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State of the Union

Interview With Del. Stacey Plaskett (D-VI); Interview With Fmr. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ); Interview With Rep. Jamie Raskin (D- MD); Interview With Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY); Interview With Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers; Interview With Rep. Chris Jacobs (R-NY). Aired 9-10a ET

Aired June 12, 2022 - 09:00   ET




DANA BASH, CNN HOST (voice-over): Insiders speak. The January 6 Committee makes its case in prime time.

IVANKA TRUMP, DAUGHTER OF DONALD TRUMP: I respect Attorney General Barr.

WILLIAM BARR, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: I told the president it was bullshit.

BASH: What evidence is still to come?

I will speak exclusively to January 6 Committee member Congressman Jamie Raskin and Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez next.

And soaring costs. Gas prices hit a record $5 a gallon. President Biden says it's largely outside his control.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have never seen anything like Putin's tax on both food and gas.

BASH: How much higher will prices go? Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers joins me to discuss in moments.

Plus: political price. He came out for tighter gun laws after Buffalo in Uvalde and is now going to be out of a job. I will speak exclusively to Republican Congressman Chris Jacobs, and I will sit down with mass shooting survivor and activist Gabby Giffords.


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

We have breaking news this morning. A bipartisan group of senators is on track to announce the outlines of an agreement to address gun violence as soon as today. That's according to sources familiar with the talks. The sources tell me and Manu Raju that it is an agreement in principle

only at this point, and that legislation is not yet written. And because getting any changes to gun law is so dicey, sources say that negotiators are working to get 10 Republican senators to sign on to an agreement before it's announced to show they can get a filibuster- proof 60 votes.

Here's what sources involved tell us the plan includes, funding to incentivize states to implement -- quote -- "red flag laws," expanding a 10-state pilot program on mental health to all 50 states, allowing juvenile records to be searched during background checks for those under 21, strengthening the background check system, and increasing funding for school security.

The outline is not expected to include a renewal of so-called assault weapons, that ban, or raising the age to purchase a firearm.

While this would be just an outline, any agreement in the Senate on gun safety would be hugely significant, after years of inaction and two tragedies, in Buffalo and Uvalde.

This news on a compromise in the Senate comes as the House focuses on the January 6 Committee hearings, which more than 20 million Americans watched in prime time Thursday night. The hearings continue tomorrow morning and will focus on former President Donald Trump's election lies.

Here with me exclusively is the January 6 Committee member Democratic Congressman Jamie Raskin.

Thank you so much for joining me. We're going to get to January 6, of course, but, quickly, based on what you just heard, is that a compromise you could vote on?

REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): Well, we would certainly vote on it and work on it.

America is suffering a massacre pretty much every day now. There have been more massacres than days in 2022. So, the House has been pushing for far more sweeping action, for universal violent criminal background checks.

BASH: But this is a baby step you would vote yes on?

RASKIN: It's moving in the right direction. We're glad that the Senate is finally awake about this.

BASH: You said on January 6 that the committee's public hearings would blow the roof off the House. We're about to enter a new week of hearings.

Is the most explosive testimony, in your opinion, still to come?

RASKIN: Well, what we're going to do is spell out and unspool all of the details related to the things that Chairman Thompson and Vice Chair Cheney laid out. So I think it continues to be an absolutely shocking event in American

history that there was an attempted political coup organized by the president of the United States in order to overthrow a presidential election to stay in office, to seize the presidency.

And it's equally shocking that insurrectionary mob violence would be used as part of that plan in order to forestall the counting of Electoral College votes and to block the transfer of power.

So I know that our first hearing pierced the sound barrier. People are paying attention. But Americans need to pay further attention, because the danger is still out there.

I mean, there was -- I just read this morning that, in Idaho, there was an LGBTQ Pride Day and a riot planted by domestic violent extremist groups, the same kinds of groups that were mobilized for the assault on the Capitol.


BASH: Well, let me ask you about the hearing coming tomorrow.

It's going to focus on misinformation and election fraud. Your committee says that Trump -- quote -- "purposefully" -- "purposely," rather, spread false information.

Can you prove that Donald Trump knew he lost, while he was publicly saying that he won?

RASKIN: I think we can prove to any reasonable, open-minded person that Donald Trump absolutely knew, because he was surrounded by lawyers, including the attorney general of the United States, William Barr, telling him in no uncertain terms, in terms that Donald Trump could understand, this is B.S.

He heard it from the White House counsel. He heard it from all of the lawyers who threatened to resign if he staged his little mini-coup against the Department of Justice by installing someone that would go along with his fairy tale about there having been electoral fraud and corruption.

So, yes, I think any reasonable person in America will tell you he had to have known he was spreading a big lie. And he continues to spread it to this very day. He continues to foist that propaganda on his followers.

BASH: Your colleague who's also on the panel with you Elaine Luria said this week that she thinks with Donald Trump -- quote -- "met" -- she thinks that Donald Trump -- quote -- "met the threshold" for criminal behavior.

