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State of the Union

Biden Delivers Sermon At Ebenezer Baptist Church MLK Service; Biden, Trump Both Under Special Counsel Probes Ahead Of '24 Race; Five More Pages Of Classified Material Found At Biden Residence; Comer In Nov.: Probe Of Trump Classified Docs "Not A Priority"; House GOP Prepare Contingency Plan In Case Of A Debt Default; Several GOP Members Of Congress Call On Santos To Resign. Aired 12-12:40p ET

Aired January 15, 2023 - 12:00   ET



JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: But faith, and history, teaches us, that however dark the night, joy cometh in the morning. And that joy, comes with the commandments of scripture. Love the Lord thy God, all thy heart, all thy mind, and all thy soul, and love thy neighbor as thy self. Easy to say, easy to say, but very hard to do.

But in that commandment, in my view, lies the essence of the Gospel, and the essence of the American promise. It's when we see each other as neighbors, and not enemies, that progress and justice come. So when we see each other as fellow human beings, as children of God, that we bend, or begin to walk the path of Dr. King's beloved community. A path his dream inspired, and his legacy propel us forward to this day.

Here's what I learned in my life, and my career along that path, as many of you have learned along your path. We're all imperfect being. We don't know where and what fate will deliver to us and when, but do -- we can do our best to seek a life of light and hope, and love, and yes, truth, truth.

That's what I try to do every day, to build the future we all want, or reminding ourselves that nothing, nothing is guaranteed in our democracy. Nothing. Every generation is required to keep it defended, protected, to be repairs of the breach, and to remember that the power to redeem the soul of America, lies where it always has lie -- lay, in the hands of, we, the people, we, the people.

I was vividly reminded of that truth, on the south lawn of the White House. I believe you were there, both of you, both your senators. On the south lawn of the White House, with our vice president, Kamala Harris. And hearing these words, and I quote, "It took just one generation, from segregation to the Supreme Court of the United States," end of quote. Those are the words of Ketanji Brown Jackson, our Supreme Court Justice. Took just one generation, from segregation, to the Supreme Court of the United States.

As I told folks, at the time, she's smarter than you are. As Dr. King said, give us the ballot, and we will place judges on the bench, who will do justly. And we are. That's the promise of America, where change is hard, but necessary.

Excuse me. Progress is never easy, but it's always possible, and the things do get better on our march toward a more perfect union. But at this inflection point, we know there's a lot of work that has to continue on economic justice, civil rights, voting rights, and protecting our democracy, and I'm remembering that our job is to redeem the soul of America.

Look, I get accused of being an inveterate optimist. I called that the Irish of it. We're never on top, always stepped on, but we are optimistic, like Dr. King was optimistic. Folks, as I said, progress is never easy, but redeeming the soul of the country is absolutely essential.


I doubt whether any of us would have thought, even in Dr. King's time, that literally, the institutional structures of this country might collapse, like you're seeing in Brazil, and we're seeing in other parts of the world.

Folks, I'll close with this, with a blessing, I see today. In the Oval Office, and many of you been there, been there in my office, you get to set it up the way you want within reason. As I sit at my desk --


BIDEN: As I sit at my desk, and look at the fireplace, just to the left, is the bust of Dr. King. It's there in that spot on purpose, because he was my inspiration as a kid. He does know where we should go. I ran for three reasons. I said, I wanted to restore the soul of America, I wanted to rebuild this country from the bottom up in the middle out, and I want it united.

And not far from him, if you look, about 40, 50 degrees to the right, there is another statue, another bust of Rosa Parks. People ask me, "Why?" I say, and I put in my words, she just say, "I've had enough. I've had enough."

Folks, I often think of the question that Dr. King asked us, all those years ago. I think is important you all remember it, I think this is important, the nation remember it. He said, "Where do we go from here?" That's a quote. "Where do we go from here?" Well, my message to the nation, on this day, is we go forward, we go together.

