tv Inside Politics With John King CNN December 13, 2021 9:00am-10:00am PST
hello and welcome to "inside politics." i'm john king in washington. thank you for sharing your day with us. devastation in kentucky. . more than 100 people now feared dead after tornados ripped through the heartland and spbd being briefed right now on the government's response. >> what's this? >> i'm not 100% sure. >> i don't know. it's hard to tell. >> look at the metal. i don't know where it was. i truly don't know where that came from. >> and then. >> part of a wreath. here's part of the ceiling structure. >> and protect pro-trump people an email send by mark meadows says that was part of the national guard's lead-up to the insurrection. the january 6th committee motors tonight to hold former chief of
staff in contemand reporting on the two most powerful women in washington. speaker nancy pelosi and vice president kamala harris facing giant questions about their future roles. we begin with the urgent to-do list by eight savaged by 15 tornadoes n.kentucky alone, the governor says 64 people are confirmed dead and sadly that number is most likely to grow. the angst range from five months to 86 years old. six of the kentucky victims are chirp. one official likening this devastation to something you would see in a war zone. >> our kitchen here, you can see it, and the windows is believe out of it, and, i mean, stuff just crazy, and back bedroom. >> this is a bedroom right here. >> it was. >> rescue crews are still hoping to find survivors and the federal government rushing in emergency workers in addition to food, medical supplies and temporary shelter. president biden with speak in just a few moments about the
federal response. mayfield, kentucky is one. places hardest hit by is the veer storms and tornadoes. homes and businesses levelled, debris strewn all across town. lives completed upended and in the collapsed candle factory eight people died and another eight still unaccounted for. brynn gingras is live for us on the ground in mayfield. what are you seeing? >> reporter: john, we've been talking to people who are still holding out hope that there will be survivors pulled from the candle factory but you said it there and i want to underscore, that this is a landscape that's been completely transformed by these storms. take a look behind me, look at the school bus. it just gives you the visual of the force of this storm that many of these people endured and were able to survive from. we have talked to so many people about those stories. i want to tell you about a young couple who, you know, said they are used to tornadoes, certainly not in december but when they herd the warnings they didn't take cover until they turned on the tv and were told to get in a
shelter and they did, underneath their home with plywood this thick, john. between then and the storms i want you to here how they rode this out together. >> me and my daughter were signature on this palette. this door here is what kept us alive along with him because he was holding it with a lanyard. >> reporter: so he's holding the door shut. >> yes. >> reporter: you're holding your 6-year-old doubter. >> yeah. >> reporter: can you just describe being a mom. >> we were just -- just told her to close her eyes, and she started counting and she's like hide and seek, mom? >> reporter: can you imagine having to tell your 6-year-old to pretend your playing hide and
seek. so many of these heartbreaking stories, people trying to survive in bathtubs wondering if they were ever going to see daylight again and there's been so much loss, not just the physical around us but also the people. john, now they are trying to figure out how to go forward. so many people stunned but grateful that they are getting the help that they need from the federal government, from volunteers all across this state and in other states hoping that the next day things will get better, but, again, it's going to be a long road from here. john? >> a long road. the courage of those parents is remarkable. brynn gingras, grateful that you're there to help us understand the depths of this. let's go to bowling green and cnn's nick neri. the governor cellucci gave an up date just a short time ago. what did he tell us? >> yeah. he was very emotional in his press conference talking about all the devastation. he updated us on the numbers saying that the situation is fluid and that we should expect those numbers to change one way or the other. here in bowling green, there is
devastation everywhere. it is expansive. hundreds of miles or hundreds of yards i should say of scattered debris in this immigrant community, very much so an international community, family members that we've started to see have started to come back and make their emotional return to salvage their belongings and for some that i've spoken to say it's almost retraumatizing having flashbacks of living through the storm that ripped through here, the ef-3 tornado that hopscotched through the neighborhood and ripping through the homes and leaving behind in some cases just foundations. i just spoke to this bosnian family here, and if you could see this container was actually here because they were planning on moving the next morning after the storms. him ho who was here inside his residence said one dose started breaking out and parts of his roof were ripped off and earlier he said his perspective has changed about the world, that he's not the same person that he was and that he'll never forgot