So, you know this. Indicting a former president has not happened in American history. You are a constitutional lawyer and professor. Is a criminal referral of a former president the right thing to do in this case? RASKIN: Well, there's a statutory authority we have for criminal

referral for people who commit contempt against Congress. And that's what we did with people like Navarro and Meadows and Bannon and so on.

BASH: But they're not a former president.

RASKIN: Right.

There's not a specific statutory provision for just referring crimes to the Department of Justice. I suppose our entire investigation is a referral of crimes, both to the Department of Justice and to the American people, because this is a massive assault on our -- on the machinery of American democracy, when you have a sitting president who tries to overthrow the majority in the Electoral College of his opponent, who beat him by more than seven million votes.

BASH: I guess the question is, knowing what you know and knowing what the American people will see in these hearings, do you believe that the Justice Department should indict the former president?

RASKIN: One of the conventions that was crushed during the Trump administration was respect by politicians for the independence of the law enforcement function. And so I'm going to try to observe that.

Attorney General Garland is my constituent, and I don't browbeat my constituents. I think that he knows, his staff knows, the U.S. attorneys know what's at stake here. They know the importance of it. But I think they're rightfully paying close attention to precedent and history, as well as the facts of this case.

So we have laid out in different legal pleadings the criminal statutes that we think have been violated. And Judge Carter in California said he thought it was likely that President Trump committed federal offenses.

BASH: I want to ask you about pardons.

You revealed this week that multiple Republican members of Congress sought pardons from President Trump after the insurrection. How many of your colleagues in Congress did that? And what evidence do you have? Because you know that Congressman Scott Perry is denying it.


Well, the seeking of pardons is powerful demonstration of the consciousness of guilt, or at least the consciousness that you may be in trouble. And that's what's so shocking about this. It's not just one. It's...

BASH: And you have evidence that has happened?

RASKIN: It is multiple members of Congress, as the vice chair said, at our opening hearing.

And, all in due course, the details will surface.

BASH: So, yes, there's evidence?

RASKIN: We're everything we're doing is documented by evidence.

Unlike the big lie, which is based on nonsense, as former Attorney General Barr said, everything that we're doing is based on facts. And this is a bipartisan investigation, which is determined to ferret out all of the facts of what happened.

BASH: Before I let you go, I want to ask about something that you were carrying in your pocket, a copy of "Common Sense" by Thomas Paine. And you named your late son, Tommy, after him.

Why did you have that with you Thursday night?

RASKIN: Well, because we did name tommy after Tom Paine.

And what we're going to need to get through this struggle in our history is common sense, the sense that we all have in common about what facts are and about what the truth is, and then common sense about how to move forward pragmatically as Americans. That's what we need, not lies, not conspiracy theory, not propaganda and disinformation.

BASH: Congressman, thank you so much for coming on. Appreciate it.

RASKIN: Thank you for having me.

BASH: Thank you.

And my next guest says she feared for her life on January 6.

Democratic Congresswoman of New York Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is joining me.


First, I would just want to ask about your personal reaction as you watched, especially given that you told me last year you thought that you might be killed or even raped during the riot on January 6.


Well, I think my reaction was a lot of the American people's reaction. Rewatching that footage, it almost felt -- especially when you consider the disinformation and misinformation campaign that happened immediately afterwards to try to minimize the scale and the severity of what happened.

We have been pounded by messages from right-wing disinformation networks that this was not a big deal, that January -- even from members of Congress, that it was just a tourist visit.

And so I think, especially in the wake of that year of people trying to minimize what had happened, rewatching that footage was, I think, just -- it was like bringing everything from that day back again, not just for myself, but I also know for staff that were there that day, for support staff that were working there, for members of Congress that were there, and for the entire country that -- including many veterans that were watching on television, wondering, how could this be us?

And so I think it was an incredibly evocative and physically resonant moment for many of us. But it was a reminder of how severe the moments of January 6 was and that this was an attempted coup of the United States of America.

BASH: Vice Chair Liz Cheney revealed that multiple Republican members of Congress asked for presidential pardons after January 6.

You went on Twitter and directly asked Republican Congressman Gaetz, Boebert, and Greene if they were the one to ask for pardons. Do you have a reason to believe that they were?

OCASIO-CORTEZ: Well, we do know that Congresswoman Lauren Boebert, in the middle of all of that footage that we saw yesterday of people kind of coming into the Capitol, was actively tweeting the speaker's location, was tweeting evocative, really provocative statements, like this is 17 -- today is 1776.

And it very much, I believe, indicates a side here. And when you don't know which of your colleagues were part of a potential conspiracy, then we need to find out. And, frankly, from a lot of the behavior that we have seen, both in committee inside the workings of the House, I believe that every member of Congress should be able to answer that question.

I'm happy to answer this question. I know that Representative Gerry Connolly, Representative Chellie Pingree, we are more than willing to offer that we did not seek a pardon from the White House either before or after January 6, or, frankly, at any point in time.