When we choose democracy over autocracy, a beloved community over chaos, when we choose believers in the dreams, to be doers, to be unafraid, always keeping the faith. Every time I walk out of my Irish Catholic grandfather's home up in Scranton, Pennsylvania, his name was Ambrose Finnegan, and he'd yell, "Joey, keep the faith." And my grandmother, "No Joey. Spread it. Spread the faith."

Now, I'm serious. This is a Catholic Rosary I have on my wrist. One of my son had on the day -- night he was dying. The point is, there's hope, there's always hope. We have to believe. And ladies and gentlemen, that was Dr. King's path, in my view. The path to keeping the faith, and it must be our path. Folks, for God's sake, this is the United States of America, the United States. There's nothing beyond our capacity, nothing beyond our capacity, if we set our mind to it. And ladies and gentlemen, we're a land of dreamers and a land of doers. Nothing's beyond our capacity.

In the Gospel song, that Dr. King loved, as I understand, well, he always told he did. We've come too far, from where we started. Nobody told me that the road would be easy. I don't believe he brought me this far to leave me. He did not bring me this far to leave me.

My fellow Americans, I don't think the Lord brought us as far to leave us. I really don't. My word, to lead my fellow Americans, God bless Dr. Martin Luther King and his family, and based on his -- one of his favorite hymns, "Precious Lord, take my hand, through the storm, through the night, and lead me onto the light."

May God bless you all, and let's go find the light. We can do this. I mean it.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: You've been listening to President Biden delivering a sermon at Atlanta's Ebenezer Baptist Church where the late Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was once pastor. You just saw him say hello to Raphael Warnock, the Reverend and Senator.

I'm Jake Tapper in Washington. This is State of the union live this morning. President Biden focused on voting rights and American democracy and advanced of tomorrow's MLK Day, though, of course here in Washington, he had a difficult week. He's now facing a special counsel investigation over the mishandling of classified government documents.

My panel is here with me, though, to focus briefly now on what we just heard from President Biden from that special pulpit on this special weekend. Karen, let's start with you. This would have been Martin Luther King Jr.'s 94th birthday, had he not been assassinated, what did you make of President Biden's address?

KAREN FINNEY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It was incredibly powerful and meaningful, particularly because he talked about this inflection point. And this is something, all right, this midterm election was just about in terms of democracy. And as he talked about when he ran for president, the soul of the nation and this idea that we need to find a way forward when it comes to voting rights, when it comes to being more unified.

So I thought he did a beautiful job of both staying on script, but staying in the moment and staying in the meaning of what it is to be at Ebenezer Baptist Church, which is really the heart and soul of the civil rights movement.

TAPPER: And Ashley, President Biden is the first sitting U.S. President to ever speak at a Sunday service -- that's an important distinction -- at Sunday service at Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Senator Warnock is the pastor, what did you make of it all?

ASHLEY ALLISON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, I mean, if you know anything about Black culture, the church is one of its pillars. And for a black preacher, at any church to give up their pulpit on a Sunday means a lot. There is a lot of history that goes into the community of having a safe space to come when you've had a rough week as a person of faith and commune with your fellow parishioners. And so, I thought it was a great opportunity for the President to remind us why he ran.

He talks about restoring, rebuilding and uniting. And it's almost a reset. We've just come off a really tough midterm. Senator Warnock was the victor of one of those midterm races. And it's a reminder of like where we need to go as a country. And despite all the nonsense happening in Washington, D.C., people sitting in that church and the people sitting in a synagogue or a mosque, wants to restore, unite and rebuild, I think.

TAPPER: And we all learn something -- why don't we speak for everybody, I learned something --

ALLISON: I learned too.

TAPPER: -- when President Biden referred to the bust of Rosa Parks in the Oval Office. I haven't been in the Oval Office since he became president. And he did, in fact, add a bust of Rosa Parks along there -- along with one of Harry Truman, Robert Kennedy, Cesar Chavez, and I think I'm forgetting somebody else.


TAPPER: And MLK, of course.


TAPPER: And MLK. Of course. Scott, as a Republican, what was your response to the speech?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Amazing venue, incredibly important day for a president to be there and a great opportunity for him. I was a little underwhelmed by it, I thought it was a lot of platitudes sort of strung together.