this type of experience. we heard a much more or a similar emotional tone from the governor earlier during his press conference. >> i was working on getting the confirmed deaths this morning and realized i was writing on the back of notes that one of my kids took from school, and here's what -- what it is. it is notes on inertia. it means that an object that's in motion will stay in motion, so we're going keep putting one foot in front of the other, push through this. >> one to the in front of the other is exactly what residents are telling us that they have to keep going forward knowing what they lived through, knowing that they are lucky to survive, knowing that some of their neighbors weren't as lucky. just looking that the we hear the story here. a man survived by being in the bathroom. next door, the family according
to the landlord, they listened to the news and i mentioned this international community, john, and language has been a barrier for police. communication has been difficult and that's something that they will focus on today. they will also keep going through the debris and clearing it out making sure that there's no one that's left behind. john. >> thank you, as you continue to track the devastation there. let's go to the white house now. the president is having a briefing on this and we'll hear from him any moment. jeff zeleny there. what do we expect to hear? >> president biden pore the last hour or so has been meeting in the oval office with homeland security alejandro mayorkas, on scene yesterday in kentucky. a firsthand briefing is being delivered to the president about the needs that kentucky will need over the many months to could. housing is a central issue as well as other efforts, but the white house is taking this, of course, very seriously. the president over the weekend said he would visit the region at some point when he's not in the way and when he's not a bother so there's no trip
scheduled or announced. we do expect that at some point and for now we's being briefed, and we should get images of that shortly after this briefing end in the oval office. john? >> jeff zeleny, sure we'll be back to you momentarily when we do hear from the president. up next, when the president does speak, we'll bring you that has son as possible and the january 6th committee prepares its contempt charge against the trump chief of staff mark meadows. take care of that heart with lipton. because sippin' on unsweetened lipton can help support a healthy heart. lipton. stop chuggin'. start sippin'. >> man: what's my safelite story? my truck...is my livelihood. so when my windshield cracked... the experts at safelite autoglass came right to me... with service i could trust. right, girl? >> singers: ♪ safelite repair, safelite replace. ♪ ray loves vacations. but his diabetes never seemed to take one. everything felt like a 'no'. everything. but then ray went from no to know.
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meadows sent saying that the national guard would be ready to protect pro-trump people around january 6th. part of a lengthy report detailing meadows' interaction with key big lie reporters. joining me is cnn's dana bash and john harwood and tia mitchell of "the atlantic junl constitution." meadows was cooperating and then pulled back. just a short time ago his lawyer sent this to the committee saying, no, you shouldn't do that. we should keep negotiating and the committee says okay, fine, contempt. >> yeah, and i think the committee is saying, you know, you were cooperating. you gave us documents and now you don't even want to talk to us about the documents that you gave us to help us understand what we're redding in the story behind them. in addition, the documents show that he was talking about that rally on january 6th with people who were not the president, who were not working at the white house, so i think there are a lot of questions about whether he can truly claim executive
privilege, and they have, you know, the evidence to say, well, is all of this protected? >> and the evidence is important. remember, we focus too often on that horrific day. the committee is trying to go from election day to insurrection day. who was the coordination works knew what and who was raising money? and meadows was pretty central to a lot of big questions, john harwood. he exchanged text messages with and provided guidance to an organizer of the january 6th rally on the ellipse after the organizer said things have gotten crazy and i need some direction. in addition, mark meadows participated in another call with mr. trump, members of congress, attorneys for the trump re-election campaign and 300 state and local officials to discuss the goal of overturning certain states' electoral college results. let me translate to discuss the goal of finding a way to cheat and reverse the election. >> he was in deep. he's trying to mick a
distinction and the when the powerpoint surfaced he said he didn't receive this or face on, but if you're the white house chief of staff and you don't shut down discussions like this, you're part of it, and it's not clear that not just trump and not just a few extremists mike flynn, sydney powell and rudy giuliani on the outside were involved. people in the white house in the most senior positions were assisting this process, sustaining this process encouraging many jump to get going. he's been indicted. i don't want to get indicted and i want to stay on the good side of the extremist wing of the republican party and that's trump. that's why we saw the fights with the steve bannos and mark meadows tend to overshadow what
he is building. when you read through what he was part of, he's central and at trump's side and he had everything that came his way and he knows how it was given to and reacted to by the former president. >> donald trump famously doesn't text. he doesn't email and he communicates with his top aide, his assistant and also people who are near him. he sort of barks out orders, texts somebody "x" and texts somebody else "y" and one of the questions is how much of that is in here, but even if it's not, like john was saying, the notion that the white house -- you know, again, this is one of those moments that we have to stop, take a breath and say this is not normal. this is not okay. the white house chief of staff participating in any of these discussions, never mind what the text messages believe which is scores of discussions is remarkable. other thing that we were talking
