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State of the Union
California Mass Shooting Live Press Conference; Interview With Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX); Interview With Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL); Interview With Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV); Interview With Fmr. Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-NY). Aired 12-1p ET
Aired January 22, 2023 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHIEF SCOTT WIESE, MONTEREY PARK POLICE: The business is --
UNKNOWN: Into the microphone please.
SHERIFF ROBERT G. LUNA, LOS ANGELES COUNTY: Well --
UNKNOWN: If he's going to say something .
LUNA: Yes. Can we pause on that, on the name of the business just out of respect for the business owners and the victims and survivors? And then we'll work on you as soon as we can get that out. And I heard the question over here to my right about caliber.
UNKNOWN: The caliber of the weapon you recovered, were the (ph) rounds consistent with the weapon you recovered (inaudible)?
LUNA: That's still -- we're still looking at that, and I would prefer not to put the caliber out at this second just because it's going to -- it may hinder what we're trying to do. And again, remember our priority is we got to get this guy in custody, and that's exactly what we plan to do.
UNKNOWN: (Inaudible) can you describe what happened (inaudible) location, how witnesses, people stopped the suspect (ph)?
LUNA: Not in detail at this time, other than what I described earlier that this suspect walked in armed and he was disarmed by a couple of individuals. So that's --
UNKNOWN: So you are -- you are telling people that it is safe to attend Chinese New Year events in this area?
LUNA: Yes. Yes. And if that changes for any reason, we will immediately notify like our community through all of you.
UNKNOWN: At this point, can you say anything about the weapon that was found and the (inaudible). Was that a long rifle? Was that an AR? What was that?
LUNA: It was not an assault rifle. Thank you. UNKNOWN: Sheriff, I was in the events yesterday. There was thousands of people. I wonder if there's any safety measures in place before that happened, and, you know, like the screening of the weapon, what were we doing before that happened?
WIESE: Are you speaking about the Lunar New Year event?
WIESE: Were you -- were you there yesterday?
UNKNOWN: Yes, I was.
WIESE: So thousands of people, and I had dozens of officers present. I had officers walking around in plain clothes. I had officers in uniform. I had tactical officers walking around with long guns. I had drones overhead. I had the perimeter locked down with barriers. We did not screen people for weapons. There was probably over 100,000 people present, so it's impossible to screen to everybody for weapons.
Yesterday was a safe event primarily because of the diligence of my officers that were present there. I can't speak about the event or the crime occurred. It's a separate incident. It has no relation to the Chinese New Year event earlier in the day.
UNKNOWN: Thank you.
UNKNOWN: When can we expect the next update?
UNKNOWN: We'll do a next update in a couple of hours hopefully.
UNKNOWN: Same location (ph)?
UNKNOWN: Hopefully, yes, same location. Thank you very much. (SPEAKING SPANISH).
DANA BASH, CNN ANCHOR: Hello. I'm Dana Bash in Washington where the state of our union is horrified again. We begin with breaking news. What you just saw and heard there, officials in Monterey Park, California talking about a gunman still at large after a mass shooting at a dance hall Saturday night. That mass shooter killed at least 10 people, five men, five women, and injured at least 10 more.
Now the sheriff just now said that the suspect is being described at this point as an Asian male. The shooting came during a Lunar New Year celebration very close to where festival goers had gathered earlier that evening.
I want to bring in our law enforcement analysts, and starting with Juliette. Juliette Kayyem, I want to start with you. What was your takeaway from what we heard? A lot we still don't know.
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Yes. So and there's a reason why we still don't know a lot and we understand that is because the suspect is still at large and he may be watching. So he -- we don't tell him what we know if you're law enforcement and you try to catch him.
So here's your -- I've listened to a lot of these, been a part of a lot of these, so here's the big takeaways. The telling the community that they believe it's an Asian male at least on first eye witness reports says two things.
One is, of course, it's going to focus on who that Asian male is, so now we have at least a race or an identity, ethnicity of who that is, but it also is consistent with some of the other language of that press conference, which is other lunar events. They do not -- other Lunar New Year events, they do not anticipate need to be cancelled, need to be changed because of this, and this was -- this goes to what we were talking about before, which is whatever the motivation of the perpetrator is, the community is feeling it as hate, right? It is just hate even if the -- if the perpetrator knew the victims or this was related to some background relationship.
The second thing I will say at this stage is in terms of the national response. I'm going to be honest here. It's weird to feel relief when you hear it may not be a hate crime because 10 people are still dead, and that becomes our baseline, right? I mean, in other words as if it'd be more interesting or newsworthy if it was just 10 -- if it was just 10 dead because of a hate motivation. We still have 10 people dead in a very short period of time because of an assault rifle and 10 more who are victims in a hospital.
And for viewers, let's not -- let's not lower the floor so much --
KAYYEM: -- that this ends up being a few -- you know, oh few moments because it wasn't based on hate.
BASH: And Andrew McCabe as a former Deputy FBI Director, you heard your former colleague there with the FBI being asked about the question of it being a hate crime and his answer was basically, well, it depends. Certainly there is a definition -- a federal definition of a hate crime which is very important, but this person who went into this area and killed these people, injured these people had hate.