And I believe that it's a very simple question that every single member of Congress should be able to answer.

BASH: Well, people like Scott Perry are -- they're denying it. You just don't believe them?

OCASIO-CORTEZ: Well, we will see what the evidence that the committee lays out will be.

But if the committee, as indicated, has evidence that several members of Congress did seek a pardon, you do have Representative Perry refusing to comply with a bipartisan investigation into the events of January 6.

I believe that the committee would never make an allegation so serious without very substantial evidence to present to the American public.

BASH: Congresswoman, you heard my reporting about a framework for a bipartisan Senate deal on gun safety.

That bill -- that deal is not expected to include a so-called assault weapons ban or raising the age to buy a firearm. Would you vote for that compromise?

OCASIO-CORTEZ: Well, I think, when it comes to guns, we have to look at all of the options that we have at the table, recognizing that the Senate simply right now isn't capable of, I believe, passing the comprehensive legislation in all forms that is needed.

We have to look at the text. As you mentioned, the legislative text has not been put together. I am disappointed to hear vote a focus on increased criminalization and juvenile criminalization, instead of really having the focus on guns.

But the background checks provision is encouraging. So I think we need to really look at the text. And once we look at that text, I think we will be able to see if this legislation has been responsibly put together. And I hope -- it is my hope that it has been.

BASH: And, assuming that it has been, will you be a yes?

OCASIO-CORTEZ: You know, I believe that, if we can get background checks through, my hope -- my hope is that it's a yes.

Again, if we're talking about just using this as an excuse to dramatically increase an enforcement mechanism that we know is not capable right now of preventing mass shootings, then I'm not really interested in doing something for show for the American public.

I'm interested -- I'm really interested in passing a solution for the American public. And we have had -- even the police department from the Buffalo mass shooting came and testified before the House Oversight Committee, and they said: More of us is not going to help.


Increased hardening targets, while there's something to be said for that, at the end of the day, what we need to address in mass shootings is the widespread availability of guns.

BASH: Yes. I want to move on.


BASH: I'm sorry.

OCASIO-CORTEZ: Yes, of course.

BASH: I want to move on, but it just sounds like -- it sounds like you're saying that, if it does something, you're OK with a baby step now, as opposed to what you actually want, because you recognize the politics of the Senate?

OCASIO-CORTEZ: Yes, if we get a real baby step...


OCASIO-CORTEZ: ... not a -- not kind of a distraction, I think, from the solution. BASH: OK.

I want to turn to New York politics. This week, you endorsed progressive New York state Senator Alessandra Biaggi. She's trying to unseat your Democratic colleague Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney.

Here's what President Obama's former campaign manager Jim Messina said about that. He said: "This is counterproductive. The Supreme Court is about to outlaw abortion. We could lose both houses. So we are going to focus our time running against each other? Now we're primarying committed progressives, because why? If we lose the House, it's because of dumb stuff like this."

What do you say to him?

OCASIO-CORTEZ: You know, I think we have seen from prior primaries throughout this year that a motivated, young, multiracial, multiclass base is exactly what the Democratic Party needs in order to win in November.

We have seen these with the electric victories of representative -- representatives, hopefully, to be Summer Lee, as well as Greg Casar out in Austin, that, when we are able to elect representatives that excite the Democratic base, that excite young people, that excite a multiclass, multiracial coalition, then that puts us in an even better position to win in November.

I think, right now, there are a lot of voters at home that have quite a bit of anxiety about the enthusiasm right now in terms of turnout for the Democratic Party. And I think one of the best things that we can do is elect people with a proven record of being able to excite a base and turn it out.

BASH: And you're making...

OCASIO-CORTEZ: And I do know that Alessandra Biaggi can do that.

BASH: You're making a statement, of course, by endorsing somebody who wants to beat and take out a member of your own party leadership, the very guy who is trying to get Democrats elected to keep control of the House.

You're obviously comfortable with that.

OCASIO-CORTEZ: You know, I believe that, every single year, every single one of us as a voter has the possibility to elect a representative that best suits them.

And I have been primaried by the Democratic establishment. I had a $3 million-plus primary challenge in 2020. And I took my case to my constituency. And I think what's really important here is that we -- I don't believe that, if you get elected wants to Congress, that we should be elected in perpetuity forever, and that our party is changing.

Our party's dynamic. And, right now, millennials are deeply underrepresented in Congress, compared to baby boomers and Gen X'ers back when they were our age, frankly.

And, at the end of the day, we need to have a generational shift in the United States Congress in order for us to have a policy shift in the United States Congress.

BASH: Before we go, I just want to ask about President Biden. He is saying he's going to run again in 2024. Will you support him?

OCASIO-CORTEZ: You know, if the president chooses to run again in 2024 -- I mean, first of all, I'm focused on winning this majority right now and preserving a majority this year in 2022.