about before i came on is another reality that's coming to life is mike meld owes g mill atonight. vist accounts. signal which is a morer is text message app and can you imagine if hillary clinton did that? >> another one of the people who ran hillary clinton up the flag pole for having an email server inside their house is now doing ten times that with private email accounts. meadows says as you make the point that he received a lot of things from a lot of the trump, my word, crazies out there trying to overturn the election including this powerpoint presentation and virtually it's how to stage a coup. what things can we do to gum up the works and gorsuch to him by an army colonel waldron who
believes something like this. >> a lot of movements of vote, direct access to pennsylvania, voting precincts, county tabulation centers, wisconsin, michigan, nevada, arizona, georgia, all of that coming in directly from foreign countries, china being the predominant one. >> it's -- it's lunacy. it's lunacy. i will levitate, you know. china was not -- china was not running the vote count in your state of georgia or any of these other state. these things have been investigated. again, the white house xhoef of staff gets a document from something hike that we have a problem, this. who do i share it with. >> that's the response is so important. we've been saying this on your
show a lot. you know, if you have nothing to hide, then why not answer the questions, and that is what has former meadows looking, you know, spot so great in the loyalty because people want him to just answer the questions about these documents. >> back to this for one second. what are republican elected officials in this saying right now, absolutely nothing. that tells tells you. as much as we need to ups the history. we need to understand pause many poem think will happen. up next, it nancy pelosi's 2020 plan and its impact on the house 2020 democratic leadership. isng mabel here isn't a real cow. and she really hates that.
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speaker nancy pelosi understands power and leverage better than most, way better than most are and she wants to maximize hers in a mid-term election year in which the democrats risk losing their house majority. you want to read this story on cnnpolitics.com. sources telling cnn the 81-year-old does plan on filing for re-election and is not ruling out staying in the leadership even though she's acknowledged that the time is coming for the next generation of democratic leaders. more than 200 house democratic members were interviewed for the
speaker and leadership jockeying. it's no shock that pelosi would file for re-election because show's so critical to the fund-raising operation and if you're not running it's harder to bring in all the money but the idea that she would at least tell her team leave open the possibility i will stay in leadership. she knows what's going on beneath her and all the jockeying. what's the goal? >> well, look, this is the other big succession story line going on here, right? nancy pelosi has been the house democratic leader for almost 20 years at this point. under her there are a lot of people who are ready for her to go, who feel like it's time for new leadership and also terrified of how things will be without her. from her political perspective though she does not want to be seen as jumping ship like what paul ryan did in 2018 when he was speaker and it seemed like there was a democratic wave coming. he quit in april and said she's not running again. she's not doing that and will spend all of this coming year focused on fund-raising and trying to get over the billion
dollar mark or well past it that she has raised for democrats so far. >> is it wrong to read this also as someone -- this is high praise is so well organized, so disciplined, years of building to where she is right now, the most powerful woman in american politics, that she wants to control the succession part each if she decides, look, if the republicans take back the majority it's hard to see nancy pelosi staying on in the majority but she wants as much influence over that as possible. >> that's exactly how to read it. it's fair to say she's not just the most powerful woman now in politics now and in political history, no one that even comes close to her and it's because of the moves like the one -- the series of moves that you talk about in your excellent piece that has made her the way she is today. she is ten steps ahead of where everybody thinks that she is, and one of the key parts of that is making sure that she has all of her options open because, you know, although the writing seems to be on the wall for democrats,
who knows how it's going to real play out when it comes to the election. she also understands the notion of a succession plan and the fact that there are a lot of people jockeying for it, and it was, you know, before the new crop of democrats, freshmen, now sophomores came and really created a lot of churning in the caucus, it seemed as though she would be able to hand pick that person. it's not clear if she's going to be able to do that right now. >> i want to come back to the speaker individually in a minute but this leadership team, pelosi, clyburn, hoyer, would they construct a plan to walk off together, and it's always been impossible to arrange but in the piece you jet jim clyburn on the record being speaker is not in my plans. being spoker is not in my plans. he says at some point he wants to be in a rocky chair and enjoy more time with the grandkids and the like.