However, in his defense, he did not claim to have been arrested at any civil rights marches, which he has repeatedly done, including at this very speech last year. He didn't call his political opponents, Jefferson Davis and Bull Connor, which he did at this speech last year. So to your point, on script, step in the right direction.

FINNEY: Well, just to be clear, though, last year, it was not on the church service, on the Sunday service, it was at the MLK. It was a -- just because we wanted to be clear --

TAPPER: Because -- yes.

FINNEY: -- this is unique.

TAPPER: And this was the less partisan event is what --


FINNEY: Yes, yes.

TAPPER: -- I think you're saying.

FINNEY: Yes, absolutely. I mean, last year, that was more about. I mean, we were leading into a midterm election and voting rights, one of the top issues. I mean, I can say, you know, this is the other I think significance of this. I mean, during the election, top issue for African Americans concerns about racism, concern -- and the impact on people's lives, concerns about voting rights, actually topped economic concerns.

And so for the President to come to this hallowed hall, hallowed of civil rights and black culture as you were just saying, actually, that is very meaningful to the black community. And I hope, again, as you said, for everyone to hear a president come and talk about unity, I think it's also a reminder, you pointed out in the opening, he had a rough week.

It's a reminder that presidents do still have the opportunity to use the bully pulpit --


FINNEY: -- to use their speech, to refocus on, to try to refocus on the bigger issues of the day.

TAPPER: And he does have a big decision to make about whether or not to run for re-election.


TAPPER: We think he is leaning that way.

JENNINGS: It looks like he's going to run and this is a great question for both parties is are they going to listen to the American people who are desperate to not have a rematch --

TAPPER: Right.

JENNINGS: -- of 2020. Democrats, Republicans, Independents across the board. Nobody wants this but it appears that he is moving in the direction of running. And Trump at least is going to have a challenge from somebody in the Republican Party.


I have long believed, if one of these parties goes new and one of them goes old, whoever it is, new is going to have a huge advantage. And so if they go by it and we go DeSantis or some other new route, I think the Republicans will have an advantage. ALLISON: You know, can I just say, last year, on MLK Day, I had the privilege of spending it with one of his sons. And --

TAPPER: One of Martin Luther King Jr.'s sons?

ALLISON: Yes, yes. And the family, and we were at a rally on at Union Station fighting for voting rights. And the family said, I don't need you to celebrate unless you've legislate. And it was very clear that they wanted that holiday last year, and probably this year to be about voting rights.

So I do think, you know, often in Washington, D.C. when a piece of legislation isn't passed, politicians turn the page and say that's A dead weight, I don't want to put that loss on my record. I appreciate President Biden showing up again and saying we aren't giving up on this issue. Yes, Dems won, but voter suppression is still a real issue.

Georgia is one of the epicenters of voter suppression historically, and in present day. So I think it was also a policy speech, even though he didn't get in the specifics of filibuster and all of that.


ALLISON: But it was honestly honoring the King family's wish to to talk about that issue today.


FINNEY: So it's such an important point. I mean, earlier this week, there was a story about a Wisconsin Republican official who was bragging about Susan, the Bulwark, bragging about having decreased Black and Latino turnout. So we know it's still very much an issue, it's very much an issue on people's minds.

The other thing I'll just remind us about the King holiday is that it was a struggle to get it to become a holiday.


FINNEY: You know, that is something that King family also wants us to remember that we move forward through struggle. And that's how we got this holiday.

TAPPER: And Ashley, also, let me say we need to acknowledge this has not been Joe Biden's favorite week as President of the United States, with all of these classified documents being found in various locations in his private offices at the Penn Biden Center here in DC, in his garage outside Wilmington, in another room, that's got to factor into his decision. The fact that, you know, this is a big -- the significant bump in the road for him.

ALLISON: Sure. I mean, I think it is an issue that the administration wishes probably didn't happen at all, but here we are. And I think the most important thing is that you handle it properly. I think they should search all of his properties, ensure that there's no more classified documents, if there are more found that they turn them over to the Archives and turn them over to the DOJ, be transparent.