ANDREW MCCABE, FORMER DEPUTY FBI DIRECTOR: Well certainly, right? There's a -- there's a level of homicidal motivation, homicidal intent. However, we ultimately think about this offender and the acts that he committed. And putting hate crime statutes aside just for a minute, if this person is taken into custody, and I certainly believe they will be eventually and prosecuted, looking at least 10 counts of murder, so this is an incredibly significant and horrific crime no matter how it plays out.
But I do think it's important certainly for the investigators. I'm confident they're doing this. They're keeping all options all open. They're trying to think as broadly and inclusively about this act as they can. If they don't do that, they run the risk of missing crucial connections and clues that could lead them to this person, but I think it's important for our viewers and for the public at large to try to keep their minds open to the different possibilities that might unfold here.
I thought the comments from the sheriff about the second event were really fascinating. So we know they have a weapon in custody from that event. Doesn't sound like it was fired there, but that could certainly with ballistic analysis connect -- could connect that person and that gun to the prior murders in Monterey Park. I'm sure they're working those angles right now, but that's a -- that's probably the most significant investigative development that we've heard so far.
BASH: And Juliette, as a former Homeland Security official, what does it tell you that this individual is still at large and yet you have local officials saying it is now safe for the community to continue with the Lunar New Year celebrations?
KAYYEM: They have every reason to believe that this particular individual is not part of a larger network at this stage that would target the Lunar New Year events. That's good news. That's good news for the community and for the nation, in fact. That's how I interpreted what they were saying.
Hate clearly motivates someone in a situation like this. It's just where is that hate coming from, and this is what Andrew was just talking about. And that is going to be relevant for the Homeland Security perspective.
You've got the law enforcement side. You want to keep all option open, and then you have this sort of Homeland Security, community engagement, Asian American, API community that also is feeling this in a way in which they want to hear information, they want to hear that their communities are safe, they want to work with law enforcement. And I think you saw a lot of that in this press conference just now as well that even if they know who it is and they know what the motivation is, they still are reaching out to the community because the community has been devastated by this. I mean, all Americans are, but this community in particular given the event of the Lunar New Year events.
BASH: Yes. No question about it. Well we still have a lot to learn as you both mentioned intentionally so because they don't want to tip off this suspect who is at large on anything that they do know that might help them catch him.
Thank you both so much for your incredible insights. We are sorry to have to keep turning to you on events like this. Thank you again.
And up next, a huge political story today. An FBI search of President Biden's Wilmington home turned up more classified documents. Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin joins me next.
BASH: Welcome back to State of the Union. The White House crisis surrounding classified documents found at President Biden's home and former office deepened this weekend when Biden's lawyer announced the FBI discovered additional classified materials during a 13 hour search of the president's Wilmington home on Friday.
The president's personal attorney, Bob Bauer, said the justice department took possession of six items including some from Biden's time in the Senate, as well as personally handwritten notes from Biden's vice presidential years.
I want to talk to the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee in the United States Senate, Dick Durbin.
And, Senator, of course, I want to talk about all of that, but let's just go back to where we started this program, which is what we are looking at in California.
We are waiting for law enforcement to give us an update, but we have -- do have some facts. And one of those is that 10 people, at least, are dead, another 10 injured in Monterey Park, California. And we know that this was during a lunar new year celebration, not much more.
What is your reaction?
SEN. RICHARD DURBIN (D-IL): Well, the same celebrations are taking place here in Chicago and across the United States.
I'm very concerned for our Asian population. And I hope that we learn more quickly. I hope this is not a hate crime against Asian Americans. There have been far too many of those in the recent past.
But we're dealing with the tragedy of mass shootings, which is a -- sadly, a uniquely American experience. It happens over and over and over again, hundreds of times last year, including the shooting at a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Illinois, a terrible event, taking the lives of innocent people and children and causing great damage and injury.
I would just say, there's a lot we should do as a nation to make it safer for everyone. And one of the first things is to make gun safety a higher priority. The Supreme Court has taken a position identifying what they think is a constitutional right, which is beyond the realm of reality, in my estimation.
We are dealing with capacity -- high-capacity magazine, as may -- might have been the case in California. And we're dealing with weapons which belong in military arsenals, not in the homes of individuals. So this is an issue which we will address and should address in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
BASH: And we should note we only know that there was a firearm used. We don't know what kind, but, hopefully, we will know more.
And, Senator, I just should say sorry in advance if I have to interrupt you to go to that press conference. But we will go back. And, while we are waiting, I want to turn to the new classified
documents that the FBI found at the president's house in Delaware. It was a 13-hour search. That happened on Friday. It's just the latest revelation of the president having classified items that he shouldn't have.
You have been in Congress for 40 years. You have handled classified material for a lot of those years, probably most of them. How concerned are you about this?
DURBIN: Well, I'm concerned.
There's a standard that we follow when it comes to members of Congress and classified information. The door to my office is closed. The person who presents the document to me takes it out of a locked briefcase, hands it to me and watches as I read it, when I finish reading it, and he takes it back and puts it in the briefcase and leaves the scene.
I mean, that's how carefully we review these documents. To think that any of them ended up in boxes in storage one place or the other is just unacceptable.
But, having said that, let me make this point clear. Joe Biden has said from the start: We are going to be totally transparent about this. Let the chips fall where they may. I'm going to open my home voluntarily to a search, not the first search, I'm sure, of his offices and home.
He has shown total cooperation in this effort. That is a sharp contrast to President Trump.