So we will cross that bridge when we get to it. But I think, if the president has a vision, then that's something certainly we're all willing to entertain and examine when the time comes.

BASH: That's not a yes.

OCASIO-CORTEZ: Yes, I think we should endorse when we get to it.

But I believe that the president has been doing a very good job so far. And should he run again, I think that -- I think it's -- we will take a look at it.



OCASIO-CORTEZ: But, right now, we need to focus on winning a majority, instead of a presidential election.

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

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

BASH: And you can tune in Monday morning at 9:00 a.m. Eastern for coverage of the next hearing of the January 6 Committee. CNN will carry that live with all of the best reporting and analysis.

A Republican lawmaker from Buffalo, New York, said, enough is enough on gun violence. What happened next abruptly changed his political career.

I will talk to Congressman Chris Jacobs exclusively next.

And he predicted the rise of inflation, so where does he think the economy is headed now? Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers coming up.



BASH: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION. As soon as today, Senate negotiators are expected to announce a bipartisan agreement on guns, one with the goal of 10 Republicans signing on in order to show a filibuster-proof plan.

One House Republican is serving as a reminder for others in his party about the political cost of backing new gun laws.

We spoke to him exclusively Friday for his first national interview since announcing he will not seek another term.


BASH: Joining me now is Republican Congressman Chris Jacobs of New York.

Thank you so much for joining me. I really appreciate it.

So, you were endorsed by the NRA in 2020. You have a record of defending gun ownership rights. But you did change your position or came out with a position against assault weapons, against high- capacity magazines, wanting to increase the age to buy guns.

Walk me through that process.

REP. CHRIS JACOBS (R-NY): Well, I'm from Buffalo, New York. I don't represent the city of Buffalo, but I have in the past. I grew up there. I represented in the state Senate. And I was on the school board for seven years in the city.

And we had the massacre several weeks ago in Buffalo. And I hope I have been compassionate when I have seen other places go through this, but it certainly hits you a bit harder when people that perished in an event and also a lot of friends and colleagues that I served with on a school board in particular who knew a lot of people and heard their -- of their suffering, talked with them.

And then subsequent to that was the Uvalde event. And, again, I hope we have been compassionate in the past, but now, as a father of two young daughters, I think that really -- when I saw them and looked in their faces, when I went home that night, I just couldn't imagine what these families are going through.


And, for the next couple of weeks, I spent a lot of time talking with people on both sides of this issue, talking with people that are strong defenders of the Second Amendment, which I believe I am. I was the county clerk in Erie County. And county clerks in New York state issue pistol permits. So I was very involved in allowing people to avail themselves of Second Amendment rights.

But, as I talked to Second Amendment advocates on the issue of the absolutism that they have that nothing should change, no additional controls, their -- just their arguments felt hollow to me. And I do think -- and I came out and said, if an assault weapon ban

were to come to the floor, I would vote for it. I don't think it's going to come to the floor. It might come to the floor of the House, but it probably won't pass the Senate, but, in lieu of that, here are some other things I think are very reasonable.

BASH: And the backlash against you was intense from your fellow Republicans.

After that, you decided that you were not going to seek another term in Congress. What has that backlash been like?

JACOBS: Well, I -- very quickly, many of the elected officials who had endorsed me for my reelection, which I think I had a very good, solid path to victory, with -- through the endorsements. Many of the committees did so as well.

And so as -- over the next week, week-and-a-half, as things heated up on that, I just felt that it would be very divisive for the party to pursue running and also divisive because I thought there was a high likelihood of outside groups coming in...

BASH: Yes.

JACOBS: ... and that this issue would be the issue of the race.

And it wouldn't be a productive dialogue. It would just be running ads and kind of misinformation issues. And I really want to be a positive force on this issue, so we can get meaningful change.

BASH: So I guess the obvious question is, if you want to be a positive force on the issue, and you want to get meaningful change, why not stay and fight the fight? And why not send a signal that it is worth fighting for from your perch in Congress, and not saying, well, I'm going to leave because...


JACOBS: Well, I'm here for seven more months. And I think there's a lot -- this week, we passed on the floor -- another thing I talked about, raising the age for assault weapon bans to 21, we passed that this week.

We also passed limiting the magazine size, which is another priority I said. I'm also working in a in a bipartisan way. Hopefully, next week, we will be introducing legislation on body armor. The retired Buffalo police officer who was a security guard at the grocery store was not able to take down that shooter because that shooter had military-grade body armor.

I don't think anybody under the sun should be able to get that. There should be specific reasons, you're in law enforcement, you're a security guard, and so forth. If that person did not have body armor, Mr. Salter, that cop, would have been able to take him down.

BASH: Do you have hope that any of the things you just mentioned actually can get done before you leave Congress?


I think the body armor, for sure, I think, is going to be a bipartisan bill. And I'm hopeful as I continue to watch what's going on in the Senate. The Senate is really where the activity is going to be that's going to lead this. And I think there's some real discussions on red flag laws and some other issues that I think could -- raising the age and some others, that could really happen.

