. He also doesn't support what you're suggesting, which is gutting the filibuster.


I want our viewers to listen to something that you said about all that this past week.


OCASIO-CORTEZ: H.R.1 stands up against lobbyists and dark money.

And I would reckon to think that this is probably just as much a part of Joe Manchin's calculus as anything else, because, when it comes to this bipartisan argument, I got to tell you, I don't buy it.


BASH: What exactly did you mean by that? Are you saying Joe Manchin's opposition is because he wants to keep political donations flowing?

OCASIO-CORTEZ: Well, I think that -- I think that, when we talk about opposition to H.R.1 being just about voting rights, we aren't telling the entire story.

H.R.1 has sweeping lobbying reforms. And I believe that we have the influence of big money that impacts not just one party, but both parties in the United States Congress. And I do believe that that old way of politics has absolutely an influence in Joe Manchin's thinking and the way he navigates the body.

I mean, the way -- the things that he cites, like this, I think, romanticism of bipartisanship is about an era of Republicans that simply do not exist anymore. And I also believe that the opposition to big money and dark money -- you have the Koch brothers and associated organizations from the Koch brothers really doing victory laps about Joe Manchin's opposition to the filibuster.

I think that it's pretty open that these groups exert a lot of influence, as much as -- and as much influence as they can on members of Congress. And I think that -- that the older-school way of accepting the role of lobbyists in Washington absolutely has a role in Joe Manchin's thinking.

BASH: I want to ask about what's going on at the Justice Department.

The attorney general, Merrick Garland, gave a speech on Friday talking about protecting voting rights. But the Justice Department, again, the Biden Justice Department, is under fire on a number of fronts, gag orders against companies and journalists that are continuing, defending anti-LGBTQ laws, trying to step in on a lawsuit against President Trump and shielding some Russia investigation information from public.

What do you make of all that?


And in addition to all of the suits that you had just mentioned, the Biden DOJ also decided that they were going to pursue action on arguing in court for U.S. citizens in -- who reside in Puerto Rico to have lower eligibility for Social Security than their counterparts, U.S. citizens in the continental United States, essentially advancing second-class citizenship and continuing second-class citizen citizenship for Puerto Ricans on the island.

And so I think the actions of Biden's DOJ has been extremely concerning. And it's not just on the actions on gag orders, which is also extremely concerning, but, across the board, I don't believe that -- while I believe that the emphasis on voting rights is appreciated, we aren't seeing a transformational DOJ that I think people have been looking forward to.

And that is something that I -- that deserves a lot more questions.

BASH: I want to ask about top Democratic House leaders, and a dozen of your Jewish Democratic colleagues issued a statement criticizing your friend and colleague Ilhan Omar, congresswoman from Minnesota, for what some Democrats said was a -- quote -- "offensive and misguided" remark that they say equated the U.S. and Israel with Hamas and Taliban, terrorist organizations.

She later clarified, saying she was not doing that.

But I want you -- our viewers to read what you tweeted in response. You said: "Pretty sick and tired of the constant vilification, intentionally -- intentional mischaracterization, and public targeting of Ilhan Omar coming from our caucus. They have no concept for the danger they put her in by skipping private conversations and leaping to fueling targeted news cycles around her."

First question is, what exactly did your fellow Democrats mischaracterize? And are you saying that they are to blame for some threats against her?

OCASIO-CORTEZ: Well, I think -- I believe that her comments were absolutely mischaracterized.

She was very clearly speaking about the ICC investigations, which name these four actors in two suits. And they name them in context of events that happened in Afghanistan with the United States and the Taliban and in Palestine with Hamas and the government of Israel.


And I think that is to say that and I believe that to assert that she was acquainting these two entities, when she was speaking about the ICC investigations, in which all four parties are being investigated for -- investigated for instances of war crimes, I believe to assert that they -- that this was acquainting these two, I believe, was not -- it was not a generous interpretation whatsoever.

And we know that these very intense news cycles, which, by the way, started, this whole hubbub started with right-wing news outlets taking what she said, out of context. And when we feed into that, it adds legitimacy to a lot of this kind of right-wing vitriol.

It absolutely kind of increases that target. And as someone who has experienced that, it's very difficult to communicate the scale and how dangerous that is.

And so I think, as Speaker Pelosi said, we are putting this behind us, and I believe that we will ultimately come together as a caucus.

BASH: Before I let you go, I want to ask about the Supreme Court.

They're poised to hear several blockbuster cases in the next term, voting rights, gun control, abortion.

Your fellow Democrat Mondaire Jones says 82-year-old Justice Stephen Breyer should retire, so that President Biden and Senate Democrats can fill his seat with a younger liberal successor. Do you think that Justice Breyer should step down after this term?

OCASIO-CORTEZ: Well, I believe -- I believe Representative Jones has a point.