BASH: Well, I want to -- speaking of former President Trump, I want to play something that you said last year about the classified documents found at his Mar-a-Lago resort.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DURBIN: It's an outrage. It's a literal outrage. For the president to take this important information down to his home in Florida, and then store it in a closet with traffic, people back and forth in his resort and golf course, is an outrage.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: Is it also an outrage for the current president to have what appears to be multiple classified documents in multiple locations?
DURBIN: At its heart, the issue is the same. Those documents should not have been in the personal possession of either Joe Biden or Donald Trump.
But what happened and followed from it is significantly different. Donald Trump defied those who knew the documents were in place and ultimately led to, involuntarily, a court order and a search of his Mar-a-Lago hotel resort to find out how many documents were there. Contrast that with Joe Biden. Embarrassed by the situation, as he
should have been, he invited the government agencies in to carefully look through all the boxes he had accumulated. It's a much different approach.
It is outrageous that either occurred. But the reaction by the former president and the current president could not be in sharper contrast.
BASH: They are. They're very different, no question about that.
Having said that, you are a politician. You have been around for a while, and you understand how these things play out. Do you fear that, because of that, the current president has kind of lost the high ground on this notion of classified information being where it shouldn't be?
DURBIN: Well, of course. Let's be honest about it.
When that information is found, it diminishes the stature of any person who is in possession of it, because it's not supposed to happen. Whether it was the fault of a staffer or attorney, it makes no difference.
The elected official bears ultimate responsibility. And we have to worry, since this new group that has taken over control of the House of Representatives has promised us endless investigations, confrontations, impeachments and chaos, what is going to happen.
I only have one word for those who are dubious as to whether that will happen, and the word is Benghazi. How long did we spend going through Benghazi hearings in the Republican-controlled House in the past? Now imagine the MAGA Republicans and what they're setting out to do. I'm sure that they are going to have investigations to our heart's delight.
BASH: I want to turn to the debt ceiling, sir.
The White House insists they are not going to negotiate with Republicans who are demanding spending cuts in exchange for raising the debt limit, so America doesn't default on its debt. Do you think the president should negotiate?
DURBIN: No, absolutely not.
Let's get to the bottom line here. Those who are posing for holy pictures as budget balances, the MAGA Republicans, should note one important fact. Almost 25 percent of all of the national debt accumulated over the history of the United States, 230 years, was accumulated during the four years of Donald Trump.
So, the notion that there is some partisan holy position that they're taking and that they're going to fight this battle of the matter of principle, when they enacted tax cuts for the wealthiest people of America during the Trump administration, they added dramatically to the national debt which we are now facing.
Having done that, they need to face the responsibility of paying for it. That is what the debt limit is about. And if we play games with this, if we delay this, if we have short-term extensions of the national debt, we run the very risk of a recession in this economy, millions of Americans out of work and interest rates going even higher, denying people an opportunity to buy a home or a car. And this economy will be stalled.
We shouldn't play games with the national debt.
BASH: When Joe Biden was vice president, I'm sure you remember, back in 2011, he was the lead negotiator on negotiations for spending cuts in exchange for raising the debt ceiling.
But you think -- you're saying you think it's different because of what happened during the Trump years?
DURBIN: I think it's different, not just because of the Trump years being the origin of much of this debt, but by the new House of Representatives, 15 ballots, Dana. You were there. You saw it, or at least witnessed it on television, 15 ballots to choose the speaker.
And he gave the authority to each member of the House to initiate a vote of no confidence on a daily basis. I mean, this is a House of Representatives which is under control of the MAGA Republicans at this point. And I'm fearful that very few constructive things will emerge.
BASH: Before I let you go. I have to ask about the Supreme Court. You are, of course, Senate Judiciary chairman.
You saw what happened at the court. They announced this week that they were unable to determine who leaked the draft decision overturning Roe vs. Wade last year. Clerks had -- and employees had to sign a sworn affidavit saying that they didn't leak the draft opinion.
The justices -- neither the justices nor their spouses actually had to sign affidavits. So, do you believe that that was a mistake? Should they have to do so to figure out where the leak comes -- came from?
DURBIN: Listen, the universe of people who are suspects in this leak of an opinion of the Supreme Court is really a small universe.
It includes the justices and their families, if they had access to this opinion, which I assume some of them did. They should have gone into the -- at least a position of assertions by each one of the justices as to what they did or did not do when it came to these opinions.
But I find it hard to imagine, with the small group of people who had access to this opinion, they couldn't come up with more information.
BASH: Are you going to try, in your capacity as Judiciary chair?
DURBIN: No, I don't think this is an area where we can go in with any kind of force and make for a changed result at this point. BASH: OK. OK.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin, thank you so much, and, I should say, the Senate whip. Thank you so much for joining me this morning. Appreciate it.
DURBIN: Thanks, Dana.
BASH: My next guest is a Senate Democrat who wants to negotiate on the debt ceiling. Can Joe Manchin make a deal? He will be here next.
Plus: Ukraine pleads for more weapons as Russia gears up for a new push. The chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee will be here.
BASH: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION.
We have been waiting for a press conference on the Monterey Park, California, mass shooting. That press conference is now going to be at 11:00 a.m. Eastern, so be sure to stay with us for that.