if you took please and klei burn and hour would be the question mark, an entire shift in the tbd shift in the democrats. >> they want to have a hand in that shift and help guide that shift, and i think, again, to the point in your article the rank and file democrats are a little bit worried about what happens in the vacuum, the infighting, the disarray and the lack of direction so we know pelosi has that steady hand, and i think they would like to see her around with -- with the understanding that she's around to help the next generation get in place. >> do that point, a leading progressive ro khanna, has a trust among democrats and they trust her skill. anyone who comes after her will have to earn their trust. those questions will be here sooner or later. >> she's going to be an
extremely difficult act to follow. think about the person who follows coach k as the coach of duke basketball, right? you've got somebody who has an incredible record success, but on that ultimate question, when have you seen a politician who has had a more optimal exit strategy. led her party to the majority twice and serves with a democratic president and enacted health care under president obama and now is in a position to enact two major pieces of domestic spending legislation. her party is likely to lose the majority. see you later. >> 11 months, we'll see. all the history, the current trend lines tell you they are likely to move but 11 months is a long time. this is kathleen rice, one of the younger members who might want to be speaker or be part of a more advanced in the leadership if pelosi and the team are stepping aside. we're eating our own at a time when we should be doing everything to hold on to our majority.
progressives need to remember that republicans are the ones that will destroy our democracy. >> they are wondering how they will hold together on the front, across the divisions and across all the divisions that they have got here. they are doing it at a time when they are very worried about republicans taking control not just because they will lose their committee chairmenships but what will happen 2w09 24 elections if the republicans control the house. what happens if there's a question to certification or voting rights laws that they are not able to pass. the infighting that they are doing is distracting them and many would say and as rice would say is weakening them with fights they would rather be having with the republicans. >> around the an important point that you make in her piece is that until i would say four years ago the speaker had a very, very firm grip on the
caucus. she has a tighter grip than probably anybody else could have right now, but it is weakening and it's harder because of the weakening support and the differences in the party. kamala harris says her media coverage is ridiculous but has very little to say abobout what she's learned in herer first ye as vice president. hey, angie! you forgot your phone! hey lou! angie forget her phone again? yep. lou! mom said she could save up to $400 on her wireless bill by switching to xfinity internet and mobile. with nationwide 5g at no extra cost.
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recent staff turnover and twice did not answer directly when asked about any lessons she might have used this year. t she refused to answer directly. you're trying to say you've been vice president the first year. what lessons have you learned? any regrets? she wouldn't play. >> almost like it was a trite job interview question but it's one of those things, you know, when we get job interviews it's an opportunity where if you want to address criticism head on, turn a weakness into strength that's what we're coached to do and i said is there something she was going to say. i wouldn't have done this differently or this is something i learned going into next year. she didn't want to go there. she did say she wants to get out on the road and travel more hand go directly to the people. perhaps there's an implicit acknowledgement in there, but, yeah, no direct acknowledgement of redos or lessons. >> you're sitting across from the vice president of the united
states after this, headlines from the past three weeks. harris is bluetooth phobic and spent over $500 on cookware in paris. she's well aware and her team is aware of those, talk of a reset, body language, interactions, where was she? >> she was relaxed. she even wanted to keep talking beyond the talk for the interview. she brought us into the west wing office, not a place, we usually see her in her ceremonial office. she was comfortable. when you mentioned she's aware of the headlines and she brought some of them up on her own. i did not have to prompt some of those so clearly she's aware of them. she's thinking about them. not happy with them and, you know, they have a point that some of these headlines have been frivolous but that also gives them an easy out on some of the headlines that haven't been as frivolous. >> right. that's a key point, but in the vice president's defense, i've