And we have had very difficult experiences with making, I believe, the opposite mistake. And especially if Senate Democrats are not going to pass reforms on H.R.1, we cannot rely solely on a wish of winning elections, particularly in the Senate, when voting rights are under attack in Georgia, Arizona, and Texas, across the country.

And if we're not going to pass H.R.1, with the preemptive clauses that can roll some of that -- voter suppression attacks back, yes, I believe that we should protect our Supreme Court, and that that should absolutely be a consideration.

BASH: So, just to be clear, you do think that Justice Stephen Breyer should retire at the end of this term?

OCASIO-CORTEZ: I -- it's something I would think about, but I would probably lean towards yes.

But, yes, you're asking me this question, so I would just -- I would give more thought to it, but I'm inclined to say yes.

BASH: OK. After you give more thought to it, give me a call. We will make sure to get that on the air.

OCASIO-CORTEZ: Absolutely.


Thank you so much for joining me this morning. I appreciate it.

OCASIO-CORTEZ: Thank you so much. Of course. Thank you, Dana.

BASH: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION. I'm Dana Bash. We are waiting for a press conference by President Biden as he wraps up the G-7 summit and gears up for a face-to-face meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. I want to discuss with my panel. And with me here in the studio is Abby Phillip, the anchor of "INSIDE POLITICS SUNDAY."

So, Abby, there was really a remarkable moment this week with President Biden, the French president, Emmanuel Macron, where Macron said that Biden is, quote, "part of the club," and America is, quote, "definitely back" after four years of President Trump. You did some of those international trips with President Trump. When you hear that, what goes through your mind?

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, I mean, there's no question that this trip has a different tone. It's far less awkward. There's much more camaraderie. And Emmanuel Macron had been prepared to pivot, basically preparing with Europe to pivot away from the United States just a couple of years ago. And now he's saying, welcome back.

I think the question is, can Biden resume a place not just in the club, but leading the club? That is the big question coming out of this. And by some of the indications, we have a G-7 communique that is largely what the United States wanted on a number of different fronts, particularly on China. It seems to suggest that the goodwill isn't just in terms of rhetoric. There have actually been some results that come out of it and that would be a pretty significant turnaround from where we've been for the last four years.

BASH: So let's pick up on that. Fareed, I want to bring you in, Fareed Zakaria, on China, because it seems as though, you know, they're not part of the G7, but were there very much in spirit and discussion. And CNN is reporting that there were serious differences among member nations about just how to confront China's rising. And President Biden is pushing probably one of the hardest lines. What does that say to you?

FAREED ZAKARIA, HOST, "FAREED ZAKARIA: GPS": Well, if you listen carefully to what President Biden is trying to get the G7 and the Europeans and the world to do, more generally, it is to think about the Chinese challenge as a competition and a spur to action. So the most important thing he has done is say, look, we, the richest democracies in the world have to provide the world with the kind of assistance and the goodwill and the dollars and the vaccines that will suggest that we can compete with the world.

So he put out this extraordinarily bold offer, 500 million vaccines. And what he said is, don't let the Russians and the Chinese win this war of vaccine diplomacy. Well, lo and behold, the Europeans came back and essentially matched the offer. There will now be a billion vaccines offered by the rich democracies of the world.

So in many places what Biden is doing is using China, frankly, to get the Western democracies to do the kinds of things that he wants them to do anyway. When you get to the more difficult issues about, you know, what should you do about certain technologies, and how should -- you know, should you ban Huawei? Yes, you're right, there are differences there. But the big ask for this summit was actually about stepping up and showing that the West can provide the world with the great public good they need right now, which is vaccines.

BASH: And, Susan, we have to look ahead also to Vladimir Putin and the summit that is going to come between the two men. What do you expect to see?

SUSAN GLASSER, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, it's not going to be a lovefest. Let's just say that merely by showing up and saying his goal was to talk tough, I think what you're seeing is President Biden hoping to exorcise the ghost of Helsinki, if you will, and, you know, few can forget that memorable press conference where Donald Trump seemed to take the side of the Russian leader over his own intelligence agencies.

So I think that, you know, Biden made a kind of unconventional decision. I think there was a lot of controversy even inside his administration about whether now was a good time to meet President Putin given all the provocative actions we've seen from Russia recently. But Biden and his advisers now say the goal really here is to, first of all, look Putin in the eye and say, you know, knock it off, buddy. I'm sure the word "malarkey" might be thrown around by President Biden.


GLASSER: But, look, there is very low expectations of anything much more concrete than that. When you come into and you say, at a minimum what we're looking for is some stability in the relationship, that is diplomatic code word for saying, things are not in a good place and, you know, we're hoping to minimize the problems, really.

BASH: Yes. "A frank and productive conversation, "my bet is on those words coming out of the readout from this.

Abby, you have -- again, you've covered President Trump. You covered the whole Helsinki fiasco, I think we can fairly call it that. What are you hearing from sources inside of the Biden administration about how they're approaching this.

PHILLIP: Well, I'm...