Right now, we're going to talk about the nation's fiscal future.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is warning about global economic catastrophe if Congress fails to raise the debt ceiling, but Republicans are demanding negotiations over future spending. And the White House is refusing to negotiate, even as one Senate Democrats says, well, maybe they should.
Here with me now is that Democratic senator, Joe Manchin of West Virginia.
Thank you so much for coming in.
SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): Good to be with you, Dana.
BASH: Thank you.
I do want to ask about that, but very quickly of what we're seeing in California. We don't have a lot of details about the suspect or even what kind of gun he had. But you have been pushing for more than a decade for comprehensive universal background checks.
MANCHIN: Well, just gun sense.
I come from a gun society in West Virginia. I have had guns all my life. And we were taught to be responsible for it. We were taught not to sell it or even loan it to a stranger and all this. And now you're throwing all the -- all the caution is being thrown out the window, if you will.
Gun since has to come back to responsibility we all have. And every state has that responsibility. And I would like to see us look at it in a comprehensive way. But background checks, there's nothing wrong with them. I have had to had a background check every time I bought a gun. And the people that I know have no problem with that whatsoever.
And you don't want the people that are irresponsible or criminals to get it in their hands. So, we don't know what's going on here.
MANCHIN: And my hearts and prayers go out to the families of the victims. It's just awful.
BASH: Let's turn to the debt ceiling.
BASH: The White House says that they want Congress to pass a clean debt ceiling increase, no negotiations with Republicans at all.
Is that a mistake?
MANCHIN: I think it's a mistake, because we have to negotiate.
This is a -- this is a democracy that we have. We have a two-party system, as -- if you will. And we should be able to talk and find out where our differences are. And if they are irreconcilable, then you have to move on from there and let the people make their decisions.
Using the debt ceiling and holding it hostage hasn't worked in the past, OK? And anyone who wants to look at what happened in 2011 and 2013, then go ahead. It didn't work out well. So why...
BASH: So, who is holding it hostage in this...
MANCHIN: Well, the bottom line is saying, first of all, in my state of West Virginia, 60 percent of the people that are retired right now live with Social Security and Medicare.
To scare the bejesus out of them thinking there are going to be -- there are cuts on the line that are going to decimate those two, that's not going to happen. Take that off the board right now and look at ways that we have wasteful spending that we can be held accountable and responsible.
Set a target. Do something. In the states -- and most states have balanced budget amendments. Every week, when I was governor, we had to sit down and agree upon adjustments to cuts, so we ended the fiscal year in a balance or a surplus. That doesn't happen.
BASH: So... MANCHIN: There's no checks and balances.
BASH: So it sounds like you would be OK with some cuts in spending in exchange for...
MANCHIN: So, I think that, basically, it's wasteful spending. Everybody believes -- I mean, my goodness, when you have $31.4 trillion, and we have thrown caution to the wind, and to blame the Republicans, Republicans to blame the Democrats, who's at fault?
Everybody's at fault. We don't have a process. I have been there 12 years, no budget.
BASH: So, just to be clear, you think that the White House should come to the table and talk to Republicans about some cuts in spending in exchange for raising the debt ceiling?
MANCHIN: Well, I think, at that time, Vice President Joe Biden did exactly that.
BASH: But you just heard Dick Durbin, the number two Senate Democrat, saying times are different now, they should be.
MANCHIN: I don't -- we just respectfully disagree.
And the only thing about it is, every American has to live within a budget. If they don't, they're in trouble financially. Every business that is successful has to live within a budget. Every state has to live within a budget. Shouldn't the federal government have some guardrails that say, hey, guys, you're getting over -- you're overreaching here and you're overspending?
But then pick your priorities. That's all. The priorities is the security of our country, opportunities for people and taking care of the most vulnerable and making sure the people that have earned it through basically their Social Security and Medicare are protected. Then talk and look at the...
BASH: Well, let's talk about Social Security and Medicare. As part of these negotiations over the debt ceiling, you are suggesting a new committee to come up with ways to make Medicare and Social Security more financially stable.
BASH: I want to be clear there. Are you talking about any cuts to benefits?
MANCHIN: No cuts. No cuts to anybody that's receiving their benefits, no adjustments to that. They earned it. They into it. Take that off the table.
But everyone's using that as a leverage.
BASH: Receiving their benefits now or at...
MANCHIN: You want to look at everything humanly possible.
BASH: Is it now or the future?
MANCHIN: Well, you have to look at people that, basically, where are they in their working age? What's going on here?
But the bottom line is, Social Security and Medicare basically is running out of cash, because we stop at a certain level when people pay into FICA.
BASH: So you're open to cuts and benefits for future recipients?
MANCHIN: I'm open to basically raising -- the easiest and quickest thing we can do is raise the cap.
Everyone says, that's a -- that's a tax...
BASH: Raise the age?
MANCHIN: No, no, no. Forget the age.
MANCHIN: At $150,000 -- I think it's $150,000, $154,000, you quit paying.
MANCHIN: So, if you're getting a paycheck -- now, in West Virginia, in a state like mine, that the medium income is much lower than that, they're paying 100 percent of the tax.
In wealthier areas, they are paying very small percentage of that tax.
BASH: Your colleague Bernie Sanders tweeted: "The last thing we need is another commission to propose cuts to Social Security and Medicare."
MANCHIN: I agree with him. Bernie and I agree on that. You don't need a committee to look at cuts.