So, I'm going to do all I can. I have to, in my heart of hearts, think all I can do to make sure that no other community has to experience what happened in my city and what happened with all those beautiful children down in Uvalde.

And I also want to make sure my point is, I represent a rural community that are big gun owners. And they respect gun ownership. It's kind of part of their heritage, and fathers taking sons, teaching them how to hunt. But there's not a trust right now between those people and others on this discussion, because it's been so heated.

And it's not just a Republican/Democrat issue. I think it's a rural/urban issue. And I think we really need to work to reestablish some trust, tone down the rhetoric on both sides, so we can really get some productive dialogue and then results.

BASH: You mentioned Uvalde.

We heard really wrenching testimony this past week in the House from an 11-year-old girl who smeared her friend's blood on herself to protect herself from the shooter in Uvalde.

I want you to listen to what some of your fellow Republicans said during that very same hearing.


REP. JAMES COMER (R-KY): Knee-jerk reactions to impose gun control policies that seek to curtail our constitutional right to bear arms are not the answer.

REP. ANDREW CLYDE (R-GA): While every loss of life is a tragedy, no one should weaponize or politicize the abhorrent acts to punish law- abiding citizens.


REP. ANDY BIGGS (R-AZ): And make no mistakes. My Democratic colleagues intend on total infringement on America's Second Amendment rights.


BASH: What do you say to them?

JACOBS: That I just don't agree. And, again, it's about that level of trust, that this -- this feeling of a slippery slope, that, if you concede anything -- and, look, right now, I'm seeing this in our party: If -- since I said I'm receptive to gun control, I'm not really a Republican and I'm ostracized.

I'm now the only Republican that's come out and said I'm in favor of an assault weapon ban. There's only one Republican -- one Democrat that is pro-life at this point in time in the Democratic Party. So our parties are very polarized right now.

And I don't think that's good for the parties. I don't think that's good for democracy. And I think that's one reason why Washington is not working.

BASH: No, it definitely is a mess right now.

On that, you mentioned that you're the only Republican who has come out in favor of an assault weapons ban. What about your private conversations? Are there Republicans who agree with you, but don't want to meet your fate of saying, you know what, I have such backlash that I'm not going to be able to run again for my seat?

JACOBS: I haven't had specific conversations yet with members.

I have certainly gotten calls back at home from people saying, look, I'm a lifelong Republican, but this is ridiculous. Look, I'm a gun owner. I'm a gun advocate. Look, I'm a police officer.

And they all said that. Now, in particular, I would really love it if police would be more vocal on this issue, because we claim to be the party pro-cop. And I think we are. But, on this issue, this is not pro-cop. I talked to our sheriff, who said, thank God that kid, when he stopped -- and when he came out, turned himself over, because, with that gun, he would have shot through the body armor of our men, and it would -- the bullet would have gone down another mile down the block.

So, cops are in jeopardy by our lack of action here.

BASH: How are things going to get fixed in Washington if people like you, who stand up and say, I disagree with my party, I want to get something done in a bipartisan basis, are run out of Washington?


Well, again, I'm here for seven months. I think these could be a pivotal seven months for gun control activity and legislation. And I'm going to continue to advocate now and outside of government to make sure this happens.

BASH: Before I let you go, there were big hearings on January 6 this past week.

And just your personal story, you voted to reject Pennsylvania and Arizona's election results, but you also voted for a bipartisan commission, not...


BASH: ... the committee that we're seeing, but a commission, which it never -- it never happened.

I want you to listen to what your Republican colleague Liz Cheney said during that hearing.


REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): Tonight, I say this to my Republican colleagues who are defending the indefensible. There will come a day when Donald Trump is gone, but your dishonor will remain.


BASH: Your response?

JACOBS: Well, I was one of the few, as you mentioned, that voted for the bipartisan commission to look at this issue, to look at the security breaches as well.

And I was very disappointed that that didn't happen, because this was powerful video that we saw last night, testimony that we saw. And my concern is that the way this commission is set up, the committee is set up, that there will be just a significant percentage of this population that will not be receptive to...


BASH: But, beyond the setup of the commission or the committee, just the notion of the substance of what she said, that Republicans who are defending the indefensible, Donald Trump's lies about 2020, that their dishonor will remain, do you agree with that?

JACOBS: I think -- I think that we will need to look at all -- what comes out of this.

This is the first week of these. And I watched it in totality last night. I will continue to watch it. Even though I regret the way this commission is structured, the committee is structured, I'm not going to just dismiss it offhand. And, certainly, there was some very, very powerful testimony yesterday.

BASH: Do you regret voting against Pennsylvania?

JACOBS: No, because, unfortunately, those two states did violate the Constitution by overturning election law without going through the legislative process, which is a violation of the Constitution.

Those would not -- my -- the electoral votes those added up to would not have ever turned any election over -- this election over. But I do believe election integrity is a legitimate issue and needs to -- we need assurance going forward for this democracy to work.