traveled a lot with the vice president, covered the white house with ten years. reporters are always asking for time to go shopping i'm sore, they just, are so for reporters then to criticize kamala harris who saw french officials as they try to mend relations. how about going to buy a pot after a very significant and successful bilateral measure on climate, cyberer to space, come on. she's right. >> she is right. >> i'm trying to think about my trips with dick cheney when he was vice president. i don't know that we went shopping with him, but there were certainly a lot of opportunities for the press to do it, and it is part of the culture, but much more importantly she has a point on the substance of what she was doing in europe. she was september to europe to have some very important meetings with allies about a lot of the problems on the world stage, and that was the thing that people talked about the
most. having said that, if you are somebody who is prone to click bait which is what kamala harris is, you've got to expect that that is going to happen and kind of role with it. >> reporter: you're at the white house and something she says every day of the united states. she's grateful he was vice president, gets the role, appreciates and understands the role and he's extremely supportive and influences a great -- that has influenced a great deal what this experience has been for me. there's been talk of dissatisfaction among time biden with team hair. they said that about clinton and gore and bush and cheney and obama and biden but what's the most interesting piece of it? >> i think the most interesting piece is the long-term question of whether kamal heirs hairs has a politician can translate into real world appeal, all the strengths on paup. she seems to have an ideal
resume, background, set of scales it did not take in the 2020 presidential campaign. that's what she's got to do. part. joe biden example is he got poursy coverage. the question is do you grow which makes next yore really challenging? i need cut it short because any moment now we're going hear from the united states who will talk on the horrific, horrific storms over the weekend. we'll be right back.
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just seconds away from hearing from the president of the united states. this will be tape of an open. office meeting with homeland security director mayorkas and the fema director talking about the severe response after the eight deadly tornadoes. 64 dead kentuckians. we'll hear from the president shortly to see whether federal aid will be directed to these agencies. the president going there right out of the box, expected. >> yes. this is the kind of event where swriden showcases his personal strengths, right? >> sorry. we've got to go straight.
this is the president. >> and my -- my fema administrator chris well. they are on the ground in kentucky yesterday, and i asked for a detailed wrbriefing and wt they were able to see and what they found. they shared with me what they learned, and we discussed how we can do more, especially with so many people facing immense, immense loss, and we talked about how we can accelerate and expand federal assistance to those in desperate need, and we saw -- i mean, some of you have been there, and you've been reporting on television, you know, the devastation, you know, before and after, and this is mayfield, kentucky. it's just devastating, and were eve already approved an
emergency declaration, and that gives meet tools to provide everything that we can from the federal level from expert search and rescue teams to immediate hand long-term help with housing and cleanup, a whole range of things, and i stand ready to do the same for the governors. as a matter of fact, i'm about to sign an emergency request from illinois, the governor of illinois literally when i finish i'm going sign that, and -- and, you know, we've also asked fema and the key departments. the thing we most need are power, water, communications systems to get back to some sense of being able to communicate with one another as rapidly as they possibly can, and as i said, i intend to travel to kentucky on wednesday, and we need -- with each passing
day the human impact of devastation is just -- the depth of losses are becoming more and more apparent. this is a town with a relatively low average income of under $20,000 a year. it's a town that's been wiped out, but it's not the only town. it's not the only town. that path that you see moved all the way up well over 100 miles and there's more than one route that it goes so, you know, we're also see destruction met with a lot of xhags i'm told. everywhere they have gone they have people volunteering and talking and asking for of how to give help and we continue to pray for the people of kentucky and those who were all affected. particularly my heart goes out to the governor of kentucky who lost family himself. it's pretty rough stuff, but
we're going to get this done. we're going to be there as long as it takes to help, and the combination of state, federal and volunteer organizations and do everything from eventually not only clear the debris but provide the necessary means to move and get schools reopened and making sure that homes are able to be rebuilt, et cetera, so there's a lot, a lot that needs to be done, and it's mostly kentucky here but not only kentucky and so that's -- i just want to let you know that's what they are doing. i haven't decided where they are going yet and i'm working on what i indicated to the government when we talked about this two days ago is that i don't want to be in the way. there's a lot going on and when a president shows up there's a long tail to follow, an awful lot of folks and i don't want to do anything other than be value added, but i want you to know that this administration has made it clear to every governor