And that's what they're using and weaponizing it. Can't you look and find out in government where you can be more efficient, more basically prudent with the taxpayers' money and quit wasting it, don't you think?
And we all talk about waste, fraud and abuse. That's an easy thing to do. But no one looks at it. BASH: Will you work with your bipartisan friends on...
MANCHIN: I will work with everybody. I will work with anybody.
BASH: To create this commission...
MANCHIN: I'm not saying create another commission. But don't you if Kevin McCarthy comes in and says, listen, this is out of control, they sit down and negotiate, and the White House says, OK, what's your recommendations?
Could we put basically something on the floor that we will get to vote on it? Let the people decide and see if we're willing to basically get our house in order.
BASH: Senator, I want to ask you about the revelation from last night that the FBI found six additional...
BASH: ... classified documents at President Biden's residence in Wilmington, Delaware, this time from his time as vice president and his time in the Senate.
Earlier this week, he defended his handling of the situation. He said -- quote -- "There is no 'there' there."
Do you agree?
MANCHIN: Well, I don't know.
But I can tell you one thing. It's unbelievable how this could happen. It's totally irresponsible. And who's at fault? But, with that being said, putting in a political kangaroo court is not going to help.
What it should be done is exactly what Merrick Garland did. put the special counsel. Let's wait and see. Some people are taking sides. OK, it was more egregious than what President Trump did and what President Biden did. And maybe that's true. I don't know. Maybe it's not true. Let's find out.
I'm willing to find out from the people that are looking at it, finding all these different documents, and looking at the classifications, and if it's harmful, could have been harmful, or was it harmful, and make determinations. And then the legislature...
BASH: Should this affect his decision to run for reelection?
MANCHIN: Well, he has to make -- that's a personal decision with him and his family, you know? BASH: I want to ask about Davos, Switzerland.
MANCHIN: Yes, sure.
BASH: You just returned from the World Economic Forum.
You got an earful from European leaders.
MANCHIN: I did.
BASH: You did?
BASH: They are upset. Just for our audience to understand why, they're upset about some parts of what you called the Inflation Reduction Act that you worked on, came up with, without a lot of people knowing about it.
And, specifically, they think that you're hurting the European Union...
BASH: ... because of some of the incentives, like credits for electric vehicles, that European leaders think are hurting and will hurt European exports.
What were those conversations like?
MANCHIN: Well, they were -- they were -- they were very informative and they were very intense.
My thing was to explain the purpose of the Inflation Reduction Act was to make the United States of America energy-independent. The administration, the Biden administration, has basically touted that as an environmental bill. And there's an awful lot in there that will give us the new technology for the future.
But the other path for 10 years is to make sure that we use all of our fossil fuels that we can and basically extract it in a responsible way and use it in the cleanest fashion with new technology, better and cleaner than anywhere in the world, and making sure that we don't have to depend on other parts of the world, like Iran.
BASH: So what did you say to the European leaders...
MANCHIN: The only thing I told them on that, I said...
BASH: ... who say that you're -- you're -- you're hurting our economy?
MANCHIN: I said, we took two different approaches.
Your countries have taken an approach to where we call the stick and the carrot. You took the stick. You wanted to have cap and trade. You wanted to have basically carbon tax. I never did feel that was productive whatsoever, except all you're doing is punishing the people who are paying higher -- higher prices for products that are made, because carbon is what we have right now, and we haven't transitioned to another technology.
With that, we said, we use the incentive. We're basically -- and now the whole -- the whole world's coming. I have never seen anything like it. The amount of -- the amount of jobs opportunities in America for the next 10 years is unbelievable.
BASH: Speaking of Switzerland, you and your colleague Kyrsten Sinema shared a moment on stage in Switzerland.
BASH: You were high-fiving each other over your support for the Senate filibuster.
As you know, Democratic Congressman Ruben Gallego is thinking about running against her in the United States Senate -- or for the United States Senate. If Senator Sinema runs for reelection, would you support her? You have certainly crossed lines before.
MANCHIN: Let me just tell you about -- so you know Kyrsten Sinema.
She truly is. She stood tall when it was time to stand tall protecting the institution. And, basically, what -- the only thing I have said, I have been voting for 40 years fairly conservative all the way through, and I think people know I'm in the middle and a centrist.
But the bottom line was on Kyrsten, she's going to be formidable candidate. And I would...
BASH: Will you support her?
MANCHIN: I would think that she needs to be supported again, yes, because she brings that independent spirit.
BASH: So you will support her, even if she runs against a Democratic candidate?
MANCHIN: It's not about Democrats and Republicans.
You get the best person that's willing to speak their mind. And she has...
BASH: And, in your view, that is her?
MANCHIN: Here, let tell you -- let just tell you one thing about -- when we -- when it came down to that, in 2018, 2019, when President Trump was beating on the Republican -- Republican delegation in the Senate about get rid of the filibuster, we don't need it, let's get things done, that's the only check and balance you have on executive branch of government. BASH: So you're going to support her?
MANCHIN: They changed...
MANCHIN: There was only -- two of us didn't change. We stayed the same.
MANCHIN: Wish her well.
BASH: Thank you so much, Senator. I appreciate you coming in.
MANCHIN: Thank you.
BASH: Thank you.