BASH: But that -- what you just said is key, that they -- you don't believe that the election results would have changed. JACOBS: No.

BASH: Yes.

Congressman, thank you so much for coming in. I really appreciate it.

JACOBS: Thank you very much.

BASH: Thank you.


BASH: We should note, the case about Pennsylvania did go to the courts, and the Supreme Court declined to take it up.


My next guest predicted that President Biden's policies would add to inflation. So is the president doing enough now to bring prices back down?

That's next.


BASH: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION.

The average price of gas in the U.S. hit $5 a gallon this weekend, according to the AAA. And high fuel costs are, in turn, increasing the price of consumer goods. The rate of inflation rose to a 40-year high last month.

Here with me now is former Treasury Secretary and economic adviser to many Democratic presidents Larry Summers.

Thank you so much for joining me.

Mr. Secretary, you have been predicting high inflation since last year. It is at 8.6 percent, the highest since December of 1981. Has it peaked, or could it climb even higher?

LAWRENCE SUMMERS, FORMER U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY: Depends on -- depends on President Putin and what happens with oil prices.

There's a risk that it will rise higher. And I don't think it's likely to fall back very, very rapidly. I think the Fed's forecasts have tended to be much too optimistic there. And I hope they will recognize fully the gravity of the problem in their forecasts when they meet this week.

BASH: This weekend, gas prices did reach a stunning national average, $5 a gallon.

Is there anything more the Biden administration can actually do to bring those prices down?

SUMMERS: Not a lot.


It's -- the gas price piece of this is driven by the geopolitical developments around Ukraine. It's hypocrisy in the extreme when people need to say we -- say we need to stand strongly with Ukraine, and then blame the administration for the fact that gas prices are higher than they were a year ago.

I have been disappointed by some of the almost demagogic statements that have been made in that regard. I think there are things we can do about inflation. The president said something very important -- did something very important when he met with Chairman Powell and underscored his respect for the independence of the Fed and made clear he thinks the Fed needs to do whatever is necessary, even if it's painful, to reduce inflation.

I have advocated that we need a much more strategic tariff policy vis- a-vis China that takes tariffs down and therefore takes prices down for American consumers and for producers.

BASH: Should those tariffs be lifted?

SUMMERS: If we can pass -- many of them should be. Many, many of them should be.

We should focus on what's important, not raising input prices for American producers, so they're less competitive, which is what much of those tariffs do. Instead, we should be focusing on things that allow the leakage of key technologies to China and the like.

We should pass at long last some kind of legislation, ideally on a bipartisan basis, that would raise the vastly excessive Trump tax cuts, join the world in taxing corporations adequately, take down prescription drug prices. All of that would operate to reduce inflation. So there are things we can do.

And, Dana, if I can step out of my area for one -- for one second, I think the banana Republicans who are saying that what happened on January 6 was nothing or OK are undermining the basic credibility of our country's institutions. And that, in turn, feeds through for inflation, because if you can't trust the country's government, why should you trust its money?

So I think it's terribly important that we take the temperature down in Washington, that we recognize behavior that's just out of bounds of reasonable and decency, we give the Fed the room it needs, we bring down the budget deficit, we take down prices directly through prescription drugs.

This is a challenge that we can meet, if we're prepared to be serious about taking it on.

BASH: Secretary Yellen, who has the job you once had, said this week that -- quote -- "There is nothing to suggest a recession is in the works." Do you agree with that?

SUMMERS: No, I don't.

BASH: You think a recession is in the works?

SUMMERS: I think that when -- I think, when inflation is as high as it is right now, and unemployment is as low as it is right now, it's almost always been followed within two years by inflation, by recession.

I look at what's happening in the stock and bond markets. I look at where consumer sentiment is. I think there's certainly a risk of recession in the next year. And I think, given where we have gotten to, it's more likely than not that we will have a recession within the next two years.

That is something we can manage. We have had them for the whole history of the country. We need to be prepared and to respond quickly if and when it happens.

But I think the optimists were wrong a year ago in saying we'd have no inflation, and I think they're wrong now in being -- if anyone's highly confident that we're going to avoid recession.

BASH: Secretary Summers, thank you so much for joining me. Appreciate it.

SUMMERS: Thank you.

BASH: And we're here with our panel now.

Scott Jennings, the Republican here, I don't know if you wore yellow because you knew he was going to call you a banana Republican.



BASH: But what's your reaction to what he said about the economy, and specifically the notion of how mistrust, distrust in government is feeding into the bad economy?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, first of all, I think his words on recession are what I took away from that interview, because he was right about inflation.

When the Biden administration was calling it transitory or short term or not a real issue, Summers was right, they were wrong. I think the Biden administration's credibility on these things is very limited. And Summers has been right. So I think you ought to listen to Larry Summers about these issues, because he seems to -- he seems to know more than the secretary of the Treasury or the president of the United States about it.