I don't think it is a determining factor of whether or not he's going to run or not, but it's not the thing you want, leading into MLK weekend. I think that's fair to say. But I think you can overcome it.

TAPPER: Do you think it defangs the Trump --


TAPPER: -- classified documents investigation?

JENNINGS: Yes, for all the differences. You can sit and list about it just as a political debating point. It totally neutralizes it. How are you going to go after one person for having documents and not the other. I do think it was right to appoint a special counsel. But I also get the feeling that there are a lot of people around Biden who don't exactly know what's going to happen next year.

I mean, every day they send the White House press secretary out and she says, oh, it was a complete and thorough search. We've been totally transparent. And then the next day, something else happens. It just -- you get the feeling that no one quite knows what's going to happen next. And then you add on Biden's statements on top of it attacking Trump last year over this, how could someone be so irresponsible, he said.


JENNINGS: Yes, indeed, how could someone.

FINNEY: Well, there are material differences. I would just argue between the two, those matter, I think continuing to make that case. And I actually think that it's possible that this makes it easier actually, because remember with Trump, it's not just the Mar-a-Lago documents. There are multiple lawsuits, he is -- there are multiple fronts on which he's in real trouble.

TAPPER: Yes. All right, we're going to get into the probe of Biden's classified documents and how this compares to former President Trump's investigation with the new chairman of the House Oversight and Accountability Committee Congressman James Comer from the great state of -- great Commonwealth of Kentucky joins me next. And what would happen if America breaches its debt ceiling? We may be about to find out. Stay with us.



TAPPER: Welcome back to State of the Union on Saturday. The White House said five more pages of classified material had been discovered at President Biden's home in Greenville, Delaware, a suburb of Wilmington Thursday night and immediately turned over to the Justice Department which had just launched a special counsel investigation earlier that day. This brings the total to approximately 20 classified records found there and in Biden's private office in Washington. Now House Republicans who downplayed the much bigger trove of more than 300 classified documents found at Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort and the yearlong effort by the federal government to recover them. Those House Republicans are making clear that now they want in on the investigation of Joe Biden.

Joining me now to discuss, the incoming chairman of the House Oversight and Accountability Committee, Republican James Comer of Kentucky. Mr. Chairman, thanks for joining us. Let's start on the news yesterday that five additional pages of classified documents were found at President Biden's residence in that Wilmington suburb in a room adjacent to the garage. What's your reaction to this latest development?

REP. JAMES COMER (R), CHAIRMAN, OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE: Well, my concern is that the special counsel was called for but yet hours after that, we still had the President's personal attorneys who have no security clearance, still rummaging around the President's residence, looking for things. I mean, that would essentially be a crime scene, so to speak, after the appointment of a special counsel.

So, you know, we have a lot of questions for the National Archives. We have a lot of questions for the Department of Justice, and hopefully, we'll be getting some answers very soon.


TAPPER: So you just -- just this morning, you have a new letter to the White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain, demanding more information about these classified documents. What more do you want to know?

COMER: We want to know the visitor logs to the residence, we want to know who had access to the Biden's center for diplomacy because this is the same type of investigation that the Democrats were so outraged and launched and demanded happened to President Trump.

What we see with President Biden is there are multiple locations, we would never have known about the possession of the classified documents where it not for investigative reporting by CBS that somehow got a leak to determine that this had happened prior to the election.

So, the administration hasn't been transparent about what's going on with President Biden's possession of classified documents. And we just want equal treatment here with respect to how both former President Trump and current President Biden are being treated with the document issue.

TAPPER: I'll get to Trump in a second, but I just want to be clear here. Are you accusing President Biden or anyone on his team of breaking the law?

COMER: Well, we don't know exactly yet whether they broke the law or not. I will accuse the Biden administration of not being transparent. Why didn't we hear about this on November 2nd, when the first batch of classified documents were discovered? Remember, they were quick to call for special counsel prior to the midterm elections. And Joe Biden used as his closing argument during the midterm elections that Republicans were a threat to democracy. And he cited the fact that President Trump mishandled the documents. While he was doing this, he knew very well that he himself had possession of classified documents.