And what do House Republicans plan to do with their new power? The incoming House foreign affairs chairman joins me next.
BASH: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION.
As Ukraine braces for an expected Russian offensive this spring, Western allies this week split over how to best help, while, here at home, it's not clear House Republicans will back any more Ukraine support.
Here with me now is Republican Congressman Michael McCaul of Texas. He is the new chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Thank you so much for joining me. Appreciate it.
REP. MICHAEL MCCAUL (R-TX): Thanks, Dana.
BASH: A lot of talk -- stuff to talk about with Congress and Ukraine.
I first want to ask you about what we're seeing in Monterey Park, California.
BASH: In your home state of Texas, there have been a lot of mass shootings, Uvalde, Sutherland Springs, El Paso, Santa Fe.
You voted no on bipartisan gun legislation last summer that got a pretty big bipartisan vote. It was pretty incremental also. Would you support any gun control measures in this Congress?
MCCAUL: You know, I was a counterterrorism federal prosecutor. I was chairman of Homeland Security.
Chicago has probably the -- some of the strictest gun laws in the nation, yet the highest murder rate. So, the way I look at it is, we need the intelligence. We need information sharing. We need to connect the dots.
Every one of these cases -- and I guarantee you're going to see it in this one as well -- the shooter had warning signs along the way. We just didn't respond or pick it up. So, in my judgment, we could create a system. I introduced a bill that we could take public information on the Internet, have an algorithm to stop the threat before it happens.
That is a smart approach, rather than violating Second Amendment rights. And so, look, I hope we can get that passed. We're seeing this movie way too many times.
BASH: Yes, we are.
MCCAUL: And it's absolutely tragic.
What about a red flag law, federal red flag law?
MCCAUL: Well, in a way, what I'm talking about are red flags.
In every one of these -- but Chicago, Illinois, has red flag laws. It didn't stop it.
BASH: I know. You keep bringing up Chicago, which I understand.
But the guns in Chicago come in from other places, because there are a patchwork of laws across the country, and there's no federal law.
Again, we stopped -- and I saw it when I chaired Homeland -- so many territories because we got the threat information in advance, and we stopped it. We can use that same formula here domestically, although it's a little different. The Constitution didn't apply overseas.
But we can do that here and stop these threats before they happen.
BASH: Let's talk about Russia and Russia's war on Ukraine.
Ukraine is still asking for more help, as you well know. You have had pretty strong words about Germany, because Germany so far is saying no to transferring its tanks to Ukraine. You call that a cowardly decision.
It seems like we're at a pretty key moment in this war. What do you think the Biden administration should do differently with regard to this particular standoff?
MCCAUL: Well, the NATO secretary-general, Stoltenberg, called it a pivotal moment.
I think that we cannot slow-walk the weapons. And even "The Wall Street Journal" had a great editorial where they said there's no moral or strategic case for giving Ukraine just enough weapons to bleed for months, but not for victory.
I have been a proponent of, let's give them what they need, because, when we do, they win. The tanks are vitally important. Why? Because we know, with the new general Putin put in place, they're going to start a major offensive on the eastern flank in the Donbass.
And we know that's going to happen. The tanks can help stop that. Germany will not put one tank in. Remember Germany, Nord Stream 2 pipeline? They won't put one tank in until we give them reassurances we're going to put our Abrams in. If we did that publicly, that would unleash so many Leopard tanks, because there are 10 other nations that are looking for Germany to sign off on the tanks that they have given them.
That would be a game-changer, in addition to tactical missiles called ATACMS that can reach Crimea to take out the Iranian drones.
BASH: So, Mr. Chairman, are you arguing here for the U.S. sending Abrams tanks to Ukraine?
MCCAUL: A hundred percent. We don't have to send very many.
All we have to do is send enough to unleash what Germany has and what the 10 other countries in NATO have. NATO has to share the burden. One good thing that came out Ramstein, this summit, was that NATO countries are sharing the burden. It's in their backyard. It's in their best interests.
BASH: And there's no concern that this could be an escalation in the eyes of Russia?
MCCAUL: You know, they said that with Stingers. They said that with Javelins, HIMARS.
MCCAUL: I mean, look, I think Mr. Putin is the provocative one here who's escalated this.
He invaded a sovereign territory, aggressively unprovoked.
BASH: Mr. Chairman, a lot of members of your conference, fellow Republicans, they want to stop giving money to Ukraine. Should Ukraine be worried that the money is going to stop coming from the U.S.?
MCCAUL: No. No.
I think there's enough support on both sides of the aisle, majority in the Democratic Party, majority in the Republican. The national security chairman, like myself, support this. We have to educate our members. I don't think they quite understand what is at stake. If Ukraine falls, Chairman Xi in China's going to invade Taiwan. It's
Russia, China. Iran is putting drones in Crimea, and North Korea that is putting artillery into Russia. They have to understand the case. And they talk about the border, not mutually exclusive at all. We can do both. We're a great country. We can walk and chew gum at the same time.
BASH: Let's talk about some things happening on the home front, specifically the revelation last night that the FBI found six more classified documents at President Biden's private home in Delaware.
And that was after a 13-hour search, one that he invited to get to the bottom of it. What is your reaction? And do you feel satisfied now that the FBI has what it needs and has everything?
MCCAUL: I don't know, because, every day, it seems like they're finding more documents.