And the economy -- the economic issues, by the way, just as a political matter, that's what's killing the Democratic Party, Joe Biden this midterm. This is the dominant issue. And as we head towards recession, even if it's not technically one right now, it certainly feels like one to people who are paying 150 bucks to fill up their car.

BASH: Congresswoman, you're on the ballot. What do you think?

DEL. STACEY PLASKETT (D-VI): Well, I agree that we are facing a tremendous inflation.

But what I think is also happening is that the Democrats, at least House Democrats, are doing all that they can to combat that for the American people, whether it's passing legislation in the House related to the shortage of baby formula, which got no support, practically, from Republicans, or price gouging, oil and gas price gouging, to combat that, where we're not one Republican supported it.

We recognize that there's an issue, and we are doing what's necessary to fight against it. What we are not getting is the support from Republicans, who say they are concerned with this, but are unwilling to do what's necessary to drive those prices down for the American people, which is evidenced by their nay votes on every measure that the experts say are necessary to bring down inflation.

FMR. REP. JANE HARMAN (D-CA): Yes, but wouldn't it be nice if a little bipartisanship broke out?

And I think it's possible. We're seeing it in the Senate over guns. And what I worry about, having served in the House for nine terms -- I call myself an escapee -- I then went to the oasis of the Wilson Center for a decade -- is that too much of this is the press release designed to blame the other side.

And I really think some of these problems are solvable. I saw us miss one when I was there, which is letting the federal government bargain for lower drug prices. And the mistake there was, President Obama decided he needed the support of big pharma. And they, of course, were against this.

And so he took it out of the bill that we passed, the health care bill, and it was a huge missed opportunity. And all I'm saying is, I agree that these are serious problems. I agree that Democrats have a lot of the good answers, but they don't have all the good answers.

And where are people who say, as the fellow you interviewed, Chris Jacobs, where are people who say, I'm putting the country first?

I just wish he were staying on Congress and trying to win again.

BASH: I want to turn to the January 6 hearings. We saw the first one in prime time this past week. We're going to see more starting tomorrow morning.

Alyssa, you worked for Mark Meadows on Capitol Hill. You had several jobs in the Trump administration. There's testimony that Meadows burned papers in his office after meeting with Scott Perry, who was working to challenge the 2020 election.

Do you think Mark Meadows destroyed documents?

ALYSSA FARAH GRIFFIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I have heard that firsthand. I have heard it directly from someone with firsthand knowledge. So I believe that testimony that the committee has.

I want to note this, which is related to the two conversations we're having. Someone smarter than myself pointed out that, in 1974, during Watergate, inflation was 11 percent. Yet Congress still investigated the president and was able to work to address inflation and deal with the economy.

American voters, we know the midterms are going to be about gas prices. They're going to be about bringing down inflation, consumer costs. But we also need to get to the bottom of what happened on January 6. We cannot have a corrupt former president who, by the way, I think is going to announce in the coming months that he's in fact running again, get away with what was more or less a coup attempt against the United States.

So we need to be able to walk and chew gum. This is a moment we need bipartisanship. And, hopefully, we will see that as a result of these hearings.

BASH: I just want to go back to what you said.

You do feel confident that you know that Mark Meadows or you feel strongly that the person telling you is telling you the truth, that Mark Meadows destroyed documents?

FARAH GRIFFIN: I do. And I expect to see that come out in testimony from the committee.

And, again, this goes back to -- I was in the House when we wanted to hold Secretary Clinton accountable for destroying documents and not upholding federal record-keeping laws, which was...

BASH: Working for Mark Meadows.

FARAH GRIFFIN: Which was the right thing to do at that time.

I'm somebody who thinks we need to call balls and strikes and hold ourselves to the same standards. It's wrong when Republicans do it. It's wrong when Democrats do it.


BASH: You worked on the former president's impeachment trial.


BASH: What's your -- what's your reaction to what you're seeing on these hearings?

PLASKETT: Well, I think what we're seeing is the flesh and the full body of what the members of the impeachment trial stated.

I think we're getting the full plethora of evidence to back up the claims that, one, the president knew that he had lost the election, the president knew that without -- going through the courts was not going to give him what he wanted, and, therefore, he needed another means.

And that was to use American people to attempt to overthrow the government and worked towards that end. And I think what is even more disturbing are individuals, Republicans who are not willing to come to the table and negotiate. And we're seeing that over and over again in so many instances, not willing to call balls and strikes, as the other panelist has said, and hold people accountable.

JENNINGS: I mean, it's very difficult to watch all this footage again and not feel your blood boiling all over again.

I mean, the thing about this issue is, it all happened live on television. We all watched it. It didn't happen behind closed doors. We're not hearing conflicting reports that...

BASH: And yet there are a lot of Republicans who say, don't believe you're lying eyes.

JENNINGS: And it -- and I don't know how you watch these videos, how you watch the testimony of Officer Edwards, who was completely compelling, and what she went through was horrific.