whatever they need when they need, it when they need it. neighboring known to me. we'll get it to them as rapidly, as rapidly as we can, and that's what we're doing here in kentucky. we're going to have to go beyond what is available to the federal government. fema can come up with a lot of housing restoration. not a lot of $35 moments. he can find hotel rooms and places were people can say but we'll work with lots of the governors. >> mr. president, what do you believe your open advice threat can do for the people affected by there, and what are you most concerned about with the long-term problems, housing, recovery? what do you worry about the
most. >> i've been involved and responded to a lot of disasters as westbound and as haven't. the peace of. so this is a narrow bath. the devastation is just stunning. there's nothing left standing basically along the path that goes all the way through. let me ask you. show that other -- in terms of housing, because you think that this is the best way to illustrate. this one goes all the way up and this takes you -- so, if you take a look. i want you to point out where we are here. you take a look where mayfield and bowling green is. that's not -- we're not talking
about mayfield now, but all these yellow dots here along the way are residences, and they have been wiped out. they have been wiped out. commercial and historical sites, and, you know, industrial sites. do you mind putting them back up for mayfield? if you fake a look, may field is -- historical agriculture, efforts, it's just devastating, and i -- i worry quite frankly about -- how can i say it? the mental health of those poem
and you come and you say that. thank throwing nmts it. out got home and lost your mother, wife, father, children, somewhere along the loin. what do you do. where do you kwhel. it's not likely you get on a plane and get to your family in washington. >> rite israel and every single lujor of you can see it in poem's faces so were jaunt them to don't. there's three boys to again help. will's will the smigd.
pm death is es. [ inaudible ] >> wlenl with enperson were a person can do for example, i told the governor of cone kentucky, i'm not only expecting you what you need, let us tell you what you can't ask or having already asked for. let us do our jobs. i mean, these large government agencies like the if the or stayed governments it's hard for people towns sometimes. let me go in and tell you what you can't ask for, and so there is the federal government, the state government. there's also the non-profits out there that have been in fact involved in all of these did i asters around the country, and they can provide help and
assistance. right now, for example, i'm told, i hope i'm not misspeaking, that the school in mayfield is being used for shelter now. it didn't get wiped out, but it is not going to be able to be functioning as a school son, so how do you get these kids back in schoolrooms? how do you get some semblance normalcy again? we're work, and i think -- they they we e, and i just wanted to turkey sure that the affected areas that they are asking for something that they should ask for and with again from churches
to red cross and a whole range of institutions, but it's just -- it's like when i was walking through the neighborhoods in louisiana. mean, you can see the looks on people's faces. you go to the corner where there were houses just gone. people standing in their yards crying, and this was just two days off the storm through so is real it devastating. every one of life would do have about called a me on the phone already skull. that's what i worry the most more. getting some peace of mope.
make sure the response will be from an extraordinary meeting are. >> no. i'm not going to make that who had argument with him about this. look, joe understands. joe has much empathy and concern for these folks. he's been through some real disasters in west virginia. he understands, and the on est to god truth is we've been discussing this. i've spent a lot of time on climate issues, and i said we have to be very careful. we can't say with absolute certainty that it was because of climate change, so i'm going to be talking with the environmental protection agency and i'm going talk with other agencies, as a matter of fact,
cam of it has -- this norms. i don't want to say anything. that is precisely true. what is certain it's one of the worst disasters we've had n the. it's unusual how this in. that's all we're talking about light now. yes, ma'am. >> mr. president, this is all happening of the man. how are you shaping on meeg in. dealing with hospital cases, things being. without boeing still understand. that's the though the, theerkts these urgent thing and just to
get the food, water, to people who don't have it, and there's no ways to get it so that's number one. but number two, there's a whole range of things including the virus, including the virus, and the hospitals. i've gotten a report but is not the details a iage throne the path of this attorney tee. i'm sure unit,ing my sem to sit up shoots knorr the skoosters -- the worst thing is the loyalty has boston on smop, can the get no school or not or are they going to be able t
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