And so I think what's significant, as a former federal prosecutor, is that no longer are they relying on the attorneys to comply, although it was consensual, the search. But the fact is, the FBI conducted this search, not his attorneys. That really ratchets the investigation up.
BASH: But, as you said, they invited the FBI to do so.
MCCAUL: They did. And I think that's true. I don't know.
The DNI, director of national intelligence, won't give Congress any information about the documents. I hear it pertains to foreign adversaries. I don't know. The Chinese gave a $30 million contribution to University of Pennsylvania at the same time the Biden Center is being stood up.
And what -- is there a connection? I'm sending a letter out tomorrow to the State Department and Secretary Blinken asking for what communications, what contacts were made. What were these documents? Were Chinese officials at the Biden Center?
And the fact that they're in the garage with a Corvette and in a home where Hunter Biden is recovering. And he took a picture on his laptop of important documents. I just think, Dana, there are a lot of unanswered questions here.
BASH: Yes, just for the record, University of Pennsylvania said the Chinese money did not go to the Biden Center.
BASH: And we don't have any evidence about Hunter Biden being related to this at all.
MCCAUL: But they do have the Thousand Talents program.
BASH: Yes. MCCAUL: That's their classic way of...
BASH: I have to ask you.
MCCAUL: Yes, Dana.
BASH: We're almost out of time.
The debt ceiling. You have voted in the past to raise the debt ceiling, in fact, three times even since 2017. Why not do it now?
And I think, if you don't, you have catastrophic economic consequences.
BASH: So, you will vote for it?
MCCAUL: Well, I talked to Kevin McCarthy, the speaker, yesterday.
He had made it very clear: I'm ready to sit down with President Biden today to talk about a reasonable debt ceiling, which would mean meaningful spending cuts.
The fact is, we should be having these conversations right now. We know that Secretary Yellen is going to put -- she can put this off until June. June's going to be the target month. But the speaker of the House is willing to sit down today with the president of the United States and try to work this out. And I would encourage him to do that.
BASH: House Foreign Affairs Chairman Michael McCaul, thank you so much.
MCCAUL: Thanks, Dana.
BASH: Appreciate it.
And congratulations on your championship. I haven't seen you since.
MCCAUL: Thank you.
BASH: Appreciate it.
And more classified documents, as we have been talking about, were found at President Biden's home in Delaware. How will it affect his planned presidential announcement for reelection?
My panel is next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're fully cooperating and looking forward to getting this resolved quickly. I think you're going to find there's nothing there. I have no regrets. I'm following what the lawyers have told me they want me to do. That's exactly what we're doing. There's no "there" there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION.
That was President Biden this week before another set of classified documents were found during an FBI search on Friday of his home in Delaware.
My panel joins me now. Thanks for coming in.
Former Congressman Mondaire Jones, you were in the United States Congress, obviously. You have dealt with classified documents. What do you make of this?
FMR. REP. MONDAIRE JONES (D-NY): Look, classified documents have to remain in classified settings. I suspect that this was an oversight. I have no reason to believe otherwise, especially given the president's cooperation with law enforcement.
And this is in stark contrast, of course, to the situation with Donald Trump, who has obstructed every step of the way, to the point where federal law enforcement officers had to go and physically take documents that the president refused repeatedly to produce.
ALYSSA FARAH GRIFFIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: The thing I worry about, though, in the post-Trump era is that we sort of lower the bar for everything because he broke so many norms.
The facts alone with Biden are incredibly damning. This is now multiple locations, five different batches that have been found. When I was at the Department of Defense, if I had mishandled one classified document or taken it off the perimeter, I would have been in prison.
So, yes, he's cooperating, but that doesn't eliminate the fact that this could have exposed vital national security secrets and put the country in danger.
BASH: And you heard Dick Durbin tell me, basically, that this is bad.
KAREN FINNEY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It is.
I mean, look, I suspect it also happens a lot more often than we ever know about, yes, David, actually, because, technically, I mean, when I worked in the Clinton administration, like, the president's schedule is technically a top secret document.
So I think people -- and I suspect that, in previous administrations, documents may have ended up in places that they should not have been. Certainly, it's clear that this is an issue that needs to be dealt with.
But, again, I want us to stay close to the facts here, in that it matters greatly that you have a former president who doesn't want to give the documents back, who says he thinks they're cool, I believe he said this week or last week. I mean, that is very different than finding these documents, and the president himself is saying, we're going to cooperate fully, we're going to do everything we need to do to make sure that we get to the bottom of this.
DAVID URBAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I will say I will reserve judgment until both special counsels are done with their investigations.
I think that's probably the wisest thing to do. But I think both of these cases kind of can stand on their own. If Donald Trump has classified documents in his residence or someplace, that's bad. If Joe Biden does, that's equally as bad.
I don't think you can say that, oh, they got there. Some staffer put them there. We don't know. Let's see what the special counsel finds. I just think that it's -- we continue to find drip, drip, drip. Joe Biden is so indignant. This is what bothers me. He's so indignant.
Oh, they were fine. When somebody asked him a question at the White House, they were locked with my Corvette. Why doesn't he just say, hey, I screwed up, I made a mistake, right? That's what I'd like to hear him say. Like, like I just made a mistake.
URBAN: Well, he made a mistake. They're clearly in his -- they're locked in a filing Cabinet next to his Corvette in his garage.