So the hypocrisy here is great. We're very concerned about a lack of transparency. We're very concerned, as I've said many times about a two-tiered system of justice in America, and we just want equal treatment. And hopefully we'll get some answers very soon.

TAPPER: So just to give the answer that the Trump lawyers gave, because I have also been asking, why did it take so long for them to disclose this, given the fact that Biden attorneys, rather, I said, Biden -- I said Trump, I meant Biden, that Biden attorneys discovered this November 2nd, I think, and we didn't find out about until January.

And the explanation from Biden's attorneys are, they -- there's a balance here between wanting to disclose and also not wanting to impede any Department of Justice investigation, because when you announce it, then you are getting potentially in the way of investigators when it comes to witnesses and such. That's what they say.

COMER: Hard to believe. I would consider that the fact that it was right before midterm election, a very important midterm election that was close, that was going to determine the balance of power in Congress. The fact that they had -- they were quick to call for special counsel with Trump, you know, it seems political here. It seems hypocritical. It seems like a double standard. And that's our concern.

I have jurisdiction as chairman of the House Oversight Committee over the National Archives. This is the agency that I'm most frustrated with, to be honest with you, Jake, because they have not been transparent at all. They should be briefing both myself and now Ranking Member Raskin who will be your next guest on the show about what's going on here.

They never did tell us about November 2nd. We've asked questions about what went on with Mar-a-Lago. Why was Mar Lago raided, but the President's home not? Why are the President's lawyers still allowed to go rummage through looking for documents after a special counsels has been appointed?


COMER: It doesn't make sense. It's not fair. We just want equal treatment.

TAPPER: So, let's go there because you're talking about the Trump documents. Former President Trump is under an investigation for his own classified documents. They're about 20 in the case of Biden. For Trump, they're about -- there are more than 300 classified documents at Mar-a-Lago. A big difference here. Just on the facts. Trump did not fully comply with the subpoena. His lawyers falsely told investigators that they turned everything in.

Take a listen to what you told CNN about this situation last November.


COMER: I don't know much about that. That's not something that -- we've requested information just to see what was going on because I don't know what documents were at Mar-a-Lago. So, you know, that's something we're just waiting to see, what comes out on that.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: But is it fair to say that investigation won't be a priority?

COMER: That will not be a priority.


TAPPER: So what do you say to viewers who don't understand why President Biden's documents seem like a big priority for you? But President Trump, who took hundreds more documents, did not comply with the subpoena, did not reach out to the National Archives or the Justice Department to say, hey, we found these documents. It's not a priority. Do you only care about classified documents being mishandled when Democrats do the mishandling?


COMER: Absolutely not. Look, we still don't know what type of documents President Trump had. That's one of the questions we've asked National Archives. Just because Joe Biden's lawyer should they turned over five documents doesn't mean they just turned over five documents. They could have turned over 500 documents.

I'm sorry, but I don't have a lot of confidence in President Biden's personal lawyers. At the end of the day, the National Archives implied to us at former Chairman Maloney's request, and told us that the National Archives was working with the Trump administration during the transition. That's the last communication we had with whether or not the archives had worked with Trump on removal of all the documents from the White House.

So we don't know exactly what Trump has versus what Biden has. At the end of the day, my biggest concern isn't the classified documents, to be honest with you. My concern is how there's such a discrepancy in how former President Trump was treated by raiding Mar-a-Lago, by getting the security cameras, by taking pictures of documents on the floor, by going through Melania's closet versus Joe Biden.

Or like, OK, your personal lawyers who don't have security clearance, you know, they can go through, they can just keep --


COMER: -- looking and keep looking and, you know, determine whatever's there. That's not equal treatment and we're very concerned. And there's a lack of trust here --

TAPPER: Right.

COMER: -- at the Department of Justice by House Republicans. That's the outrage.

TAPPER: So I get that, but there's a big difference in how President Biden and his team reacted and how President Trump and his team reacted. The FBI searched Mar-a-Lago, because Trump for more than a year refused to turn over documents to the National Archives and the Justice Department which was trying to get them back into secure hands.