How do you -- how do you watch these things and not come to the conclusion that this was a -- this was a terrible day, that somebody caused it, and that something has to be -- something has to come from this?

Now, in the short term, there's nothing anyone can do about Donald Trump. He probably is going to run again. But, in the long term, Republicans are going to have to decide, are we going to look to the future here in 2024 and the future of this country? Are we going to relitigate the 2020 election and this chaos again?

I would submit it's better for the party to look to the future and put this behind us by acknowledging what happened.

HARMAN: Totally agree with that.

Liz Cheney was magnificent. And her use of the term dishonor was just chilling. And she did a magnificent job.

But, also, the footage speaks for itself. There's no counterfactual that's been offered. And I would recommend that the members of the committee stay off the airwaves, because they're perceived as spinning what they did. And it would be much better if they just put the material on over and over again.

I know there's an issue about, who's the audience? But I think you reach a bigger audience if you don't -- if you don't talk about it.

PLASKETT: I think one of the greatest things that's been shown by this hearing is hearing the words of Trump's inner circle himself.

HARMAN: Right.

PLASKETT: It's not coming from Democrats.

It's coming from those individuals who worked with the president to not just show -- of course, we all know that there was a riot, there was an insurrection. But giving the evidence that it was the president who directed this and who was the one who instigated it is most important.

BASH: Yes. We have to leave it there.

We're going to hear a lot more from people in the president's inner circle in the coming weeks in these hearings.

Thank you so much, all of you, for that great discussion.

And since she was shot at a constituent event in 2011, Gabby Giffords has made it her mission to combat gun violence while supporting gun ownership. She is hopeful that this time could be different.

Stay with us.



BASH: More than 11 years ago, then-Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was shot in the head at a constituent event in Tucson, Arizona. Six others were killed.

Giffords' new life mission, combating gun violence, brought her back to the nation's capital this week to host a gun violence memorial.


FMR. REP. GABRIELLE GIFFORDS (D-AZ): Parkland shooting, Uvalde, D.C., San Francisco, too much guns. Too much guns. Too much guns.

BASH: You survived gun violence.


BASH: And you're here in a sea of flowers representing people who did not survive.

GIFFORDS: I'm sad. Move ahead. Do not look back. I want to make the world a better place.

BASH (voice-over): The former Arizona congresswoman leads a grassroots organization, Giffords...

GIFFORDS: Fight, fight, fight.

BASH: ... dedicated to stopping gun violence, the kind that almost took her life during a constituent event in 2011.

Her mission is simple.

GIFFORDS: Save lives, save lives, save lives.

ROBIN LLOYD, MANAGING DIRECTOR, GIFFORDS: I think we have made a lot of progress.

BASH: Robin Lloyd is the organization's managing director.

LLOYD: And that's what Gabby has really spent a lot of her time doing the past nine or 10 years, of really trying to draw attention to the issue, use her voice where she can to enact change.

And we have seen a lot of that happen.

BASH (on camera): I interviewed you in 2013, just two years after gun violence almost took your life.


BASH: If you were to name the one -- number one thing that Congress could do to prevent the kind of violence that you were the victim of, what would it be?

GIFFORDS: Background checks.


BASH: That hasn't happened.


The Senate Republicans, I don't know. I don't know. It's divided, divided. Really tough.

LLOYD: But that's why we're here today. We're saying it's unacceptable that we have 45,000 Americans dead from gun violence.

The Senate needs to take action. They need to do something to show the American people that they're hearing their calls for action.

GIFFORDS: I'm optimistic. It will be a long, hard haul. But I'm optimistic.

LLOYD: There's so much common ground on this issue when we talk to Americans of all stripes, Democrats, Republicans, gun owners, veterans.

It's really only here in Washington that we see the level of divide. Out in the rest of the country, people agree that we can and should do something more. And it's not at odds with gun ownership.

BASH: Are you still a gun owner?

GIFFORDS: Yes. Yes. Wild Wild West. BASH: You still think people should have guns, just do it safely?


BASH (voice-over): Activism is only part of Giffords' life today.

GIFFORDS: Yoga twice a week, French horn, Spanish lessons, ride my bike, the gym, Yo-Yo Ma.

LLOYD: Gabby recently performed with Yo-Yo Ma. It was a very special experience. She played the French horn.

BASH (on camera): You're living every day to the fullest?



BASH: For you, being an advocate against gun violence, that's living every day to the fullest?

GIFFORDS: Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.

LLOYD: There's so much gun violence happening all the time, it's hard to wrap your head around these numbers.

And that's why it's so important that we have the 40,000 white roses behind us to represent the 40,000 Americans that died from gun violence last year, and now the new 5,000 orange roses to represent the increase in just one year of how many gun deaths we have had in this country.


GIFFORDS: Too much guns. No more. No more. No more.

LLOYD: Enough is enough.

GIFFORDS: Enough is enough.


BASH: Thank you for spending your Sunday morning with us.

"FAREED ZAKARIA GPS" starts right now.