FINNEY: But we don't how they got there.
URBAN: Well, how do you think they got next to his Corvette? You think a staffer put them there in his garage?
FINNEY: But you can't start by saying, let's wait and see what happens in the investigation, and then criticize.
FARAH GRIFFIN: The optics are tough, though, because this is the administration that ran on the adults are back in charge.
And, clearly, the former vice president didn't know how to properly handle and store classified documents. I mean, that's just...
(CROSSTALK) JONES: You said it earlier that you would have gone to prison.
And I don't know that that's true, because there is a standard of intentionality required for a criminal conviction here.
URBAN: She would at least gotten fired. She would have been fired.
JONES: Yes, well, we have only established that as to the former president, not as to the current president.
So until such time as we learn anything new, these are fundamentally different situations.
FARAH GRIFFIN: Well, and that is a fair point.
I think that there is a question that needs to be raised about the chain of custody of classified documents. We have seen it former Secretary Clinton. We have seen it with former President Trump and now Joe Biden, who've mishandled classified information and then somehow we just don't know about it until years after the fact.
There's a big problem here, whether it's GSA or NARA that needs to look into the chain of custody of these documents.
URBAN: Well, just not that. When he was a senator. He has documents from when he was a senator. That's not like last week, OK?
BASH: Again, we don't what it is.
FINNEY: We don't know what it is.
URBAN: Absolutely. Let's wait and see. I will grant you that. Let's wait and see.
I will just say this. It's bad.
FINNEY: But here's the...
FINNEY: I'm sorry, just very quickly.
BASH: Go ahead.
FINNEY: The difference also, though, this is -- Donald Trump is not an adult who is in charge. That's part of the problem, right?
This -- for Trump, this plays into that -- and this is not the only thing that he is being investigated around. That's the problem and one of the big differences between Trump and Joe Biden. Joe Biden has...
JONES: It's part of a trend.
URBAN: The big loser here is Merrick Garland. Just let's put it that way, right, because he's kind of doomed at this point
BASH: Well, but he has two special counsels.
URBAN: Yes, but he can't now come -- it will be very difficult for him politically to move forward with Trump and not do something.
JONES: Thank God the Department of Justice is not supposed to consider politics.
FINNEY: That's right.
BASH: You're all talking about former President Trump. He's the only one to formally announce that he wants to be president again.
We heard from somebody else who might want to be president again. And that is his former ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley. Listen to what she said this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIKKI HALEY, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: When you're looking at a run for president, you look at two things. You first look at, does the current situation push for new leadership?
The second question is, am I that person that could be that new leader, that, yes, we need to go in a new direction? And can I be that leader? Yes, I think I can be that leader.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FARAH GRIFFIN: The most common thing that I hear talking to people all across the country and the political spectrum is they want next generation leadership.
I think Nikki Haley is very formidable. I think she would be smart to throw her hat into the ring with. People -- the last thing any American wants to see is Trump vs. Biden again. So I hope more Republicans get into the race and I think she would be a strong candidate.
URBAN: Yes, look, I agree with -- I agree with Alyssa's analysis.
I think no one's sitting around saying that it isn't time for new leadership on both sides of the aisle. I think there's that -- we were just talking in the green room. My good friend Josh Shapiro, who I keep pumping up, and Wes Moore, I think Democrats have a strong bench. Republicans have a strong bench.
And there's -- I think people are eager for that type of leadership. And, look, that's why we do these races, right? You get in and you run. Nikki Haley, maybe she's strong. Maybe she's not. There are other people who are going to get in.
Nobody thought -- remember when Scott Walker was going to be president of the United States?
BASH: You're one of the youngest members of Congress. What are your views on a new generation of leadership?
JONES: I think it's important.
I think, ironically, Democrats do a far worse job than Republicans do of featuring young talent.
URBAN: I just helped you out.
JONES: Well, thankfully, because of the changes in the media environment, you have seen younger members like Katie Porter and others really penetrate the -- sort of the echo system and get attention where leaders in Congress would not have featured those individuals.
And I think you will continue to see more of that. We saw some of those people during the 15 ballots a few weeks ago for the speakership of the House, folks who had a chance to approach the podium and nominate their respective leaders.
BASH: Karen, let's talk about the Democratic side of the aisle, namely, the president of the United States.
BASH: What's your sense on timing there?
FINNEY: I would -- I think they have said we should expect to hear something after the State of the Union.
So, I would expect that to be pretty early in the year. I mean, there's no secret. He's made a pretty clear he's running. He has a great record to run on. I think, ultimately, that is going to matter most to people, when they look at what's happening in the economy, the way he's turned around the economy, jobs.
So I would expect probably... BASH: Who do you worry about the most in the Republican field?
FINNEY: I never like to say, because there was a time when we thought there's no way Donald Trump will ever be president.
So I don't think we can guess. I do think, though, on the Republican side, it's clear. I mean, look at how Trump is this week criticizing religious conservatives for not endorsing him. It's going to be ugly, no question, on the Republican side.
URBAN: Well, it could be ugly on the Democratic side too, depending on what happens here with these documents.
BASH: Well, OK. We will see about that.
Always back to the documents, David.
BASH: Thank you all so much for joining me this morning. I really appreciate it.
And thank you for spending your Sunday morning with us.
The news continues right now.