Trump and his lawyers lied about it. Trump lied about not having classified documents, did not keep them in a secure location, did not comply with a subpoena, but said he had and that that search warrant which Trump forced out into the open through his legal machinations, that cited laws that Trump might have violate, including the Espionage Act.

COMER: It's my understanding that President Trump did let the National Archives go through on numerous occasions Mar-a-Lago looking at the documents. What my understanding is -- and again, we don't know because we haven't been briefed -- was that President Trump was arguing with National Archives over what is classified and what is not.

As we've heard the President say before, the President has the authority to declassify documents. Now the question is whether or not the President actually declassified the documents, the Vice President does not have the authority to declassify --

TAPPER: Actually, the Vice President does have the --

COMER: So, you know, there's a big difference here.

TAPPER: The Vice President does -- I'm not saying -- the Vice President does have that authority though.

COMER: We disagree that the Vice President does.

TAPPER: Just to put -- first of all, you're asking for the visitors logs at President Biden's Greenville, outside Wilmington, Delaware home. Are you also asking for the visitor logs at Mar-a-Lago? Because the issue of whether or not sources and methods are compromised, whether or not any of these documents gotten into the wrong hands, whether or not Biden or Trump allowed documents to be kept in a haphazard way, that exists period. And I'm wondering why the request for visitor logs in Greenville but not in Mar-a-Lago?

COMER: Well, we're doing the Biden family influence peddling investigation. And I can tell you what we've learned just in the last few days from Biden's mishandling of classified documents is that the Biden center was funded primarily through anonymous donations from China.

TAPPER: Was it the Biden center or University of Pennsylvania? I know the University of Pennsylvania had --

COMER: It was the University of Pennsylvania that funneled it through the Biden center. And then you have the --

TAPPER: The Biden center says they didn't get any money from Chinese anonymous donations. I mean, I get that schools get money from Chinese donations, but -- and there is --

COMER: This is a pattern here. Well, you're --

TAPPER: Where is the --

COMER: What the American people are going to see from our investigation is a pattern of anonymous donations going to 100 business deals, to the Biden center, to the artwork that Hunter sold at that art gallery in New York. There's a pattern here of anonymous sources of money flowing into the Biden's pockets and Biden interest and it's very concerning.

This is a national security risk. That's my biggest concern. And that's why we're pressing forward with this investigation.

TAPPER: So I guess the average American who doesn't really care whether the person you're investigating has a D or an R next to their name, might listen to this interview and think, I don't have any problem with anything he's investigating when it comes to Biden, but how come he's not investigating all the same stuff when it comes to Trump?

I mean, there are questions about influence peddling when it comes to the Trump family. There's questions about visitor logs when it comes to Mar-a-Lago. I mean, if you are going to be doing the Oversight and Accountability Committee, which you've renamed for the Americans people not just for Republicans, it would seem to me that all of it should be investigated.


COMER: And I think the influence peddling with respect to the Trump administration will be a part of our overall investigation because both Democrats and Republicans have complained about this with the previous two administrations. So something needs to be done.

Also, something needs to be done with respect to how classified documents leave the White House and go to the post-presidency or post- Vice President. That's another issue we try to -- we will try to fix from a legislative point of view. But with respect to investigating President Trump, there have been so many investigations of President Trump.

I don't feel like we need to spend a whole lot of time investigating President Trump because the Democrats have done that for the past six years. So no one's been investigated more than Donald Trump, who hasn't been investigated Joe Biden. And that's why we're finally launching an investigation of Joe Biden, the House Oversight Committee, one investigation, and I hope to have it wrapped up as soon as possible.

TAPPER: All right. Let's move on to another issue, because Treasury Secretary Yellen said just a few days ago that the U.S. will formally hit the debt limit next week and could default on its debt as soon as June. We've just learned that House Republicans are working on a plan to direct the Treasury Department to keep funding bare bones necessities, such as interest payments and the military.

If Republicans in the House refuse to raise the debt limit, and the country cannot pay its bills in June, you know how potentially destructive to the American economy it could be if we default, or any of these measures really. And I get you want to have spending cuts, too. But why aren't Republicans working with Senate Democrats to bring down spending to avoid this disaster instead of planning for the best way to manage the disaster?