BASH: Oh, excuse me, I'm so sorry to interrupt you. We actually see, I'm told, President Biden. He is coming up. We are -- no -- yes, there he is. Let's listen.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, good afternoon. And let me start by thanking Prime Minister Johnson for the incredible hospitality and welcome that he provided for all of us at the G-7.

I'd like to take -- thank Yael Lempert, who is our charge at the embassy, filling in for the ambassador -- an ambassador. We'll have one soon. But she did a great job supporting the entire team. And Yael is vital to keeping the U.S.-U.K. partnership going and moving smoothly as it is now.

We've just wrapped up what has been an extraordinary collaborative and productive meeting in the G-7. Everyone at the table understood and understands both the seriousness and the challenges that we are up against and the responsibility of our proud democracies to step up and deliver for the rest of the world. That is what the G-7 is all about. And rallying the world's democracies to meet the challenges that the world faces and deliver for our people and for people, quite frankly, everywhere.

Ending the pandemic and maintaining robust support for an equitable, inclusive global economic recovery were the top priorities of our nations as we got together. We know we can't achieve one without the other. That is, we have to deal with the pandemic and in order to be able to deal with economic recovery, which -- as we're doing in the States, but we committed that we're going to do more for the rest of the world as well.

The fact is that we -- the U.S. contribution is the foundation, the foundation to work out how we're going to deal with the hundred nations that are poorer and having trouble finding vaccines and having trouble dealing with reviving their economies, if they were in the first place in good shape. And we -- I committed that we would provide half a billion -- half a billion, beyond the 80 million we've already done, half a billion doses of Pfizer vaccine, which we contracted and paid for, in addition to money we put into the COVID Project which is that COVID -- I know you all know, but a lot of people may not know what COVID is, that is a system whereby they're going to provide funding for states to be able to get access to vaccines on their own as well.

But the bottom line is, what that generated was a commitment by the rest of our colleagues at the G-7 that they would provide another half billion. So we're going to have a billion doses of vaccine. And in our case, this includes sharing more than not just the 1 billion doses overall but we're going to provide for 200 million of those doses by the end of the year and another 300 million by the first half of next year.

And so it was greeted with some enthusiasm. And we've agreed to work together so that the world is better prepared to detect and deal with future pandemics. Because there will be future pandemics.

We have a, I'm sure you have seen it, if you haven't you'll get it, a joint statement we put out of the G7. You've seen it, I'm sure. And we are committed to follow on to do some significant work including not only how we deal with the distribution and help in getting shots in arms for the rest of the world, but how we're going to deal with putting together a mechanism to anticipate and deal with and be aware of the next pandemic when it comes along. And there will be others.

And we also agreed to take important steps in the (ph) support of global economic recovery by laying the foundation for an equitable global economy. Critically G7 leaders endorsed a global minimum tax of 15 percent. Too many corporations have been engaged in what are essentially tax savings, deciding that they would pay considerably less in other -- in other environments around the world. And -- but this is going to make sure there is a minimum tax and I'm going to have -- I'm going to move on this at home as well.

Minimum tax for corporations to pay for the profits they make anywhere in the world. And this agreement is going to help arrest the race to the bottom

that's been going on among nations attracting corporate investment at the expense of priorities like protecting our workers and investing in infrastructure.

We also made a momentous commitment at the G7 to help meet more than $40 trillion need that exists for infrastructure in the developing world. I put forward an idea that was called -- we named the Build Back Better World partnership, which is -- we're calling it the B3W. The point is that what's happening is that China has its Belt and Road Initiative and we think that there is a much more equitable way to provide for the needs of countries around the world.

And so it's been -- it's a values-driven, high-standard, transparent financing mechanism we're going to provide and support project in four key air areas, climate, health, digital technology and gender equity. And we believe that will not only be good for the countries but it'd be good for the entire world and represent values that our democracies represent and not autocratic lack of values.

By harassing the full potential of those who were harassing, we're going to have to try to change things. That's the whole idea. But here is the deal, we're going to make sure that we're able to pull together the ability to use the development financing institutions and other development tools to expect the bold new infrastructure investment in low and middle income countries over the coming years. Much of it coming from the private sector which will generate a -- the capital put in will generate significantly more capital from the private sector.

We also made a historic commitment to permanently eliminate the use of our public finance to produce unabated coal projects around the world and to end -- and to end them by this year. The G7 agreed to that. And those who were not members but visiting members who were participating in the G7 who have coal-fired facilities have also agreed they would work in that direction as well.

So transitioning the world to clean energy sources is urgent, it's essential. If we're going to beat the climate -- and there is -- one of the things I -- some of my colleagues said to me when I was there was, well, the United States is leading -- leadership recognizes there is global warming. And I know that sounds silly but we had a president who last -- who basically said, it's not a problem, global warming. It is the existential problem facing humanity. And it's being treated that way.

So we're going to provide up to $2 billion to support developing countries as they transition away from unabated coal-fired power.