COMER: Well, we hope that this is avoided, we hope that the Senate Democrats and Republicans will agree to spending cuts. Look, this has to stop. We cannot continue to operate with these types of deficits. Our national debt is one of our biggest threats to our national security.

China continues to have leverage over us because of the basic financial strength of their overall economy versus ours with respect to the national debt. So Republicans were elected with a mandate from the American people in the midterm elections. We campaigned on the fact that we were going to be serious about spending cuts. So the Senate is going to have to recognize the fact that we're not going to budge until we see meaningful reform with respect to spending.

TAPPER: We keep learning things that Speaker McCarthy apparently agreed to during the speaker fight last week, the side deals with members of the insurgent group, the rebels, this revelation about the debt ceiling just came out. Also, we just learned from Congressman Matt Gaetz about a separate agreement to release more footage from January 6.

Do you know what else McCarthy agreed to? And why not just disclose -- why shouldn't he just disclose everything he agreed to? I mean, these are things -- it's not Kevin McCarthy's house, it's the people's house, right? I mean, these things are not his to give, it's the speakership. Why not just, you know, in the interest of being transparent?

COMER: Well, yes, I wasn't a part of the group at 20. I don't know exactly what they were negotiating or not negotiating. But I'll say this, what the American people got to see last week was what really goes on behind closed doors in Washington and in state legislatures. I served in the Kentucky General Assembly for over a decade, the same things happen.

You have arguments, you have, you know, heated debates going back and forth. You have a lot of giving and taking to try to get to a consensus. And it's always hard to get to a consensus with a roomful of politicians. Even our founding fathers had the same type of problem. But this is the first time we had, you know, a lot of cameras and a lot of media. And it was played out in real time.

So, you know, I'm not concerned about any of the concessions that Kevin McCarthy made, because at the end of the day, the majority of our Republican conference are serious about spending cuts. And we recognize that our national debt is one of the biggest threats to our -- the future of our democracy. So we have to focus on making spending cuts, we have to live within our means, and that battle starts today.

TAPPER: Last question for you, sir. Seven of your fellow House Republicans have called for Congressman George Santos to step down. Former House Speaker Paul Ryan told me a couple days ago that Santos was a fraudulent candidacy and he should step down. Should he?

COMER: Look, he a bad guy. This is something that, you know, it's really bad. He's not the first politician, unfortunately, to make it to Congress to lie. You know, Elizabeth Warren wasn't truthful about her ethnicity. And I could go on and on.

But look, George Santos was duly elected by the people. He's going to be under strict ethics investigation, not necessarily for lying, but for his campaign finance, potential violation. So I think that Santos is being examined thoroughly.


It's his decision whether or not he should resign. It's not my decision, but certainly I don't approve of how he made his way to Congress. And I haven't even introduced myself to him because, you know, it's pretty despicable the lies that he tell.

But at the end of the day, it's not up to me or any other member of Congress to determine whether he could be kicked out for lying. And now if he broke campaign finance laws, then he will be removed from Congress.

TAPPER: Chairman Comer, thank you so much for being with us today. Really appreciate your time.

COMER: Thanks for having me.

TAPPER: What is House Democrats strategy on the new GOP investigations? The top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, Congressman Jamie Raskin joins us to respond next.


TAPPER: Welcome back the State of the Union, I'm Jake Tapper. This week, it was Democrats facing questions about the drip, drip, drip news of classified documents disclosures by the current White House. But now in the House, Democrats are in the minority and they've been forced to sit back and watch As Republican investigations move forward whether Democrats like it or not.

Joining us now, the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, Maryland Congressman Jamie Raskin. Congressman Raskin, we have a lot to cover. But first, of course, this is the first time I've spoken to you since you announced that you've been diagnosed with a form of lymphoma which you called serious but curable. I know the chemo has started. How are you feeling? How's your prognosis?

REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D), MARYLAND, HOUSE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE: Well, thank you for asking me, Jake.